This immaculate R61 was sold for 17,000 euros. Click here for the specs.
 
A German soldier poses on an R61. (Thanks to Bart Sanders and Mike Goldthorpe for identifying the model.)
 
Francois Roux photographed this R71 on display in Budapest. You'll see quite a few Russian and possibly Chinese parts on this bike. (Heads, rear fender, etc.)
 
R71 engine pictures from eBay. There are significant differences between the R71 and M1 motors.
 
Alexander Raatz in Germany owns this R71 that's been repowered with an R66 OHV. That front fender is most interesting.
 
Alexander also sent these pictures of a BMW rear fender that was initially used in September 1939 on the R61 and R71. It was also later used on the R51 and R66.
This is an R71 bell fender from August 1939. These are also called "elephant ear" fenders.
 
R71 owner's manual from Gary Morgan
 
Richard Sheckler describes R71 fenders and brackets
 
From Frans de Wit: "Found this photo on German eBay, and it is a first for me—a Wehrmacht Heer (German Army) BMW R71! I did some research on the sign on the sidecar (Staffelzeichen) and found out it is from the Kommandeur der Armee Nachschubs truppen 463 [Kdr.A.Nachsch.Tr.463] (Suppliecompany) of the 20. Gebirgs Armee (20th Mountain Army) stationed in Lapland and Norway. If it doesn't get too expensive, I'll try to buy it. I'll probably have to shut up now about all the re-enactors using CJs as German Army bikes for not being historically correct. Dang!"
 
From Frans de Wit: "I bought this picture on eBay. How do you like flying this chair? No wheel, and a kid (his son?) on top, that'll have to put the wheel back, or else: disaster! By the kid's raised right arm you can see it's all done for the glory and honor of the Great Leader, der Fuehrer."
 
From Leo Struijk in France: "Found in some boxes books about the five day war in May, 1940 which showed pictures of Wehrmacht motorcycles entering Holland. I think one of the pictures shows R71 sidecar outfits."
"Here the motorcycle season starts and I hope to have fun again this year with the CJ."
 
See and Try a Spring Frame at Our Official Distributors. This R71 ad appeared in the June 23, 1938 edition of The Motor Cycle, courtesy of Tony Salvatore who also points out a glaring error in the text. Can you spot it?
 
Frans de Wit bought these old WWII photos on eBay.
This one is particularly interesting because the riders are putting on a familiar demonstration. (Click here to refresh your memory.)
 
Flying the chairs is either a training picture or a demonstration.
Kradschützen überwinden alle Gelände und Wegeschwierigkeiten (postcard, "Motorized armed forces conquer all terrains and road difficulties.") It shows a unit with an early sidecar combination. Look at the front fender. In the background is what may be a former civilian combination.
Kradschützen durchfahrt is a private picture made possibly during a contest since there seems to be a number on the sidecar.
Kradschützen fertig zum Einsatz (private)—"Motorized armed forces ready for combat."
Kradschützen in SU is a kind of cigarette picture (number 82).
 
You hear about Chinese or Russian bikes being passed off as BMWs.
Here's an R71 being passed off as a Russian bike. Click here for the story.
 
A genuine 1938 BMW R71 frame tag.
 
From Jim Bryant: "Here's a link from IBMWR for a series of pictures of an R71 for sale. Enjoy." (Click on the thumbnail.)
 
Tony Linz sent a large number of interesting WWII-era images of German soldiers on bikes. The ones that I haven't posted here can be seen at www.axishistory.com.
I wish we could provide more information about these images (dates, locations, etc.) Unfortunately we can't. The bike in the foreground could well be an R71.
Dozens of sidecar bikes in a formation.
Postcard view with some military bikes in it.
Soldiers on the move. This was probably the only fun thing these guys got to do.
These bikes are decked with garlands.
Machine gun fire from the sidecar.
Imagine how much strain a load like this put on an R71.
Another soldier firing from a sidecar.
Soldiers on solo bikes rolling through a village somewhere.
A staff car leads a procession of sidecar bikes.
Soldiers rolling past a crowded sidewalk.
Another staff car leads more soldiers on sidecar bikes. It could possibly be the same group in the photo above.
 
Phil Smith sent this image from Kevin Ash's book on BMW motorcycles.
 
Mike Swope sent this 1938 BMW brochure in .pdf format. The file size is 1.2MB.
And thanks to Holger Behncke in Germany, we also have an English translation. This first page describes the R20 & R35 models.
These are the R51 & R66 models.
And here's the R61 and R71.
 
This is the cover of another 1938 BMW motorcycle catalog.
Inside is this profile of the R71, grandfather of the CJ750.
This detail image shows a typical BMW final drive from the period. It's interesting to compare these old components with those on our bikes.
 
Stephen Boyce lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. A CDROM from Stephen was waiting here when I got back from working overseas—and these are the images it contained.
The military bike is an R71 that Stephen photographed at a festival in Ypsilanti last summer. It had a number of Russian components such as carbs and ignition parts. No doubt the cost of NOS Beemer parts from that era makes this an attractive option.
(There appears to be a fair number of Chinese parts on the bike as well.) The one part that sets an R71 apart from its M72 and CJ750 descendants is the sleeker gas tank profile.
There was also a nicely restored R71 civilian solo machine.
You'll see Changs with similar rear-fender brackets from time to time.
Ditto on the lowered front fender which looks perfect on such a bike. These developments cater to Western tastes.
This bike is not an R71.
R71 plunger frames do not have the triangular gussets at the rear plunger mounts.
This feature was introduced on the M-72 during the war and carried through to the CJ.
 
