Purchasing classics there

Over the years, BMW has been very wrong a few times when it comes to the market opportunities of a type. The futuristic K1 was a bridge too far, the slender R80 ST was not. Just like the beautifully sporty R65 LS.

The BMW R65 LS (1981-1986)

It was in 1982 when BMW made an attempt to upgrade the image of the R65. And Hans Muth was allowed to provide the looks that were supposed to make the slim boxer an absolute top seller. That was the same Hans who was also hired to transform the perfect, but so boring Suzuki four-cylinder into the razor-sharp stylized Katanas. Those weren't sales stunners, by the way, but they did wonders for Suzuki's image. It shouldn't have been the looks.

It was about the price

The BMW had to become an affordable, sporty motorcycle at a time when there were still enough young people who decided that motorcycling was fun. The R65 LS had a sharp, wind-splitting profile. Opinions were divided about the protection that that windshield gave. It was more of a design thing. Nothing wrong with that, by the way, because the design was the approach. Still, BMW happily announced that the fairing reduced front lift by 30%. Old Skool BMW riders thought the fairing looked like something Star Trooper-esque from Star Wars. The buddy styling was adopted in later BMWs. The BMW wasn't as confrontational as the Katanas, but BMW's clientele was about as ready for wild change as the global crowd of Harley riders and the elders of an Article 31 community. So there were quite a few BMW drivers who turned away from the LS in disgust. The LS was available in Hennarot and Polaris colours. Many parts that were chromed on 'normal' BMWs were black on the LS.

Technically, the LS was identical to the regular R65

The short-stroke boxer with a bore x stroke of 82 x 61,5 mm, a compression of 8,2:1 built narrower due to its shorter stroke and allowed for larger valves due to its larger bore. So far everything was pretty good. The entire bicycle section was also identical to the R65. The only functional difference was that the sportiness of the R65 LS was emphasized by the additional brake disc in the front wheel. And with that double disc with Brembo claws, the BMW still has a good set of anchors on board.

The 650 cc twin was of course not a Bahnburner

With his actively forward-facing sitting position, he was wrist-pressingly sporty. On the other hand, the moderate knee angle allowed for long rides, as did the fuel capacity. The LS has a preference for smooth trotting races on secondary roads. The fact that this BMW has not become a top seller is apparent from the total production. Because BMW is a German brand, those production figures are known up to the last engine made. Where the Italians would cheerfully report "between 4000 and 10.000 pieces", the serious-looking Germans inform us that 6389 BMW LSs have been made. And we know from the market that considerably fewer have survived in good condition than, for example, the R90 Ssen.


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  1. BMW has had a love-hate relationship with 'design', at least if you look at the creations that way.
    The K1 a bridge too far? I found him extraterrestrially unusual and therefore beautiful. Things like an R65LS were not much more than a nice try in my opinion. With models like the R nine T but especially the R18 it became really nice. At least, that's my taste. But fortunately there is no arguing about that. You really couldn't go wrong with an R65. Technically equivalent to his siblings, they were solid things. Sitting position is a matter of taste and preference. To each his own. As long as they aren't apehanger engines.....

  2. I was at a nice party in Munich. In 1983 Boxers 60 years! Beautiful all! 3 days and all BMW owners were invited and there were many. It was grand and cosy. BMW was a fantastic host!!! I myself had a 50/5 at the time. And there was a contest with the top prize of a 65 LS. We talked about it and agreed on one thing. they want to get rid of me

  3. The photo with the article is not really of the original LS, the tank was always equipped with a black bottom, the battery covers were black, the rims at the red white and the valve covers silver.

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