Photo: BMW R26 Instruction Manual (1955); CLICK IMAGE to magnify
The R26 was the followon to the R24 (1949), BMW's
first postwar motorcycle. R26 Specifications: Single cylinder,
245cc, 15 horsepower, 4-stroke, overhead valves. Bing 1/25/46 throttle
slide curburetor. 4-speed gear box, positive-stop foot control. Front and
rear internal shoe brakes. Drive shaft (not chain) on the port side.
Curb weight: 158 Kg. Maximum load: 167 Kg. Maximum
speed, single passenger: about 128 Km/h. Fuel consumption: 3.5 liters / 100
Km at 90 Km/h (70 mpg at 55 mph). Acceleration: 0-60 in about an hour.
Ignition and lighting switch.
Ignition warning light.
Front brake lever.
Twist grip throttle.
Headlight dip switch.
Battery box lock (*).
Gear shift pedal.
Rear brake pedal.
*The battery served no discernable
purpose; I didn't have one.
Gear shift pedal operation.
Neutral is between 1st and 2nd.
Me on my 1955 R26 in 1967, when I lived at 170 West 109th Street*, NYC (but
I think this picture was taken on 114th Street). Note the bent front-brake
lever, a hazard of parking on the street, sideways between two cars —
cars getting into or out of spaces always knock the bike over and break the
levers, headlight, etc. Parking lengthwise, on the other hand, is a
provocation to space-crazed car owners, and likely to get your bike turned
around sideways and/or pushed over anyway. In the winter, I just drove it
up the steps into my apartment to avoid parking headaches. Prior to the
R26, I had owned a 1949 Volkswagen (small
divided rear window, flapping turn signals, and non-synchromesh manual
transmission requiring double-clutching to downshift; I paid $50 for it and
drove it all over Europe while in the Army until it died one day on the
Autobahn). Tim Lee, who took the photo, was one of my kids in Project Double Discovery at Columbia, summer
President-to-be Obama lived 2 doors down from my place on 109th Street
fourteen years later at 142 West 109th Street; see