BMW 1937 R5 494 cc transverse OHV twin frame # 502548 engine # 502595
The 1936 line up of BMW models consists of the 200cc R2, 300 cc R3 and 400 cc R 4 singles and 750cc twin models in side valve R 12 and ohv R 17 configurations. All these machines have pressed steel frames and hand shift gearboxes. Newcomer is the sporty Rudolf Schleicher-designed R 5. A 500cc sporty model that boasts such features as a double cradle arc-welded frame made of oval tubes, hydraulically dampened telescopic forks, foot-operated gearchange, a new type of engine with two camshafts, hairpin valve springs and quickly detachable and interchangeable wheels. Two Amal carburettors are fitted; the first R5s have an air filter on each carb, later machines have a single air filter box on top of the engine. Power delivered is 24 hp @ 5,800 rpm, good for a top speed of around 140 km/h. Only 2,600 R5s are produced in 1936-1937; for model year 1938 it is superseded by the R51 which is almost identical but has plunger rear suspension. In comparison: 13,000 R51 machines are sold between 1938 and 1940 so we can call the R5 a pretty rare bird indeed.
The machine on offer has been nicely restored and is a fine runner.