1974 BMW R90S

Me & My Bike

Name: Fernando Costa
Age: 62
Home: São Paulo, Brazil
Occupation: Retired pharmaceutical executive

"To tell you the truth, I wasn't really interested in motorcycles when I was growing up. When I was about 19 years old, however, my brother's friend got a flat tire by our house and asked if he could keep his 1967 BMW R60 at our place. It sat there for three days, and every night I would sit on the bike. To this day, I remember exactly what it felt like with its two big cylinders sticking out. Soon after I got my first motorcycle, a 1968 Gilera 175, but I never forgot that BMW.

"Over the following years I owned a couple of Yamahas, but when BMW introduced the legendary R90S in '74, I found myself standing in the local dealership in downtown São Paulo being coaxed to 'take a little ride' by owner Edgard Soares. I told him, 'I don't even have money to put gas in the bike.' But Edgard was persistent: He told me, 'I didn't say you had to buy it, just take a ride to see if you like it.' Well, I did take that ride, and soon sold everything I had: my car, my motorcycle, a camera... I got some financing and bought that R90!

"On that day I didn't only get a new motorcycle, but also a lifelong friend in the form of Daniel Basconcellos, the dealership's service technician. Daniel now owns his own shop, and 35 years later still does all the restoration, repair and maintenance on my bikes.

"Even with the R90S, I never did forget about that '67 R60 that started it all. So in '88, after spending 12 years living overseas, I came back to Brazil and found one at the same dealership that sold me the R90S. Since then I have also acquired a '39 R61 and a '52 R25/2, which Daniel has almost finished rebuilding. Admittedly, working on these bikes in a country like Brazil isn't easy. There aren't that many around and the resources aren't like what you have in the States. The Internet has made finding parts so much easier. Before, it was all word of mouth. I found out about Martin Kornhaus in Germany and everything would be done via fax. Now, I get all my original parts online from shops in the U.S. and Germany. When original parts are unavailable, Daniel hand-fabricates them in his machine shop.

"Except for the R61, which now sits in my living room, I still ride all of these bikes on a regular basis. The best trip I ever took on my R90S was 1000 miles to Buenos Aires...back in 1976! I know for a fact that bike could make it around the world, even today. Those bikes are bulletproof.

"I have a passion for all of these motorcycles, but it's not hard to pick a favorite: the R90S. It was the first BMW I ever had from zero mileage. It's my love."

1974 BMW R90S