This BMW R65 was custom built by the team at Curiosity Moto, their goal was to simplify and modernize the R65 where possible, to turn it into an excellent middle-weight daily rider.
BMW released the R65 in 1978 as a new model to better compete in the mid-size motorcycle market, it proved popular with buyers and demand on the secondhand market for them is still strong today.
Fast Facts – A Curiosity Moto BMW R65 Custom
- BMW unveiled the BMW R65 in 1978 as a new middle-weight bike between the larger BMW R100 and the smaller BMW R45.
- In BMW model parlance, “R” denotes a boxer engine and the number tells you the engine size. So the R45 is a boxer 450cc, the R65 is a boxer 650cc, and so on.
- The BMW R65 is capable of 0-60 mph in 5.8 seconds, it can do a 14.3 second quarter mile, and its top speed is 109 mph. These are decent numbers for a mid-weight bike in the 70s.
- The R65 you see here has been stripped and carefully rebuilt by the team at Curiosity Moto, they focussed on reducing weight where possible, it’s now fitted with an Anti-Gravity lithium battery, a new wiring loom with new charging components, a Moto Gadget Mini speedo, and a slew of other parts.
The Origins Of The Legendary BMW Boxer Twin
When BMW first developed their boxer engine they based it (to some degree) on an earlier Douglas boxer twin from Britain. Unlike the Douglas however, with its transversely mounted engine, BMW would go with a longitudinal orientation to get the cylinders out into the clear airflow for better cooling.
Contrary to popular opinion, BMW didn’t start out as an automaker, rather they began by producing aircraft engines in 1917. After WWI ended they switched to motorcycle manufacturing with the release of the boxer-engined BMW R32 in 1923, and only in 1928 did they release their first automobile – the BMW Dixi which was essentially a license-built Austin Seven.
BMW engineers would continue honing their two-cylinder boxer engine designs for years, the BMW R71 and R75 became the workhorses of the Germany military during WWII – they were so good in fact that they were copied by Harley-Davidson.
By the 1970s BMW had the boxer engine down to a fine art, they were among the most reliable motorcycle engines in production and they would form the basis of the BMW R80 G/S – the Paris-Dakar Rally winning dual sport motorcycle that founded the modern adventure motorcycle genre.
The BMW boxer engine remains in production today, unlike the simple air-cooled, overhead valve engines of yesteryear modern BMW boxers have liquid cooling, variable valve timing, overhead cams, digital ignitions, and fuel injection.
A Custom BMW R65 By Curiosity Moto
Curiosity Moto was founded by lifelong Londoner Mark Phillips, his goal is build some of the world’s best custom BMW motorcycles using his 40+ years of experience in the field.
The company also offers BMW mechanical work and servicing, they’ll even come and collect your bike for a servicing, then deliver it back to you when it’s all done and ready to ride.
This custom R65 build began as they all do, with a full teardown and an inspection of parts. The client asked for the bike to be modernized, but for the ethos of the original BMW to be maintained.
Mark and his team disassembled the bike and had all components soda-blasted back to bare metal. The frame and wheels were then painted sliver, a custom subframe and seat was added, and a slightly larger fuel tank from a BMW R80RT was sourced.
This tank was then painted with the letters “BMW” across the top and sides in an unusual period-correct font. The black and silver color scheme was maintained throughout the build with the black seat, tank, and tires offset by the silver engine, frame, wheels, and exhaust.
A new wiring loom was fitted to replace the antiquated original, it was paired with new charging components, an Anti-Gravity Lithium battery, and a Moto Gadget Mini speedo.
The bike is now fitted with new Hagon rear shock absorbers, slimline handlebars, a custom stainless steel exhausts with 5” mega phone silencers, a 5” headlamp and hidden mini indicators, and new front brake discs.
The bike is due to roll across the auction block with Silverstone Auctions on the 12th of Febrary with a guide price of £10,000 – £12,000 ($13,500 – $16,160 USD). If you’d like to read more about it or register to bid you can click here to visit the listing.
Photography by Image Factory Studio, provided by Silverstone Auctions.
Ben has had his work featured on CNN, Popular Mechanics, Smithsonian Magazine, Road & Track Magazine, the official Pinterest blog, the official eBay Motors blog, BuzzFeed, and many more.
Silodrome was founded by Ben back in 2010, in the years since the site has grown to become a world leader in the alternative and vintage motoring sector, with millions of readers around the world and many hundreds of thousands of followers on social media.