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1974 BMW R90S

Hermy's Demo Days

Classic Velocity

Hermy's BMW in Port Clinton, PA is one of those throwback motorcycle dealerships that you love to visit and just hangout. It is not new, it is not stylish, but it oozes ambiance. Great customer service, and great mechanics. They advertised a Demo Day, and it was a good excuse to ride a couple of the new models. More importantly, it was the next step in the concentric circle method of road-testing the R90S. Hermy's is a 90 mile roundtrip, so it was just the right length. It had capabilities for a scenic route, or a highway blast.

After getting the tires up to recommended pressure, I opened the petcocks and tried starting the bike. It took a few tries, but eventually fired to life. The choke and the throttle play definitely need adjusting, and I probably need to balance the carbs. Once it warmed up a little though, it ran perfectly. Once underway, the bike performed flawlessly. I chose the highway route so that I could open it up a little. It accelerates with gusto and feels like it will run all day at 75+ MPH. The turn signal was sluggish after 25 minutes straight on the highway, so a relay may be on the blink. Other than that, and a mirror that needed tightening, I was happy with the shakedown test.

I chose to ride the 800GS and the S1000RR. Talk about contrast ! The S1000RR was what I expected, blistering performance, great feel of the front wheel, and compromised ergonomics. I did not even use half of the rev range on the ride, and I still hit 85 MPH at points. It reminded me a little of my former R1, but smaller and more nimble. That said, the 800GS was actually more impressive given my expectations. The meat of the torque band seems to start from idle and last to....well...past what I was able to use on the ride. I was expecting a baby version of my 1200GS, but it felt light and flickable like a true dirt bike. It was also relatively relaxed at highway cruising speeds.

I got a key blank for the R90S and headed back home. The bike was even better on the way back, and you can readily understand what a rocket this must have been in 1974. It was also comfortable (particularly after the S1000RR), so you can readily understand how with a little luggage, a transcontinental trip would beckon.