Model years vs Buil...
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Model years vs Build dates for /5's

7 Posts
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Philip Ross
Posts: 3
New Member
Topic starter

So I have just bought a pair of /5's an R50 and an R75 that I question the year on the registration. The R50 is a 1971 (VIN2902586) which the date plate shows an 01/71 build date and registered as a 71. The R75 (VIN2981541) however is an 06/71 build date. My question is if that a 71 or 72 model year? If  like cars, the 72's would come out late 71 and be 72 models, but that would be in the fall.

The reason I ask is that it was registered by the prior owner as a 72, but with a June build date I suspect it is correctly a 71. I don't know if it matters really as they don't seem to delineate model years. I suspect did it had more to do with the sale date by the dealer, which in my bike's case was January 1972.  

Any thoughts out there?

Posted : 03/24/2022 12:56
Richard W
Posts: 2549

Lots of bikes were titled according to the sale date. That's all I can say.

Owning an old Airhead is easy.
Keeping an old Airhead running great is the true test.

Posted : 03/25/2022 05:00
Robert Whigham
Posts: 126
Estimable Member

Don't even think about mentioning that around the tag office. The paper says 72 it is a 72, write your check, get your tag and leave today. Questioning only causes confusion for clerks and problems for you.



Posted : 03/25/2022 13:44
John Ehrhart reacted
Greg Leingang
Posts: 2
New Member

Beginning with the Airheads September usually began BMWs new model year.  August was/is often the down or transition month due to that being the month of "holiday."  This was the case then and still is the case today.  So your R75 is a late build 1971 model year.  Back then, bikes were not titled in terms of a model year.  Rather they were titled in the year they were sold.  I do not know when this changed but I believe the mid 1970s.  My 1967 R50/2 was titled as a 1969 which tells me it sat in a showroom a long time.  I have a 1972 Honda that is titled as a 1973.  Initially this bothered me and I wondered if I could get them corrected.  But then I decided the difference is actually part of the bikes story - it tells you how long it sat and what year it was sold.  And for an aficionado today, the VIN will be the proper evidence of the model year not the title.  That said I dont think there is any harm in asking your title bureau what it would take to adjust the year to the model year and not the year of sale.  Perhaps a simple VIN inspection.

Posted : 03/27/2022 14:33
Philip Ross
Posts: 3
New Member
Topic starter

That is what I suspected. It was bothering me as I wanted them to be the same year on the titles. At risk of a divorce, I could then hunt down an R60 for a complete set!. I did have the fear when titling it that the DMV would be an issue, but my insurance guy was able to do it no problem (Vancouver, Canada) so I now own two 71's.


Posted : 03/28/2022 11:40
David Elkow reacted
James Strickland
Posts: 421
Reputable Member

With respect to model year vs build date, it is probably best to let those sleeping dogs lie.  I think the /5's are the best, given the purity and simplicity of design. I have ridden an R75/5 with a build date of 12/72 since 1989. It came to me titled as a '73.  The only thing I would like to have on it is a kill switch. Otherwise, "simple by choice".

former Airmarshal, IL.

Posted : 03/28/2022 16:34
Greg Leingang
Posts: 2
New Member

James, if I understand things correctly, your 12/1972 build date means you do have a 1973 model year.  Chances are the bike was also sold in 1973.  So things synch up for you.  Model year 1973 would have been produced from 9/1972 - 8/1973.

Posted : 03/28/2022 17:32


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