|I have combined two articles about /2 seats, so it might be a bit confusing.
Bench (dual) seats for the /2 BMW motorcycle
The /2 BMW (55-69) came with a variety of seats. The basic price included only the rider’s solo seat. Any seat for the pillion position was an accessory. All of the dual seats were an accessory in the early years. The bench seats are normally divided into three sizes, wide, medium and narrow.
Photo by Joel Rapose, thanks.
The wide seat
The seat on the left is the “extra wide” one. It was often referred to as the US seat. It was an accessory and cost an extra $25 in the mid-60s. Many bikes were delivered with it as stock, but the invoice added on the extra charge. More and more bikes came with the wide seat and by the late 60s, more than half seemed to be supplied with the wide seat.
It is the only /2 seat with grab handles or vertical supports. The vertical supports are just a long flat bar going from the rear of the seat directly down to the bolt at the fender hinge. These vertical supports are necessary, as the side brackets are not strong enough to hold the seat. They are part of the seat and are not listed separately in the parts book.
The grab handles are of two varieties. The early ones were cast aluminum and the later ones were chromed steel. The aluminum polished up fairly well but could corrode easily if left out in the weather. The chrome steel looked good until they started to rust. They were cheaper to make and looked cheaper too. Warning. Never allow a passenger to grab them for safety. In any sudden shift or take off, the passenger will be holding on too far back and fall off the rear of the motorcycle. Don’t ask how I found that out.
This seat has the strap going through the grommet. It also has the later chrome hand rails. A photo wanted of the rear of the seat showing the vertical supports.
Wide seat info from Jeff, thanks
I’ve been following the “Seat” thread on the /2 chat group which led me once again to your wonderful web site. As I was looking at your /2 “bench seats” page, I noticed your request for the dimensions of the “wide” seat. I dug out the example I have and made the following measurements:.
–Width of seat at widest point is 13″ (33cm) which tapers to 12″ (30.5cm) for the pillion.
–Width from piping to piping while following the contour of the seat is 14.5″ (36.9cm) at the widest point, tapering to 14″ (35.6cm) for the pillion.
The seat is from an Earles fork R50 that left the factory on Feb 28, 1967. It has the aluminum trim along the bottom, chrome grab handles and a strap that extends completely around the seat and fastens underneath. The rear displays a metal tag imprinted with “Original Schorsch Meier, Made by Denfeld, West Germany”. It has not been recovered and I am almost 100% certain that this dual seat is the one that came with the bike..
Your site has saved me much anguish as I have worked to restore my R50/2. I appreciate all of the time and effort you’ve put into assembling the web pages and look forward to your contributions to the chat group..
Recovering the wide seat
This article might help you with recovering the wide seat. Thank Jim in Australia for this article.
The medium (middle) seat
The middle seat is what was provided as standard on US delivery bikes. Photo from Mark Coholan, thanks. It measures about 11″ between the piping at the widest point, which is about mid way, front to back. The distance between the piping at the pillion part is 9 1/4″ and the length between piping is 27 1/2″. This seat can come with a few varieties of springs and rubber.
The narrow BMW dual, or bench seat
The seat on the right is the narrowest one and seems to be little known in the USA. The cover on this example isn’t correct at all and should look exactly like the middle one. This one is only about 9″ or so at the widest part. I seem to remember that the emblem was Denfeld, not Schorsch Meier. Does anyone have proof, either way? That seat was on all BMWs imported privately by a “pirate” BMW dealer in Mountain View, California in the late 60s named Siraky Motors.
Mr. Siraky was a recent immigrant from Hungary and brought in many BMW’s “under the table” which infuriated Butler and Smith. I also saw some of these seats on /2 bikes that were imported privately by military personnel that had been stationed in Europe. The main thing about this seat is that it is not only narrow, but the sides are more parallel. It just isn’t ve a much wider at the midway area.
BMW bench seat characteristics
All came with a strap for the passenger to hold. The early ones had the strap going through a metal grommet in the side. The later ones had the strap going all of the ways down to the bottom of the seat and wrapping back up to its mounting point. Other minor variations exist.
The early strap and grommet. The seat is the medium sized one. Photo from Mark Coholan, thanks.
The later strap.
The suspension on the bench (dual) BMW seat
A variety of manufacturers made seats for BMW and they varied over the years. One variation is what is under the bench seat for suspension. Some had a hard rubber pad and two coil springs to hold it up. I have only seen the rubber pad on the middle sized seat. Some had a variety of many coiled springs running from front to back. The coils were “smashed” down so that they would not be so thick.
This is a shot of a bench seat with the flat “smashed” springs. The spring is wound and then “smashed” flat. I hope that you can see that in the photo. The seat is mounted up on a bike, so I just jammed the camera up under it as best as I could. That is the fender on the lower right. This was probably the best suspension for the bench seat. The other type was a hard rubber padding. It worked well, but after some 30 years would start to crack and break up. I would like a better picture of this seat showing this view.
This one is typical of the hard rubber pad and two coil springs, one on each side. Photo from Mark Coholan, thanks.
An email from Pierre Michaud talking about his seats.
