Motorworld’s newspaper №51

In 1937 the BMW showed model R6 – its first 600-cc motorcycle. The engine of R6 was conceptually like the engine of the previous BMW model, R5 , and it was also using transmission with spur pinions. The difference was that R6 got a long-stroke engine installed, having the rating of 18 h.p. at 4800 rpm and sufficient driving torque for using a sidecar with the motorcycle.


BMW installed the same engine (as on R6) on its new model, R61, which was presented for the first time at the 1938 salon in Berlin, together with three other motorcycle models, R51, R66, and R71. The distinctive feature of all shown BMW motorcycles was the use, for the first time in BMW history, of telescopic rear suspension

BMW R61 motorcycles were delivered, among other clients, to the Dutch and German military. Both models, R61 and R71, were a very popular means of transportation with Wehrmacht soldiers. They rode them all around Europe, from the English Channel to Volga, and they used them during their military campaign in Africa. These models had not just an image of “Fascist motorcycle”: their other, more presentable quality was that of sturdiness and reliability.

Manufacturer Bayerische Motoren Werke, AG, Munich (Germany)
Years of manufacture 1938-1941
Quantity produced, units 3 747
Price 1 420 RM
Today’s value 9 178,48 $
Type Twin-cylinder, horizontally-opposed
Engine capacity, cc 600
Bore and stroke, mm 70 х 78
Power 18 h.p. at 4800 rpm
Sparking Battery type
Carburetor 2 carburetors, type Amal 75/243 S
Battery 6 V
Clutch Single-plate, dry
Transmission 4-speed
Frame type Duplex tubular, steel
Front suspension Telescopic
Rear suspension Telescopic
Brakes Drum type
Wheel size 3,50х19
Length, mm
2 130
Width, mm
Height, mm
Wheelbase, mm
1 400
Ground clearance, mm
Seat height, mm
Mass, kg
Gas tank size, l
Maximum speed, km/h
Range, km



Exploitation guide for BMW R 51, R 61, R 66, R 71 (ger.)