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Classic Velocity Blog

BMW R27

Classic Velocity

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For a company that is most famous for producing a boxer twin since 1923, BMW has produced a surprising number of other engine formats. Most recently, a ground-breaking six cylinder, but also inline fours, triples, parallel twins, and a long history of singles. In 1960, they introduced the R27 single, to succeed the R26. The R27 boasted a significant increase in power to 18hp, and featured an overhead valve configuration for its lone vertical cylinder. It was perfectly square at 68X68, and featured a crankshaft mounted longitudinally. The R27 featured a unique combination of attributes at the time that created its' appeal. It had a rubber mounted engine to reduce vibration. It also had an automatic chain tensioner to reduce some internal vibration. It had enclosed shaft drive, and Earles forks up front. 

The R27 was available in black with white pinstripes, but also in the much more rare Dover white with black pinstripes. Dover white was reportedly requested by the chief of Butler&Smith, the US importer.  The bike used 247cc and a weight of 356lbs  to propel it to a max speed of 80mph, and to make it suitable for sidecar duty. Following the global slump in motorcycle sales during the late 1950s, and the near bankruptcy of BMW, the R27 was a part of the stabilizing products which included the Isetta, and the /2 series of twins. Over 15,000 R27s were produced between 1960 and 1966. However, it is part of a proud legacy of singles going back almost to the beginning of BMW, and which continues today.