RideApart's top 3 BMW motorcycles of the 1970s


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They are nice bikes, yes. But the hipster fetishization of the boxer airhead is just that. They are cool, yes, but are also heavy and underpowered.

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The bikes are from the 1970s, of course they are heavy and underpowered compared to a modern bike. The real issue isn’t the speed, its the braking, however.

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And I should add that it was the Japanese bikes of the 70’s that revolutionized motorcycling, and the design and engineering innovations they ushered in had a greater and more lasting impact than anything BMW did. The 70’s BMW boxer engines were not really much more advanced technologically than what they were building before WW2.

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Not compared to a modern bike, compared to their contemporaries.

The UJM is nothing but a rip off of the R bike. Please.

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Uh what? The inline four, dual overhead cam engine? The first water cooled production bikes? Are you sure you know what you’re talking about? As far as brakes go, the first mass production motorcycle with front hydraulic brake was the 1969 hondas. Please, stop. You are being silly. 1970s BMWs are tractors.

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Yeah, even Hitler thinks they are tractors… :wink:


Hahaha. WHAT? The “UJM” didn’t exist until Honda quit being unique and interesting and starting aping “crusier” type styling. Those bikes are a FAR cry from the CB750 and other fours from the 70s. Those WERE the original “superbikes.”

I own a 1960s Honda CB77, a 1976 BMW R100/7 and have ridden many many Honda fours from the 70s. BMW twins are great on the highway, but they are heavy and yes, kind of “tractor-like” in many ways, and very unhappy in the city, unlike the revvable honda fours.


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The Japanese bikes of the 70s and 80s were designed to emulate the swappable parts between models and high reliability of the BMW. The type of engine is irrelevant, the UJM was Japans take on the BMW R bike’s modularity. Hence the “Universal Japanese Motorcycle.”

The article clearly acknowledges these were not the highest performing bikes on paper. The KZ had more raw HP at the time. I am sure they stopped better too.

My twin is fine on the highway and in the city.

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Those were indeed great bikes, and I rode an R100 for a long time and loved it. But these days…, it’d be hard to touch the R1200GS as the best handling general-purpose bike of all time. You can whip that thing around like a sport bike.

Also, what’s the deal with the ubiquitous 1970s fetishism? Will that decade ever die? Please?

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I have nothing to contribute other than my utter love of non-Harley riders ripping on each other.

Carry on.


Just wait for the Italians to arrive.


Don’t hold your breath though. It’ll take them a while due to electrical issues. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


15mph. 2nd gear. 8k RPM.


I just like to poke fun at anything sometimes. I actually think they are pretty bikes. I like the pictured one a lot at least for looks. Having never ridden one I can’t say much else. I ride a bigass twist and go personally.

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First, all you guys, don’t laugh at me because I’ve only been a motorcycle passenger, but I think I recognize one of these bikes. In 1979, I went on a trip on the back of my landlord’s bike from Brighton England to Bordeaux France, on a big white BMW with full fairing. We got a lot of strange looks going through towns, which eventually we figured out was because that was the exact model and color used by les flics. When I read in the link that the windshield was…

notorious for sending a blast of wind into a riders helmet,
the R100RS was nonetheless ground breaking in it’s style, functionality,
and performance.

… I knew it was the same bike, because I couldn’t turn my head to look at the beautiful scenery without the wind knocking my head back. Of course the fact that my landlord liked to drive an average of 80 miles an hour might have had something to do with that. After the first few hours on the back of the bike, I had to decide whether to ask to be let off at the next train station, or just hang on and hope for the best. I hung on…

No, the UJM was Japanese companies’ attempts to replicate the CB750’s success. There were dozens of them, all across-the-frame fours, OHC, air-cooled, one carb per cylinder, integral gearbox, disc brake, twin shock, telescopic forks. There’s a good article about them here.

Is there any influence of BMW on the CB750? I think you’d be hard put to find any. It’s much more a continuation of the CB450 and the CB77- and when those appeared, BMW bikes were still 1930s throwbacks with plunger suspension, Earles forks, and drum brakes.

Personally, I think the charm and character of BMW bikes derives from the fact that they’re an evolutionary dead end, and there’s nothing else like them (apart from the Soviet and Chinese copies). Same with Guzzis.

What’s with all the organ donor motorcyclist themed articles recently?

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There’s been like 2 in the last month.
Is that a lot?
I don’t ride a bike, but engineering is interesting.
And I’m a BMW fan…