My 1967 BMW R60 was built in the last years of production of this "classic" machine, defined by the Earls Fork front end design, which ended in 1970. I bought it in 1978 and used it for many years for my daily 75 mile commute. Because I also rode it in winter, it gradually got bigger and heavier with the addition of protective fairings.

The first addition was the large touring steel tank, which I had imported from Heinrichs in Germany; it is extremely rare. Its 10 gallon capacity allows carefree riding, but sometimes I have had second thoughts about whether I really want to go sliding along with 10 gallons of gas if I have an accident.

The next addition was the Wixom upper and lower fairing, which are extremely rare (especially the lower). These give excellent protection to the rider in winter, but I always worried about whether their design gives enough cooling air flow past the engine in summer, so I removed them seasonally.

Conspicuous on the back is the security lock and chain, which is not big enough! My first BMW, a 1970 R60 #2931090 was stolen with this chain and lock attaching the bike to a cast iron fence on Commonwealth Ave, Boston, overnight. The bike fork was also locked in a 45 degree position. Here is how a theft operation works. The thief walks down the street with his giant bolt cutters, walks up to the bike, and snips the lock. Then he walks away. If any alarms go off, he hasn't stolen anything, just tested his bolt cutters. 15 minutes later 4 guys in a van pull up and in 30 seconds have the 500 lb bike in the van. If they can find your bike, they can steal it. The machine is probably now in South America. Police were completely unhelpful, and told me it was just some kids joy-riding and the bike would be found in a few days. They don't have a clue.

I especially like riding the BMW with the Wixom fairings mounted, because kids seeing it have no clue what it is. Fairings are becoming popular on motorcycles again, and the re-styled Japanese motorcycles now come with modest fairings for streamlining. But my rig is out of this world to the new generation, and very practical.

My classic BMW has been extremely reliable transportatation for the 80K miles I have put on it, with cross-country trips as well as commuting. Because of its magneto ignition and kick-starting system it doesn't even need a battery installed to operate. And its simplicity and German engineering have ensured reliability. But I'm afraid that a new generation of high-technology machines have by now surpassed it.

I have been known to have lots of fun with my radical black bike and Darth Vader mask at Haloween. I ride around the north shore malls in my black leathers, mask, and cape, to the delight of all the kids.


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