The photo of the R60/2 below shows how one would have looked in stock condition when sold new originally by a BMW dealer in the United States. Note the wide dual saddle and the U.S. handlebars, with the central cross-piece. Note the 4½-gallon gas tank with a key slot in the knee pad, which opens a tool box. The greenish battery is a modern addition. Otherwise this a pretty stock slash-2.
In 1986 in Council Bluffs, Iowa, Jill and I bought from its first owner Iowa, a 1967 BMW R60/2, seen below. It was manufactured by BMW in its Munich factory on September 20, 1966, and sold originally in September 1967 by Paul's Motorcycle in Council Bluffs, which is still in business but is no longer a BMW dealer. Since then, I have ridden it some, and stored it for about 15 years in our sun room. After storing it, I rolled her out one day, changed the fuel and oil, and she started on the second kick. The old BMWs never cease to amaze me.
Here, below, is a photo of Iowa, taken shortly after I brought her to Madison, Wisconsin, in 1986. Note the optional wide dual saddle, which would have come with the motorcycle originally. The chrome quarter handles on the rear of the saddle denote the wide saddle.
In 1993, I took Iowa to Pickerington, Ohio, to be included in the two-year-long "My First Bike" exhibit at the AMA's Motorcycle Heritage Museum. The photos below were taken by an AMA studio photographer and sent to me after the display was over..
Below: Here is Iowa, 20 years later posed in front of Lake Monona, Madison, Wisconsin, with the State Capitol in the background. She has lost the wide dual saddle for solo saddles. She was running well and looked pretty good for a completely original R60/2.
Iowa has Craven Golden Arrow saddlebags mounted on her. Back when I got her I chromed the air cleaner housing, Today I know that to be a no-no because it covers original paint. She also had stainless exhaust pipes and mufflers I installed in the '80s also no-no.
Below: Here is Apple's Steve Jobs riding his 1966 BMW R60/2 two years before the Apple Macintosh was introduced. His bike is very similar to my one year newer black R60/2, shown above, which has the same larger 6½-gallon gas tank, Hella bar-end turn signals, and a BMW safety bar (see page 6). My bike originally had a dual saddle (two photos above), which I replaced with solo saddles, and I have added Craven Golden Arrow panniers.
On February 19, 2012, my mechanic friend, Norm and I converted Iowa from 6-volt electrics to 12 volts. We used the Bench Mark Works “Slap-On” conversion kit. It took us (mostly Norm) 90 minutes to install the components under the front cover. It took more time to replace all the 6-volt bulbs with 12-volt versions and to install the battery. Now Iowa has 200 watts of power, not just 60. Now all three of my R60/2 BMWs have 12 volts.
Over the years I did routine work on my bike. Left, below, in 2007 my friend Norm helped me replace the head bearings with tapered bearings. To the right, Iowa is on my lift for some routine maintenance.
After riding her off and on for 23 years, I decided it was time for my faithful R60/2 to get a makeover. Below you see her in my garage in Tucson, waiting for the arrival on March 10, 2009, from San Diego, of master BMW restorationist Tim Stafford, who was picking it up.
Below left, Tim and Jill hold up a 6-foot-4-inch poster I gave Tim to hang in his San Diego shop. Below right, Tim drives up the intimidatingly steep road out of our valley. Some people are not willing to brave our road.
Tim starts by stripping any BMW on which he is working down to its basic parts. He then paints all the painted parts if it is a concours retoration which this bike was not. For a concours restoration, Tim insists that every tiny detail be correct, even down to the bolts, nuts, and ties. In the photo below, left, my bike is in the early stages of reassembly.
Below, right, the repainted rear fender and fuel tank await assembly.
By September, Iowa is nearing completion. Missing are carburetors, heads, exhaust system, Craven saddle bags, front cover, turn signals, and other details. But she does look beautiful.