Some interesting old WWII-era BMW material from Frans de Wit in the Netherlands. "Some soldiers having fun with a bike in 1939 while in Ruhestellung (in between actions)."
"Ten Germans loading a sidecar combination onto a train."
"A picture I bought from the series Das Heer im Grossdeutschen Freiheitskampf (The Army in the Greater German Freedom Struggle) called ...with combined effort the motorized soldiers work into the slick... or something like that."
"An illustration from the Handbuch für Kraftfahrer, (Handbook for Motorized Personnel) from 1942. Here you can see how close CJ still is to the original. The comment about the engine drawing is to make things more clear, the inlet and exhaust ventilation is drawn on top of each other. In reality they are next to each other."
Compare this illustration of a fishtail with similar M72 and CJ750 drawings.
"The plungers are shown as something new—lately also on civilian motorcycles."
 
WWII re-enactors love Changs. This one belongs to Dom Hallgate who bought it in an eBay auction. It only had 29km on it.
Here's a recreated battle scene. If it weren't for the crowd of spectators in the background you'd swear this was real. It's just awesome.
Dom's looking for a few items to enhance his bike like the fixture on this R75 sidecar, for example. If you're a re-enactor you might be able to point him in the right direction. His e-mail address is dominic_hallgate@hotmail.com
 
This old picture from Gerald Gardebled shows German soldiers and their R71 in action during WWII. Notice that one of the gas tank rubber pads is missing. (The enlarged image shows all of the picture.)
 
Uwe Paschedag found this interesting article in a German magazine. There isn't enough room here to describe it as thoroughly as Uwe does but you can click here to read Uwe's description.
 
Frans de Wit sent this picture he found on eBay. Okay, so it's not an R71 but it's still pretty interesting. It's a 1936 R5 and it looks like it's pretty well trashed from a collision. I hope the driver made out better than the bike did.
 
Here is Carlo Triolo's grandfather who worked as a customs agent during WWII. This photo was taken along the Slovenian-Austrian border in 1942. The bike is an R71 with the word Zoll on the side. That's the German word for Customs.
The customs uniform was very similar to that of the Wehrmacht. The bi-color cord on the hat was the main difference.
 
Update on Uncle Fritz (see below). This e-mail arrived today: "Fritz was the brother of my grandfather Christian Klein—and yes, he made it home and he was a wonderful man. He would always pick me up and take me for a ride in the sidecar of his motorcycle. My Aunt Annelieschen is still alive and lives in Wiesbaden, Germany. Take care, Barbara Klein."
Here's Fritz with his family. You can see ten people in the enlarged image. Fritz is the man on the far left, right next to Barbara's grandfather. Wouldn't it be interesting to meet all these people? This image dates to the first world war.
 
Uwe Paschedag found this R71 for sale on the Internet. The asking price is 7500. But I see a couple things on this bike that are, well, curious. Like the distributor, for example, and the air filter housing. I wonder if the bike was restored using Chinese or Russian parts.
 
CJU sponsor Luke Xiaozeng sent this scan from a Chinese book. It shows German soldiers on the Eastern Front with an R71 sidecar bike.
He also sent this picture of Afrika Korps soldiers with their Zundapp KS750 sidecar bikes. Years later the PLA used copies of the KS500 which was called the Jing Gang Shan.
 
From Frans de Wit, this image of a couple Wehrmacht soldiers on what appears to be an R71, riding during high water along the Landingsdam on the Dutch Wadden Island of Schiermonnikoog during the occupation. Looks like fun... but I'll bet it really wasn't.
 
It's Grampa! This gorgeous R71 turned up on a site I hit while looking for a set of R60 rings. Unfortunately, I can't remember which site. What a beauty!
Look familiar? It's a 1938 BMW R71, the basis for Changs and many Urals & Dneprs.
Side view of an R71
This CJ "R66" built by Kent Berg in St. Louis, is one our feature bikes.
Dick Barr's awesome BMW R71 replica.
Here it is again.
This image is from a Russian web site. The caption says it's a BMW R71.
 
German infantry riding BMWs through Poland during the early days of WWII.
This guy was a soldier on the Eastern Front. The enlarged view shows his uniform.
Fritz Klein astride what appears to be an R71. The license plate reads WL 130263. "Meinem lieben Annelieschen - Onkel Fritz, 5.6.41" 
Here's another German infantry soldier borrowed from a German web site. He's on an R71.
 
From Jay Williams: Motorcycle soldiers on a converted CJ converse with the crew of a Hetzer tank destroyer at a WWII re-enactment in Texas.
Also from Jay, a converted CJ being used as a firing platform for an MG42 at a WWII reenactment at Camp Swift, Texas.
And from Jay, Grayson Houck's (Tyler, TX) CJ from a WWII reenacting event last spring. Conditions were pretty realistic (cold and muddy) as you can see. (That's Jay facing the camera, pushing on the sidecar.) Jay's unit has three of these bikes. Another unit they work with also has three, while another has an original R75. It must be quite a sight to see them all together!
 
Changs are very popular with WWII re-enactors. Here's one such bike with a Junkers Ju-52 from the 116th. Panzer Division site.
These soldiers from 21st. Panzer Division don't fool around.
Looks like they might be having trouble with the bike.
That's quite a load for one of these machines. R71s weren't quite up to it, but the R75s could carry anything.
This scene is from a re-enactment of the Battle of the Bulge.
Another Chang ready for service.
Here they come...
This Chang hasn't undergone the transformation into a WWII R71 yet. Courtesy of the 21st.
Here she is again.
And here she is once again. That's a '40 Ford truck they restored.
The 21st. also uses this restored BMW R12 in re-enacting. You can't get much more authentic than that!
The side car is nearly identical to ours.
Nice machine.