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Autor Thema: Hello from England  (Gelesen 369 mal)

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Hello from England
« am: 30 April 2021, 17:25:11 »

Hello everyone Calvin here, I own a 1959 BMW R26, but a bit of history first, I hope you find it amusing.
It all started in 1973 with a Honda ss50, anyone from that era will remember the Honda "fabulous fours". I graduated to a Honda 350 Four to the 500 four and the 750 four, all great machines.

In 1981 I was on holiday in North Wales. Parked on the pavement was the strangest motorcycle I'd ever seen, weird looking front forks ( I later found out they were called girders), no rear suspension, no dual seat (just a saddle) and Dutch number plates. I waited for the owner to appear, and was informed it was BSA M20 500cc side valve. I did not know it, but it would be the start of 40 years riding oldtimer motorcycles.

A few months later a M20 came up for sale, it was regarded as the cheapest and biggest pile of rubbish one could buy. I loved it, easy to start (using "the ritual"). A total machine for less than renewing one of the four pipes on the Honda. It was soon pressed into the run to work, easily starting even at 6am after night-shift. Incredibly reliable and virtually worthless.

I joined the local oldtimer bike club and was introduced to the world of vintage motorcycles, manual advance and retard, manual oil pumps, lever throttles, hand change gearbox, bicycle type brake blocks, belt drive, 2 speeds no clutch. My new friends (all my parents age), simply regarded the M20 as completely normal. They soon let me into the secrets of the magneto and dynamo, adjusting girder forks, exhaust valve lifters, boiling chains and greasing wheel bearings. ( very sadly 40 years later most have passed away).

Over the years, various vintage motorcycles came and went including a 1934 BSA 3 wheeler, but I always kept that first machine the 1940 BSA M20.

In 2007 I was on my way to the Dental Hospital, but arrived far to early. A trip to the nearby motorcycle shops would cheer me up before the dreaded chair. In a shop window a postcard advertised a BMW R26 for sale not used for 20 years. (Dentist chair or another motorcycle? it would be fate). Three hours later and spitting blood, I was at the sellers door. It looked all there, (never having seen one), I left a deposit and returned with a van, money changed hands and it was mine.
Six months later, I finally had a runner, what a revelation, quiet, no oil leaks, superb brakes, it even had suspension front and back, (I was used to pre-war machines) even needed a key to start!, but most of all so comfortable to ride.

By 2011, I was office based and getting the train to work, walking from the station early one morning, I see 3 BMW single cylinders near my place of work with German number plates, (I had only ever seen mine). It was Rudi, Kathe, Ute and friends. I could not get close enough, and enjoyed their tales of Scotland.

In 2013, I was working late, just finished and was dashing for the last train home, I was staggered to see Rudi, Kathe, Ute and friends just arriving, I wished I could have stopped longer to chat.

By 2016 I was just retired and looking forward to many more rallies, unfortunately a health issue took hold, I am fine now and looking forward to meeting you all once this Covid is over. The R26 has now covered 40,000 miles/64,000kms in my ownership and is running well.

Ute, Stanley is only 10 minutes up the road from me, I look forward to inviting you to our home as soon as Covid restrictions are over.

The BSA M20?. After almost 40 years it's just gone, I finally restored it to correct wartime specification and had covered 140,000 miles/225,000kms having ridden countless rallies and as far north as the Shetland Islands and as far south as France and Belgium with full camping kit.
Best of all, never on the breakdown trailer, never failed to start, or get home under it's own steam, it was so reliable. I almost shed a tear when it went up the ramp into a friends van, a very very well loved and faithful friend.
Best wishes to all Calvin 


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Hello from England
« am: 30 April 2021, 17:25:11 »


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Re: Hello from England
« Antwort #1 am: 30 April 2021, 18:06:41 »

Hello Calvin.

It always makes you wonder how small this world can be...incredible.

So welcome to the forum, glad that you're here and whith your R26 as well.

so yes, from a continental perspective we are almost neighbors...looking forward to meeting you again...and one day I will have completed (enough) all those forms required to register a previously German registered R25/3 in the UK and I will ride that bike with a proper license plate.

We'll keep in touch.

Take care, Ute
Ich hab noch nie einen Sarkasmus vorgetäuscht

auf Tour:

Zipfelreise (2019)
Cymru "Radnor Revivals" (2016)
Alba "Isle of Skye" (2013)
Austria Großglocknerhochalpenstrasse (2012)
Alba "Spittal of Glenshee" (2011)


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Re: Hello from England
« Antwort #2 am: 01 Mai 2021, 08:42:39 »

Good Morning Calvin

R26. I am aware of Ute's BMW, , it has come my way 'professionally' in my role as DVLA Officer and Archivist for the BMW Club UK&I

It may be advantageous if for you to contact me direct (P.M. ) to start, or look u my email address on the BMW Club UK&I ;) Website.

I may ??? perhaps have some info / history on your R26. Not many came to the UK

Robert Freeman



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Re: Hello from England
« Antwort #3 am: 01 Mai 2021, 16:28:43 »

Hi Calvin
Welcome to the forum and what a great read your motorcycle history makes.
As you are aware the forum is made up from the best of people who are only too happy to pass on their BMW einzylinder experiences.
I am a bit further North that Ute, Roslin - just South of Edinburgh.
Look forward to meeting up with you sometime  :respekt:

Hans Otté

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Re: Hello from England
« Antwort #4 am: 01 Mai 2021, 17:20:09 »

Hi Calvin
be welcome here among us!
I guess you will be in very good company with Ute so close to your living place.
Any technical problems occuring to your R26 may not last for a long time with a fine expert on these old bikes in your nearby neighbourhood!
Keep safe and healthy and always booth reels on nonslip ground, *****

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