The R65 is the spunky runt of the BMW Airhead litter. It has a short-stroke 650cc motor and came from the factory with dual 18-inch wheels. It was among the lightest, most nimble Airheads BMW ever produced.
Reportedly designed with input from the Munich police force, this 650cc motor revs up quickly and eagerly—perfect for city use. It came with standard handlebars although many riders opted for lower, shorter bars to match its quick-handling disposition.
The short stroke motor means a narrower cradle frame, making this one of the few Airheads made that doesn’t share near complete parts interchangeability with other years and models. (The motor from a 1995 R100R can drop directly into the frame of a 1970 r76/5, for example.)
The R65 was produced as a twin-shock model from 1979 through 1985, and then for two more years as a single-shock Monolever model—which utilized a standard width airhead frame and components, such as beefier forks and a full-sized headlight shell. In Europe BMW offered the R45, a uber-high-MPG/uber-low-HP 450cc the company made nearly 30,000 of, but was never exported to the U.S.
The R65 also came for a short spell in a souped-up sport version called the “LS” —see below for more.
Owner: Darius Kadagian, 1980 Champagne Gold R65