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Citroen T23

Mercedes L3000A

BMW R61

Sd. Ah. 3  light load trailer

Sd. Ah. 23/1 generator trailer

BMW R61 Motorcycle and sidecar

 

The BMW R61 was used by the Wehrmacht between 1938 and 1941, however may were used until the end of the war both with and without a sidecar. A total of 3740 bikes were made. It is also interesting to note that this the first Wehrmacht model to have rear suspension.

Our copy

This is a copy of a pre-war BMW R-61. It is based on a Russian motorcycle called a Dnepr MT-9 (750cc). This vehicle is more or less a direct descendant of the BMW R-61/71 series, which the Russians copied during (and long after) the war.

Some factory modifications had been made to the basic design over the years and a lot of work was needed to bring the ‘combination’ (a vernacular term for a motorcycle with a sidecar) back to an earlier form.

The current engine is a combination of the R-71 crankcase with R-61 style cylinder heads. So these being the most noticeable part dictated that it become, as close as possible, an R-61. This also meant that we wouldn’t have to do all the extreme Modifications for an R-75 type bike.  A thumbnail sketch of the parts changed over the last 12 years or so are:

We've not bothered to change the rear suspension for the correct smaller style as this would require a complete frame re-build rearwards of the front seat. Also the rear suspension is, largely, hidden by the rear panniers. We also took the liberty of bucking the trend as we utilised a steel military sidecar as opposed to the more common civilian "Zeppelin" or "Boat" types used on this bike as most were impressed civilian vehicles. We also avoided adding a Machine gun mount as these were almost all used by motorcycle rifle companies.

It’s now a very passable copy of an R-61 (at least in our opinion!) and is streets away from the combinations on the circuit that just receive a coat of paint. It is also a bike we can throw around a field and don’t have to worry about original parts being wrecked.

It also has a small 'requisitioned' civilian trailer (this is an original 1930s European model) which it can tow, as shown in the picture above.