Learning on Lockdown

Or, things you discover when nothing much else to do.

This is a 1958 BMW R50. If you have one in this condition it’s worth a not insignificant sum.

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Illustration for article titled Learning on Lockdown

Like many (but by no means all) a BMW bike before and since it has a flat twin with its cylinders arranged horizontally and therefore with a longitudinal crank.. Attached to this is a longitudinal gearbox. Not by coincidence this makes the company’s traditional shaft drive easy to arrange.

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As with all BMWs up to the early 1970s it has a kick start. But the kick start is not as others are.

Usually a bike has a transverse crank and to go with that a transverse gearbox. Logically then the kick start is transverse and so its pedal turns through a longitudinal arc. Look from above and it goes backwards and forwards.

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Not a BMW’s. Equally logically the kick start operates on a longitudinal shaft and so its pedal turns through a transverse arc. Look from above and it goes in and out rather than backwards and forwards, like so:

Illustration for article titled Learning on Lockdown
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Not many know that.

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