Elegance in Motion: The 1962 BMW R60/2

Lovingly restored and now ridden faithfully, this 1962 BMW R60/2 hits the sweet spot.


| January/February 2016



1962 BMW R60/2

1962 BMW R60/2

Photo by Ken Richardson

1962 BMW R60/2
Claimed power:
30hp @ 5,800rpm
Top speed:
90mph (est.)
Engine:
594cc air-cooled OHV horizontally opposed twin, 72mm x 73mm bore and stroke, 7.5:1 compression ratio
Weight (wet):
436lb (198kg)
Fuel capacity/MPG:
6.5gal (24.6ltr)/50-60mpg
Price then/now:
$1,300(est.)/$6,000-$15,000

The Apple computer I’m using as I write this story and its subject matter, a BMW R60/2, have something in common. In the early 1980s, long before Apple and its iProducts were household names, Steve Jobs, the enigmatic mind behind the company, rode around San Francisco on a 1966 BMW R60/2.

When Jobs wasn’t riding it, the BMW was parked in Apple’s atrium lobby. Walter Isaacson, author of the 2011 biography/autobiography Steve Jobs, wrote, “Over time, the atrium attracted even more toys, most notably a Bösendorfer piano and a BMW motorcycle that Jobs felt would inspire an obsession with lapidary craftsmanship.” The word “lapidary” has a couple of definitions, one of them being “careful, elegant and dignified in style.”

It’s clear that Jobs felt classic BMW motorcycles offered refined elegance and dignified grace, especially in the case of machines built in the 1960s. In this era, BMW offered multiple models, including the R50/2, R60/2 and the R69S. All of these machines shared the same chassis, but were powered by either 494cc or 594cc engines in different states of tune.

Between 1955 and 1969, BMW built the low compression 500cc R50, the high compression R50S, the low compression 600cc R60, and, as introduced for 1956, a high compression R69. Technically, only machines constructed from 1960 to 1969 carried the Slash 2 or /2 designation. 1967-1969 telescopic fork versions of the R50, R60 and R69 all carried the US designation instead of Slash 2 as they were for the U.S. market only. Now, however, many enthusiasts refer to the entire series as Slash 2s. Thanks to their stout and rigid double-loop steel frames with sidecar mounting points, these BMWs were commonly hitched to chairs.

Bmwdean
12/24/2015 8:48:17 AM

Glad to see this wonderful BMW motorcycle article in Motorcycle Classics. Keep up the good work! http://bmwdean.com






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