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The BMW R 80 R, much too old-fashioned, much too modern

BMW R 80 R
ER Classics Desktop 2022

No concept has eternal life. The fact that Harley V makes twins and BMW boxers? Well, nobody talks about 100 years. But still: For BMW, the history of the air-cooled two-valve boxers seemed to last forever. According to the managers and marketers, that era even lasted too long.

The beginning of the end

Marketers and managers decided that the boxers would be phased out. Because behold: It was time for the K75 and the K100! The arch-conservative BMW 'Boxer Fan-gemeinde' did not care about that modernist bleating with three- and four-cylinder and demanded that two-valve boxers remain.


And no matter how divinely talented and misunderstood managers and marketers felt: The accounting department had Boxers make it and saw that it was good. But of course that was a rear-guard fight. The era of the two-valve boxers ended with the BMW R 80 R. Even the color options that were rather exuberant by BMW standards could not change that.

But it started like this

More than a quarter of a century ago, the Munich Makers thought it would be smart to come up with a lighter version of the still-selling R 100 R. They had plenty of experience with 800 Boxers and with a pinched 800 person it would also score well in the insurance-favorable 27 horsepower class. That was in 1992, just before the presentation of the four-valve boxers. The BMW R 80 R came side by side with the 60 horsepower R 100 R. In Germany he was only about 1.000 DM cheaper than his big brother. But BMWs were and will not be bought by price buyers. And it soon became clear that the 800 was actually more beautiful than the shaking-bellied R 100 R. And that was appreciated by many riders who did not go blind for cylinder capacity.

A great bicycle part

With its Paralever rear fork construction and high-quality Showa damping, the BMW R 80 R had the best boxer bicycle part of all time. The 'weird' wheels were unique. The BMW R 80 R could enjoy tubeless tires while retaining truly classic spokes. Stylish and completely des BMWs.

Fully fueled, the BMW R 80 R weighed only 217 kilos. And that made the engine a fantastic dancer on secondary roads and passes. It is agile where necessary and stable where desired. Only when braking in turns does he want to get up. Don't expect miracles from the single wheel in the front wheel. Most BMW R 80 R buyers bought an extra drive for a guilder or four hundred.

So the BMW R 80 R engine

The reputation of the two-valve boxers has always been better than they really were. This is also the case with the BMW R 80 R. It could have had a little more torque - NOTE: a used BMW R 80 R can be a 27 hp engine! - and for people who are used to Japanese four-cylinder, the running culture is also not really convincing. But the BMW has enough to give the standard 50 hp. On the test bench, the blocks often turned out to deliver 55 hp. In terms of performance, the BMW R 80 R is therefore little inferior to the R 100 R. The five-speed gearbox takes getting used to and just doesn't shift very well. But with some skill he can live with it.

Now the Cinderella from the story

Currently, these last two-valve vehicles are the least loved of their entire family, except for the rickety trotting R45s. The BMW R 80 R is seen by two-valve fans as 'too modern'. But bet that will pass? It may not be a red hot classic yet, but it is still a great travel machine.

BMW's unique wire wheels

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