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Motorworld’s newspaper №51

In 1937, the BMW presented model R6 – its first 600-cc motorcycle. The engine of R6 was similar to the engine of the previous BMW model – R5 – and it also had the transmission by spur gears. The difference was that R6 got the long-stroke engine with the capacity of 18 h.p. at 4800 rpm and it had the sufficient driving torque so it could be used in combination with a sidecar.


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 new BMW motorcycles was the telescopic rear suspension that was used for the first time in BMW history.

The motorcycle had a two-cylinder, flat engine with a volume of 600 cc and a power of 18 hp at 4800 rpm. Transmission – four-speed; Clutch – Dry single-plate; Brakes – Drum type. At the core of the motorcycle was a duplex tubular steel frame.

The BMW R61 motorcycles were famous for their extreme reliability and on a permanent basis were supplied to the Dutch and German armies. Both models – R61 and R71 – were very popular among Wehrmacht soldiers. They rode them all around Europe, from the English Channel to Volga, and used them during the military campaign in Africa.

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.)