BMW R51/3

BMW R51 tourer spotted in Greece
A leisurely tour around the Mediterranean must be one of the all-time best motorcycle adventures. And whoever owns this bike is doing it in style. It was spotted in Greece, which is apparently a mecca for old BMWs: many were left behind when the German army pulled out of the country in the Second World War. This lightly-tweaked tourer, however, appears to be a later model from outside the country. A BMW-owning friend reckons it’s a BMW R51/3, with the 24 hp 500cc flat-twin motor and ‘plunger’ rear suspension. The photo was taken by one of our eagle-eyed readers, Franck, on the small island of Alonissos—and digging around makes me think it’s a 1951 or 1952 model, due to the half-width front brake drums. I’m not sure I’d want to be perched on that pillion for any length of time, but it’s a classy way to explore the Med. [Image: Franck Robin. Thanks also to Adam Leddin.]

Ricoh GX200 | 1/40s | f/3.5 | ISO 64 | Focal length 10.5mm

  • http://www.stonesofbrasil.com James G. Ziegler

    WOW! That just took my breath away. Being a BMW owner/fan (72 R75/5), a lover of classics, and a guy who likes to tour on his Beemer; this bike would be the ultimate to me. That is what you call poetry in motion. Nice, really really nice!

  • jacek

    Hi guys just to let you know R51/3 is not a flathead .Jacek. I love this site .

  • Malvino

    That’s a great bike, but if it was left behind in Greece it was later exported to the UK, it’s currently British owned, or at least registered, you can tell by the tax disc on the front.

  • misteradiant

    taxes to ride a motorcycle. what an absurd thing. shouldn’t there be a revolution about that or something? i’m sure it will only kill bureaucrats and who deserve it.

    by the looks of the rear fender, there is a regular passenger on this bike. stereotypically (i know, i know), there is a woman riding that bike with the man she loves. otherwise, it’s parental like “zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance” or the riders are gay. so let’s simply stick to stereotypes that fit our prejudices, and not involve priests, okay? okay.

    this bike is the one of the best that’s ever been on this site because she (the bike) tells a story simply sitting there alone. she tells a thousand stories. yay for old motorcycles.

    also, on the backpack behind the bitch seat there are a pair of googly-eyes and a toy magician’s cane. didn’t you have one? seriously. no wonder i make no sense to you.

    chris, thanks again for this site. what great fun.

    stupid americans.

  • Kostis

    Hello,
    It is a bmw r51/3 and it is registered in Greece.The tax disc is greek.I have the same model and from what i can see from the sticker on the battery we service the bikes at the same restorer.

  • Dedeve

    It was a nice surprise to see my bike posted on your site.
    I own the bike for a few years and i think that it deserves to be riden properly and not being fetled indoors. I go around touring Greece in the summertime along with my wife and all our bagages (tents and stuff) and the bike seems to enjoy it so much.

    And a few things about its history.
    The model is BMW R51/3, made in 1952, maching numbers and all original (but for the tailight), it was imported in Greece as a used bike from Germany in 1962 and used to be painted green, later blue and now red.

    As for the restorer-mechanic-friend and crazy scientist his name is Maniatakos Theodoros (phone 0030 210 5121161) and he is one of the few people who lives for these kind of use on these bikes.
    Thanks Theo

  • Angela

    Beautiful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Theo, I can’ t wait for the next ride ………………

    Angela

  • Dimitris

    where can i find a secont hand machine for bmw r 51/3
    please help ..