Well, I was there, and I distinctly remember the first time I laid my eyes on the R90S. I was never a cruiser rider, having always been enamored with European iron and the British café racer scene. The R90S, with its distinct “bikini” fairing and swooping tail section, got my heart pounding like no other.
Of course, I couldn’t afford one, disposable income being what it was in 1974. The R90S was only built for 3 years, but what years they were. AMA started their Superbike series in 1976, and a special Butler & Smith prepped R90S, making 100hp at the rear wheel, was piloted by none other than Reg Pridmore, who went on to win the first AMA Superbike season on the bike.
Looking at an R90S today, it’s hard to believe. It looks spindly and delicate, and its twin shocks holding up the rear look too much like toothpicks. Too many of the bikes have been beat up, modified and destroyed, and there are probably more fakes than originals at this point. A correctly restored original, with its beautiful and radical sunburst paint job, can cost nearly $10k in today’s inflated dollars. But they are beautiful, timeless and classic.
Ian Falloon is well known to motorcyclists as the prolific author of many historical books, several of them reviewed on webBikeWorld. BMW R90S is part of the “Motorcycle Collector Series” published by Whitehorse Press. We loved the BMW R100RSbook in this series, and Falloon’s new entry does the same for the R90S. It’s an easy read; not a “how-to” for restoration, but it’s filled with stories and history and many excellent color photographs of the bike and the times.
BMW aficionados will love this book, but it will also be of interest to motorcycle historians and anyone interested in learning how we got to where we are today, in a world with so many choices of outstanding Superbikes for street and track.[books/book-includes/amazon-horiz-w-search.htm]
From “K.T.”: “…I’ve just bought a copy of the BMW R90S book that was reviewed on your site. And wow, they sure do have some stunning photos in there. Thank you for that review. I was curious as to whether book reviews should also include comments about print and build quality. I have to state that the book – being printed in China – has very average binding, and is nowhere near the standard of some coffee table art books. That said, the color reproduction and paper stock is adequate for the price.”