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1979 BMW R65

The R65 was my first four-stroke motorcycle. It didn't have a lot of power or speed, but it was nimble, got good gas mileage, had a large gas tank, and was a quite capable commuting and long-trip motorcycle. It had a recurring problem with oil leaking from the oil filter cover, which was fixed by BMW with a shim between the engine and the cover. I took a trip from Austin to Florida and back with my brother in 1979, and also took a solo trip from Seattle to Texas and back in the summer of 1981. I put a frame-mounted Quicksilver fairing on it and also added Krauser saddlebags for touring. I took a lot of grief for its "disco brown" seat.

  • 650 cc four-stroke, two-cylinder, horizontally opposed engine (see detailed specifications below)
  • Purchased new on July 6, 1979 from Edwards Motor Company, Houston, Texas
  • Traded in on March 26, 1986 at Lone Star Cycle Motive, Austin, Texas for credit toward a 1986 BMW K75T
1979 BMW R65 right
New 1979 BMW R65 at home in Austin, Texas


Length 83 inches (2110 mm)
Width 29 inches (730 mm)
Height 42.5 inches (1080 mm)
Wheel Base 54.72 inches (1390 mm)
Ground Clearance 4.7 inches (120 mm)
Seat Height 30.3 inches (770 mm)
Dry Weight 408 lbs.
Curb Weight 452 lbs.
GVWR 881 lbs.
Engine Type 4-stroke, air-cooled, two cylinder, horizontally opposed pistons
Bore & Stroke 82 mm x 61.5 mm
Engine displacement 650 cc
Compression Ratio 9.2:1
Valves 2 per cylinder; push rods and rocker arms
Carburetor Bing constant velocity, Type V64/II, 32 mm diameter
Maximum Output 45 hp (33 kW) at 7250 rpm
Maximum Torque 36 ft.-lbs. (50 Nm) at 5500 rpm
Top Speed 108 mi/hr (175 km/hr)
Transmission Five speed manual shift; shaft drive
Gear Ratios 1st: 4.40; 2nd: 2.86; 3rd: 2.07; 4th: 1.67; 5th: 1.50
Final Drive Ratio 3.44:1
Clutch Single plate, dry clutch; 200 mm (7.9 in.) diameter
Starter Electric
Brakes: Front Perforated single disc brake with floating calipers, 260 mm (10.2 in.) diameter
Brakes: Rear Drum brake, diameter 200 mm (7.9 in.)
Wheel: Front Pressure die-cast alloy; 1.85 B x 18
Wheel: Rear Pressure die-cast alloy; 2.50 B x 18
Suspension: Front Telescopic; 7 in. fork travel
Suspension: Rear Swing arm, progressive spring loaded shocks with triple adjustment; 4.3 in. rear wheel travel
Tires: Front 3.25 S x 18 bias tire with tube; radius 12.25 in. ((18 + 3.25 x 2)/2)
Tires: Rear 4.00 S x 18 bias tire with tube; radius 13.00 in. ((18 + 4 x 2)/2)
Fuel Tank Capacity 5.8 gals. (22 L), including 0.5 gals. (2 L) reserve
Fuel consumption 51 mi/gal (4.6 L/100 Km) at 90 km/hr
Instruments Speedometer, tachometer
Colors Champagne

Photo Gallery

Click on images below for higher-resolution version (opens in new window)

BMW R65 new Brand-new 1979 BMW R65, just home from the dealer (Lone Star Cycle Motive, Austin, Texas) in July. It still has a temporary license plate.
1979 BMW R65 1979 BMW R65 with Quicksilver fairing and Krauser saddlebags in Austin, Texas
R65 in Austin

1979 BMW R65 loaded for the return trip from Austin, Texas to Seattle, Washington, August 1981.

BMW R65 in Austin 2

1979 R65 on the centerstand, Austin, Texas, August 1981.

Created 20111013; Updated 20140313