From 1955 to 1969, 15,347 of these 594 cc shaft-drive, opposed twin motorcycles were built. The 35 hp (26 kW) R69 was produced from 1955 to 1960, the 42 hp (31 kW) R69S was produced from 1960 to 1969, and the 42 hp R69US was produced from 1968 to 1969.
These models were designed as relatively high powered, high compression sport bikes, although the Earles fork R69 and R69S came with sidecar lugs installed on the frames. These lugs were deleted from the telescopic fork "US" models. The low compression 30 hp (22 kW) R60/2, produced from 1955 to 1960, was designed primarily for sidecar use, though it was popularly used as a solo bike, along with the 30 hp R60US, which was produced between 1968 and 1969.
The sport-oriented R69S, R69US, and R69 succeeded the plunger-framed 1951 to 1955 R68, which had an engine very similar to that in the later R69.
The R69US models, with telescopic forks, which were used later on the BMW R-/5 series motorcycles, were introduced in the United States for the 1968 model year and then continued for 1969. Front and rear side reflectors, demanded by the U. S. Department of Transportation, were introduced only for the 1969 model year, along with a DOT sticker that was placed on the rear fender. The previous Earles fork continued to be offered during these years.
In June 1962, Cycle World magazine published a review of the R69S. Its initial and concluding paragraphs read:
Ask any motorcyclist what he considers to be the two-wheeled equivalent of the Rolls-Royce and you will almost certainly be told "BMW". That answer will not be too far wrong, either, except that the products coming from the Bayerische Motoren Werke incorporate a good deal more in advanced engineering features than the famous English car. Actually, the BMW motorcycle is more like the Mercedes than a Rolls-Royce: conservative in many respects, but quite advanced nonetheless. In any case, the BMW has attributes that make it unique, and it has acquired a reputation that makes it a "prestige" motorcycle — even among people who ordinarily don't give two wheelers a second glance.
Whatever the BMW's merits in a contest of speed, it is still the smoothest, best finished, quietest and cleanest motorcycle it has ever been our pleasure to ride. To be honest, we think that anyone who would worry much over its performance-potential is a bit of a booby. The R69S is fast enough to handle any encounter, and it has attributes that are, in touring, infinitely more valuable than mere speed. All things considered, if we were planning a two-wheel style vacation/tour, the BMW would have to be our choice of mount.
R69S Specifications. (R69 specifications shown in parentheses when different from the R69S)
Start of Production — 1960 (1955)
End of Production — 1969 (1960)
Numbers Produced — 11,317 (2,956)
Internal Designation — 268/3 (268/2)
Motor Type — Four-stroke two cylinder flat twin
Bore × Stroke — 72 mm × 73 mm (2.83 in × 2.87 in)
Displacement — 594 cc
Max Power — 42 hp (31 kW) at 7000 rpm (35 hp or 26 kW at 6800 rpm)
Compression Ratio — 9.5:1 (7.5:1)
Valves — OHV
Carburation System — 2 carburetors, Type Bing 1/26/75-1/26/76 or 1/26/91-1/26/92 (1/26/9-1/26/10)
Engine Lubricating System — Forced feed lubrication