No one ever imagined BMW motorcycles, which were famous for refined touring going for a race.
In 1975, American Motor Sports Association announced a new category for production motorcycles racing series — Superbikes. Butler and Smith, an American BMW importer decided to enter the R90S, which was the most powerful and sportiest bike they had then. The project was placed under the charge of the talented German-born Udo Geitl.
Udo grew up in US. He was trained as an electrical engineer. He worked for NASA on Apollo’s pre-flight electronics checking system. Later he worked on Polaris Submarine’s compass instrument before joining B&S.
Udo had been developing the R69S and R75/5 with great success in AMA races. When Peter Adams the owner of B&S told him they are going for the Superbikes series, Udo wasn’t pleased, as much of his time had been invested in the Formula 750. The Superbikes had too many restrictions for his creativity.
But soon, he began to transfer what he had learned over to the R90S. He immediately set out to work on 3 bikes for the race. The stock 900cc had only 67hp. Geitl enlarged the engine capacity to 1000cc, built a bigger carburetor, a more powerful camshaft, shorter cylinder heads for better cornering clearance, titanium con rods and push rods, and a new exhaust system. The suspension was replaced with custom-built Koni monoshock derived from F-1 car racing. By the start of the 1976 racing season, the R90S delivered an impressive 102hp at 9200 rpm.
However, Udo also spent most of his time on the phone trying to convince riders to ride his bike. After a few unsuccessful attempts, he managed to get Reg Pridmore, Gary Fisher and Steve McLaughlin. During the qualifying rounds the R90S dominate the race and came in first, second and third. Most of the riders who rejected Udo were shocked to see how fast the bike was.
On race day, they were unstoppable. Fisher was leading, till his gearbox broke. Pridmore moved to take the lead with McLaughlin following tightly behind. At the last bank, McLaughlin made his final attack by slipstreaming past Pridmore, winning the race by inches. However Pridmore went on to win the championship, bringing home the title for B&S. The racing success transformed the image of BMW. B&S sold as many R90S bikes as they could deliver.
The original three R90S bikes were sent to various dealers and disappeared from the scene. Many years later, Bruce Armstrong, a former district sales manager for B&S discovered McLaughlin’s bike which had ended up as a privateer bike. In 1980, Armstrong’s wife and two daughters bought the bike for him as a Christmas present. Armstrong went on to restore the bike to its AMA winning spec. Today the bike is at its permanent home at the BMW museum in Munich.
The R90S was one of the best-handling race bikes and surprisingly lighter then the Yamaha and Suzuki two-strokes it raced against. Not bad for a shaft-driven touring bike. The victory earned them the title of ‘Bavarian Murder Weapons’.
Engine: Air-cooled Boxer twin cylinder
Weight: 385Ib (175kg)
Power: 102hp @ 9200rpm
Top Speed: 144.5mph (233km/h)
Print Size: A2 (420mm x 594mm)
Approx 16.53" x 23.38"
Print Type: OffSet Lithographic 4C Printing
Paper: Maple White - Acid Free - 220gsm
Take Note: Paper stock base colour do differ slightly from batches to batches due to its 50% recycle properties.
Free Shipping for 3 or more prints.
Discount Code: FRSP
Limited to 100 prints only.