It was 1961. I watched my father walking to his R26, flooding the carb, giving it three kicks without ignition, then one with ignition on.. and firing up it did!
It was 1993. I wanted to get rid of my R80 and was looking for something a bit sportier...
It was 1994. On a warm sunday I visited a vintage rallye. I watched a man walking to his R26, flooding the carb... doing the same things I remembered so well. I wanted one like that instead of a sportsbike!!
I became a member of the BMW Mono Club, the largest club (if not the only one, more than 600 members!) in the world for vintage BMW single cylinders. And in feb. 1995 I finally bought a mono myself: a 1961 R27.
It looked pretty good: original paint, sounded good: no mechanical noises. But I soon found out there still was a lot of work to do on the bike! Compression had almost gone, so it wouldn't run in 4th gear in even moderate headwinds. Front shocks had gone and it wasn't prepared for unleaded gasoline.
As I was born with two left hands, which is nice only if you're left-handed, I contacted Martin Vijzelaar, a guy running a small garage in Eemnes, who was supposed to be a magician on BMW singles. (In fact, he only wants to work on old BMW's, he considers the newer BMW engines (3-4 cyl.) "car engines"). He turned out to be not only a good mechanic but a nice guy as well. So the next winter I had him do some cosmetic work on the machine.
Now she's rather a pretty girl I think (I mean the R27, not the aforementioned Martin); I gave her a tiny windscreen and a couple of hardbags as a wedding present. In return she carried me about 2000 km/year.
I used her mainly for visiting vintage rallyes and rides nearby, though she has visited the UK, Germany and France as well. The contrast with my sportier VFR made her even more charming!
As years went by I used her less and less, mainly because the Transalp was brought into the garage. And with retirement approaching I decided to move away from the multiple bikes concept. She was the first to go... and was sold march 2008.
Update summer 2018: Triumph!