Dieser Text enstammt aus der Oldie-Seite von Kees van der Heiden. | Alle Copyrights beim Autor.
Of course, I couldn't resist taking the R25 for a little ride. After all the work, you need a little pleasure, don't you? The bike isn't completely road worthy yet. The front brake is quite mushy, but the rear works very good. The tires are worn, but the road was dry. At least the lights and horn are working fine. I took my usual test route. From Warmond to Noordwijk then the scenic route around Noordwijkerhout, that even has some twisties and one hill (20 meter). Then I take the motorway, until Voorhout and back to Warmond. It is some 25 km. I took my tankbag, and packed it with tools, parts and a good lock. A break down is not unlikely, and it would be hard to leave the bike without a lock somewhere. Luckily the tankbag fits on this tiny tank, otherwise I should have stuffed everything in my pockets.
The petcock on, the carb tickled a little bit. Then with two prods on the kickstarter, she is alive. It's a weird sound, she hisses very loud through the airfilter, especially with the throttle closed. The muffler is very good, and there are not much mechanical noises. When she settles down, the idle is so slow, that you can easily count the pulses. I sit down on the swinging saddle, and the overall impression is that this is a very small bike. Selecting first, letting out the clutch and I am lurching away. Almost immediately you must switch to second gear. So I pull in the clutch, wait a small eternity until the revs have dropped, and second gear clicks in smooth. By now the speed has dropped, so the engine sound likes a steamboat when pulling from the bottom up. The same thing happens at all other gearchanges, although this gearbox is absolutely not bad for a BMW.
As soon as some revs are building up, the vibrations are there. That's something new for me. It always vibrates. At some speeds a little bit less, but it is never gone. Especially when accelerating the vibrations are trembling all over you. Another aspect of riding a R25 is the overall lack of speed. It doesn't feel out of breath, it is just slow. I pull into a gas station for some gas and air. When I have paid and walk back to the bike, it strikes me how beautiful she is. You tend to forget when you are working on a bike, but look how she stands there with that big sweeping frontfender, the saddle and all that empty space under the tank, with just that big cylinder sticking out of the crankcase. No amount of Technicolor plastic can beat these looks.
She rides fine. Even without suspension damping she goes like on rails, steering sharp through the corners. Just a little bit slow. I haven't ridden rough roads yet, that will maybe change the picture somewhat. The frame is very strong though, and the suspension travel very short, so bumps can't have too much effect. All went well. I have no idea how fast I rode, because the speedo doesn't work. It oscillates a lot, but doesn't show anything useful. Everybody was overtaking me, so I guess that I didn't go very fast. On the motorway I went quite fast, and the vibrations were at a minimum. I didn't give her full throttle, although I can't have been far off. She should be capable of 95 km/h, but I don't think it goes that quick.
A little bit of fine-tuning is needed. I came home, grinning from ear to ear. It is a great experience, and a real timecapsule. The R69 feels modern compared to this. For me it is unbelievable that this was once a very serious motorcycle. People who were riding a bike with a Sachs 98cc engine or a DKW RT100 would die for a "middle-class" machine like this. And when you could afford one, you were king of the road. An R51/3 was out of reach for almost everyone, and only the happy few, the police or people in the USA could buy an R68. But times were changing. '51 was a top year for the motorcycle industry. In '56 sales had dropped horribly. Most people had some money in their hands and now they wanted a roof above their head. Even if it only was an Isetta bubble car.