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Thread: 1974 R90/6 Hand Controls: WTH?

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    1974 R90/6 Hand Controls: WTH?

    My son just picked up a '74 R90/6. It is not running and we haven't started working on it yet. I have a '76 R90/6. The question: My '76 has the conventional looking electric control switches, i.e., rockers for the turn signals, paddle for the high beam, etc. His '74 has totally different controls. Each side has a flipper switch that apparently you can push in. Since it isn't up and running and doesn't even have a battery in it yet I can't tell what is what. I'm sure if I spent all night google-ing it I could find the answer but....anyone wanna clue me in?

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    #4869 DennisDarrow's Avatar
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    The early 74's had the black controls, kinda bakelite plastic, with the larger (cooler) clutch and brake levers......The push buttons were the horn and starter.........I don't remember which; but the side on the left I think was the starter and the little levers and that control are the high and low beams with the high beam flasher going down........the right side, is the horn and turn signals up and down...........

    I am sure someone will correct the starter and horn sides; but that is basically it.....For me, I really like them as they are rebuildable and the levers are great because of their "knobiness"..............God bless......Dennis

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    Curmudgeon At Large Bobmws's Avatar
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    I believe the early '74's still used /5 controls, that's what I was told regarding my 74 R90S. Does his bike have a kickstarter also?
    Bob Weis
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    Registered User fxray's Avatar
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    Here you go:



    Ray

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    Yes, it has a kickstarter. Thanks for the picture. What threw me was the fact that there's no dedicated kill switch.

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    not so retired henzilla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by banzaibob View Post
    Yes, it has a kickstarter. Thanks for the picture. What threw me was the fact that there's no dedicated kill switch.
    There is...just have to reach over the bars and turn the key on the headlight bucket...always a smooth operation

    My /5 and /6 have the same controls
    Steve Henson
    SABMWRA MOA Club#62's Flat Fixer/ current forum moderator
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    Registered User lkchris's Avatar
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    1974 is the one and only year there was a 5-position ignition switch

    off
    park
    ignition
    ignition + park
    ignition + headlight

    This switch was revived for the R80G/S and I think the R80ST (Euro models).
    Kent Christensen
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    '99 '03 '06 National Co-Rally Chair Friedle's Avatar
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    74 hand controls

    Quote Originally Posted by banzaibob View Post
    Yes, it has a kickstarter. Thanks for the picture. What threw me was the fact that there's no dedicated kill switch.

    Sure there is a dedicated "kill switch". Twist the right handgrip to maximum and head toward a large solid object of your choice.

    If you mean there is no dedicated "engine cut off switch" on your 74 model, you are correct as most of the 74's were still equipped with the /5 controls. Updated switch gear was fitted to the 75 and 76 /6 models.

    Friedle
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    Ride fast safely

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    Registered User lmo1131's Avatar
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    e.g.



    My /5 and /6 have the same controls
    Early build '74 date; like January? Is the seat pan fabricated out of two separate seat sections? They did it to get into production without having to retool a die for a new seat LWB seat pan. There would be an obvious joint visible underneath. Just curious.
    "It is what you discover, after you know it all, that counts." _ John Wooden

    Lew Morris
    1973 R75/5 - original owner

  10. #10
    not so retired henzilla's Avatar
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    I'll have to look again...too many numbers to recall right now. The 74 does have the lengthened weld visible swingarm. My /5 is a 9/72


    Edit: /6 is stamped 7/74 and has one piece pan. I'm second owner of both and had a pretty good history of them being left as they came...except for the saddle and a Siedenbrock upgrade on the /5, which is also blue like your pic.
    Steve Henson
    SABMWRA MOA Club#62's Flat Fixer/ current forum moderator
    It's not the breaths you take, but the moments that take your breath away-D.Dillon/G. Strait

  11. #11
    Registered User m_stock10506's Avatar
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    '74 Hand Controls

    You have the photo and diagram, but the Right push button is the starter and the Left push button is the horn.

    Even though they look just like the /5 controls, the 1974 controls are unique to the 1974 /6. There is a unique part number for the /6 left side control (Horn, headlight - High, Low, Flash). I am not sure about the right side control (Starter, left, right signal), it may be different from the /5 or may be the same.
    Michael Stock, Trinity, NC
    R1100RT, R100, R60/6

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    Administrator 20774's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by m_stock10506 View Post
    Even though they look just like the /5 controls, the 1974 controls are unique to the 1974 /6. There is a unique part number for the /6 left side control (Horn, headlight - High, Low, Flash). I am not sure about the right side control (Starter, left, right signal), it may be different from the /5 or may be the same.
    From the /5 manual. #6 - Left control (dimmer, horn, passing light); #10 - right control (turn signals and starter).
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  13. #13
    Registered User lmo1131's Avatar
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    Just noticed in the shot that I posted. The perfect angle ... not to be able to see either the brake or the clutch lever.

    Maybe it's an Beem-o-matic, with integrated front and rear mechanical brakes. Maybe.
    "It is what you discover, after you know it all, that counts." _ John Wooden

    Lew Morris
    1973 R75/5 - original owner

  14. #14
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    Like most BMW's, the '74 was transition model. Last year all models got the kickstart. As noted it got the /5 type switch's, and polished aluminum turn signals. Some got the polished aluminum gas cap. The only year where the bikes came with solid disk brake rotors. I think a lot of the finished hardware was chrome plated. 1st year with a 5 speed gearbox. Like Chris said new key ignition. All in all, kinda neat. Definently old school like me.

  15. #15
    Registered User lkchris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by banzaibob View Post
    What threw me was the fact that there's no dedicated kill switch.
    This is like saying you're surprised it had tube-type tires.

    It's a 40-year old motorcycle ... the '75s were the first BMWs with a kill switch. When do you suppose HDs got them?

    You may find '74 was the last BMW with the front brake light switch on the handlebar, too ... at least until '81 when it returned.

    None of this is amazing.

    Kickstarter remained available throughout the life of Airheads, just became optional after '74 ... except on the R80G/S, where it was standard. It also probably wasn't optional on the '79 R100RT with the heel/toe shifter.
    Kent Christensen
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    '12 R1200RT, '02 R1100S, '84 R80G/S

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