Vintage Motorcycles: Top Ten Things To Know Before Buying A BMW Motorcycle

You’re a sucker for adventure, you want a motorcycle and now you’re in the market to buy one. A vintage BMW motorcycle is a thing of beauty. And BMW design, history and engineering are renowned. However what models should you consider when shopping? With Oil Heads, Rs, and Ks where does one begin?


Top Ten things To Consider When Buying A Vintage BMW Motorcycle

1. Want Reliability? Consider A K Series BMW

A vintage K Series BMW is one of the most reliable motorcycles BMW ever made. These bikes are known to keep running and running and the design from the mid 1980s to mid 1990s are incredible.

2. Check The Splines

A K Series BMW doesn’t have a chain drive it’s direct-drive and if the motorcycle was serviced regularly, the splines that drive the wheel will be in good condition. It’s the one major check when examining a bike that people forget about, sure the bike might be going for a great price, but if the splines are shredded you’ll be putting loads of money into it before you even see the road. Ask if the seller will let you do an inspection, if not, there’s a good chance they’re hiding something.

Vintage BMW Motorcycles - K100 and K75

3. Do You Like to Tinker?

A vintage BMW motorcycle is fun to work on, and if you like wrenching and are known to get nerdy about tools, they’re as much fun fussing with as they are to ride. Understanding how your bike works is important and when something goes wrong it’s nice to know why. If you’re not inclined to get your hands greasy however, purchase a bike with low miles, good splines and that’s well looked after. These bike have been know to continue driving for up to 500,000 miles without a hitch.

4. BMW Design Stands The Test Of Time

The Germans are renowned for their engineering and design, a vintage BMW motorcycle on the road today is timeless compared with any other motorcycle.

5.  Stay Away From The Early 1970s

Oil heads are incredible bikes and anything before the mid 1980s is still worth considering, however you must be prepared to maintain it. Parts aren’t as widely available and you might be waiting a while scouring ebay for a part that never surfaces.

Vintage BMW Motorcycles - Fun To Work On

6. BMW Still Stock Parts 

Whether you’re buying direct or buying from another distributor most of the parts can still be found  on their online microfiche.

7. Handling

With the K Series bikes BMW decided to put the engine on it’s side which is how it got the nickname The Brick. This design is a self-balancing that pulls the rider after a corner back to proper riding position like a top. Which means less work. As well generally speaking any vintage BMW motorcycle is a thrill to ride and they can handle like the best.

8. It’s A Club

BMW owners are a heartfelt community, there are loads of online forums where you can meet people that will help you fix your bike or learn about the history of each model, and hear some fantastic stories along the way.

9. You Get Noticed

There are plenty of vintage Harley Davidsons, plenty of Hondas, and plenty of Yamahas on the road. But there aren’t that many vintage BMW motorcycles and they are a sight for sore eyes when you see one.

10. It’s A Feeling

It’s the old adage “you’ll never know unless you try.” Turn the key, take a classic BMW out for a test ride, scan Ebay, Craigslist and join online forums where owners sell their bikes either because they want to upgrade of downsize. When you get behind the bars and start the engine you will begin to understand the reason why the experience can’t be described words.

More Vintage Articles 

1. The Ultimate BMW K-Bike The K100RS 16 Valve

2. How To Buy A Womens Leather Motorcycle Jacket

3. Jack Kerouac On The Road First Editions


  1. Ron Sindric says

    I own an ’85 K100RS and you are spot-on with your eval. I named mine BRYNHILDR. Wish they would just bring this bike back!

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