Retrobike

1974 bmw r90s Island * HERO

“THE RESULT IS THAT TRADEMARK BMW FLAT-TWIN IMITATION OF A LOW-FLYING AIRCRAFT AT FULL THROTTLE”

HELMUT Dähne joined BMW as an apprentice mechanic, aged 15, in 1959. In a 15-year career, he rose to development engineer and chief road tester before moving to Metzeler. He also raced BMW boxer twins in enduro events and, from 1970, in road racing, generally with little support from the factory.

He debuted at the Isle of Man in 1972, after a credible 13th on his home-built R75/5 at the Imola 200 behind Paul Smart and Bruno Spaggiari on their all-new desmo Ducatis (Retrobike #23). Riding a stock R75/5, Dähne placed fourth in the Production TT, and backed up with fourth again in 1973.

In 1974, BMW released the revered R90S streetbike; Dähne immediately upgraded his race bike’s engine and cosmetics (but not the chassis) to R90S specs and was rewarded with third. A holed rocker cover while leading the race in 1975 thwarted what looked like certain victory,

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Retrobike

Retrobike4 min read
Life’s A Beach
AFTER two years of the best blue-sky weather the mid-north coast of NSW can offer, the heavens opened for the third annual Rattletrap festival on the beach at Crowdy Head, north of Taree, in May. Heavy showers lashed the event all morning, then taper
Retrobike1 min read
Original Isn’t Always Best
THE two big motorcycle events of the early 1980s were the Castrol Six-Hour Race and the Easter meeting at Mount Panorama, the premier race of which was the 81-lap Arai 500. In 1982, the bikes to beat at Bathurst were Rob Phillis, Mick Cole and John P
Retrobike4 min read
RUNNING OF THE Bull
NIGEL Irvine has been around motorcycles forever and remembers first hand the dramatic impact Japanese bikes had in the early 1970s. Gone were the old, oil-leaking English machines often bought cheaply secondhand and destined to break down at the mos