Friday, December 29, 2006

The Goal

The 1975 BMW R90S.
This dream machine would be the top new toy for me.

Ask one of today's hyper-sportbike riders about the BMW R90S and you'll probably get a blank stare. This motorcycle, which started the Superbike era, is now rarely seen and, unfortunately, it has become a footnote in motorcycle history to anyone less than 30 years old.

Well, I was there, and I distinctly remember the first time I laid my eyes on the R90S.

The bike, with its distinct "bikini" fairing and swooping tail section, got my heart pounding like no other.

Of course, I couldn't afford one, disposable income being what it was in 1974. The R90S was only built for 3 years, but what years they were. AMA started their Superbike series in 1976, and a special Butler & Smith prepped R90S, making 100hp at the rear wheel, was piloted by none other than Reg Pridmore, who went on to win the first AMA Superbike season on the bike.

Looking at an R90S today, it's hard to believe. It looks spindly and delicate, and its twin shocks holding up the rear look too much like toothpicks. Too many of the bikes have been beat up, modified and destroyed, and there are probably more fakes than originals at this point. A correctly restored original, with its beautiful and radical sunburst paint job, can cost nearly $10k in today's inflated dollars. But they are beautiful, timeless and classic, and my goal to own.

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