500cc racing boxer from the 1960s
Kaczor-BMW R 50
The world was really excited, whether the Lo Rider recently conjured up by BMW. But a look at the MOTORRAD archive reveals that dreams don’t look much different today than they did 40 years ago.
A.us, over, over. We don’t need to fool ourselves: openly slurping carburetors, thundering exhaust bags and the reduction of the beloved riding iron to the essentials has been history for a quarter of a century – and will remain so. Overtaken by apocalyptic CO2 debates and noise restrictions, for which even the clicking of the blinkers will probably soon be an issue.
Nonetheless, the sentimental dream of the Spartan driving machine lives on. Reanimated by studies like the recently presented BMW Lo Rider. A concept bike that unabashedly cites ancient ideals – reminiscing and pulling out the moth box. Cover open and right in the middle of the 1960s. A real treasure trove for two-wheelers that have been slimmed down to completion. Especially the racing scene at the time. Because whoever wanted to race for place and victory one day had to be at least as gifted a hobbyist as a sports pilot. Commercial racing machines were rare – or dizzyingly expensive. So the wild horde set out to make fast, victorious racers out of bourgeois street machines. And so Horex, NSU, Adler, BMW and the first Honda CB models race against each other. Some were only relieved by the dim headlights, others turned into real, lightweight racing machines through almost artistic craftsmanship. The requirement: as much as necessary, as little as possible. The goal: two wheels, engine, tank, seat – done.
In exactly this style, the talented BMW engineer and racing driver Ferdinand Kaczor built his 500cc racing boxer at the end of the 1960s. Borrowed the air-cooled engine from the R 50/2 and refurbished it to almost 50 hp with a lot of precision work, Kaczor defied the fast Norton and Matchless single-cylinders with the bumper BMW in many DM races. The BMW project came to an abrupt end with his fatal racing accident in 1970. For now, at least. However, the functional and beautiful design of the Kaczor double loop frame was reissued as a replica by a clique of enthusiastic BMW fans around eight years ago and completed in style. The designer, tinkerer and classic racing driver Sepp Rainer, who died two years ago and who under the acronym SERA, played a key role in this company, played a key role in German motorcycle racing. Steel tubes connect the steering head with the swing arm bearing in the shortest possible way.
Form follows function
Based on the sporting past, wonderful models could also be created in the future.
The on-board electrics are reduced to three delicate copper cables, the wheels, held together by a cross braid of shiny spokes, are covered with slim tires that bend over the lean angle without resistance. Tank, bench, lines – all laid out in a wonderful form-follows-function tradition. The whole thing is kept in colors that underline the mechanical purpose: silver and black. The only colorful blob: the classic yellow start numbers of the racing machine. What more do you need? Exactly, a few liters of fuel, a blocked route and two strong figures who use all their might and power to bring the co-driver to life. Warming up, barking bursts of gas, greedily sipping Dellorto carburetors. After five minutes, the resinous Castrol R40 oil is also liquefied and the journey through time begins. With a rumbling thunderstorm from two slim megaphones, swiftly pushed corridors and jagged inclines. Iron riding in its most original form. Not easy and certainly not casual. Because the drum brakes require paws and the impetuous ups and downs of the cardan drive after the finest handling of gas, clutch and a cleverly designed ideal line. Anyone who waltzes around with gross motor skills fails.
Only those who perfectly coordinate the engine, drive and chassis will reap the harvest and witness an era in which the racing driver still had to be machinist and acrobat at the same time. Only when the bare aluminum of the cylinder head covers scratches into the asphalt and the Avon racing tires sway between grip and take-off on the last groove does reason come into play. "To Koch, you better park the BMW before it rattles!" You can’t afford that. And so back to the future – the occasion for our trip to anno Tobak. Now take a look at the Lo Rider down there on the right. N / A? If that is not reminiscent of the elegant, classic boxer version of Ferdinand Kaczor … Apparently, BMW has done nothing other than merge the basic stylistic elements of the legendary racing era with the latest boxer technology.
The visual reduction to the essentials instead of bulky plastic eruptions, transparent mechanics instead of under-cover technology, tank and bench modeled in such a way that the human being is suckled to the upper part of the machine. If you now correct the playful baroque milled parts and the cheap bulging eyes – great! And by the way, a wonderful example for other manufacturers who are getting lost more and more in the synthetic computer design jumble. Back to the roots. To motorcycles that want to be nothing more than simple driving machines – of course, according to all the rules of modern art. And if the ladies and gentlemen designers take deep traits from the factory archives, suck up shapes, colors and elements, then we will do the devil to wash them off. Why should one reinvent dreams as long as the old ones are not over?
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