Well, I finished restoring my SM (Schorsch Meier) narrow bench seat and it is a beauty! One thing I discovered doing it is that the Denfeld felt padding and the SM molded foam has the exact same padding contour even though when reupholstered the SM is 12 inches at the widest and the Denfeld is (I forget) 11 inches.
The frames for the Denfeld and the SM are identical in every respect and are therefore interchangeable (An SM with a molded rubber seat base, however, is different)
The Denfeld has coil springs while the SM has crushed springs front to back. What makes the SM wider at mid section and wider all around is the fact that SM has 2 metal strips on which the flat springs clip on and cause them to spread wider to the exterior.
Both Model SM’s I share the same foam padding and have the same vinyl upholstering. Everything else is different except maybe the 2 suspension coil springs on each side.
Both Model SM’s I have, have a rear tag mentioning only Schorsch Meier. However, they were made by Denfeld.
The problems with all these seats are the deterioration of the molded foam padding and or the rubber seat pad. All foam that is exposed just dries up/oxidizes/crumbles. Any foam not exposed but in contact with metal springs also deteriorates big time. Even if you were lucky enough to find a NOS I am sure the foam and rubber would be in poor shape. On the Schorsh Meier with rubber padding, the foam is almost all under cover….in this case the foam is remarkedly in great shape but the rubber is cracked and dry.
Trade mark plates for the BMW dual seats
All of the dual, or bench, seats on the BMW motorcycles that we call the /2 were made by Denfeld..
From a 1965 medium seat.
Another example of a plate. Photo by Lawrie Bradly
Two or three bench seats??
Our best source of info (usually) on these matters is Mark Hugget from BMW Mobile Tradition at http://www.bmwbike.com/. Here is his unedited quote, in red, on this issue as a response to my inquiry on the /2 Yahoo list. I have posted this to be fair to Mark, as his information is of very high quality and his view should be represented.
You are confusing people even more regarding how many types of bench seats were available. BMW had two bench seats namely narrow and wide.. Check in your old BMW parts catalogues and you will find three part numbers namely:
52 53 9 034 021 Narrow bench seat R26; R27; R50 – R69S
52 53 9 034 020 Wide bench seat (US) R50 – R69S
52 51 7 002 160 Narrow bench seat with attachment parts R50 – R69S.
This is the same 52 53 9 034 021 plus additional mounting hardware.
BMW had two suppliers namely Denfeld and Schorsch Meier.
BMW used the same part number for corresponding products from both suppliers.
During the life span of these saddles, the production also underwent changes. Originally Denfeld used crushed spring for their bench seats.. They then went to a rubber moulded support instead of the crushed spring probably due to cost reasons which was, as you rightly mentioned, supported by two coil compression springs on either side.
Schorsh Meier only used crushed springs in their bench seats.
The company Denfeld filed for bankruptcy in the late 1970’s and what was left over as well as the name Denfeld was bought by the company “Schwartz”. The original toolings, drawings and moulds for the Denfeld bench were no longer around and so “Schwartz” had to start from scratch. Due to the investment costs, Schwartz went back to the crushed spring concept. He also made new jigs for the frame which are not perfect, and that is why the replacement Denfeld bench seat does not fit the original contours of the BMW, eg. the space between the rear fender and the rear of the saddle is about 4,5 to 5 cm whereas the original Denfeld and Schorsch Meier bench had an all around snug fit.
Here is a later post by Mark on this same issue.
According to the BMW internal production lists both Denfeld and Schorsch Meier were parallel suppliers. SM seats were made by Denfeld.. Similarly BMW had three parallel rubber seat cover suppliers namely PAGUSA, Denfeld and SFS Franke. Like with contact breaker points, Bosch, Beru and now Noris from Mark Huggett GmbH.
All the changes and slight differences that you mention are no more than subtle changes over the years of a product being improved and further development during it’s life. If you guys knew how many changes that a product goes through e.g. material spec, surface spec, hardness, tolerance etc. etc etc…..
Fact is. There are officially only two Bench seats made for the Earles fork BMW models namely the narrow and the wide US version. The differences that you are on about or the mysterious “third” type is simple evolution and changes from one batch to the next.
My old parts books all are in the 7 digit part system, so I can’t check these numbers. Since I have seen dozens of these very narrow seats, I know that they exist. I asked for input from others. I received several replies from current owners of the very narrow seat. We still don’t know the full story about them. I was never able to find new original covers for this very narrow bench seat. Owners of these seats have no choice but to deal with them as a different seat. Just because BMW had suppliers that allowed the seats to be different, but with the same part number, it matters none to us.
Owners of these seats have no choice but to deal with them as a different seat. Just because BMW had suppliers that allowed the seats to be different, but with the same part number, it matters none to us.
BMW motorcycle solo seats for the /2
The very rare solo seat in the first year of the Earles fork models.
This is a close up of the seat spring mounted in place. In the lower right you can see the battery strap. Photo by Richard Sheckler, thanks.
This BMW motorcycle passenger seat was made by Pagusa. It has two long parallel springs for suspension. Denfeld made them too and they were nearly identical. Depending upon the year, other companies made them too. It is a rear solo seat mounted on the rear fender rack. Photo by Steve Sawtelle, thanks.
The seat on my restored R25/3. The coil spring is horizontal.
The stamped steel fender rack
Side view of the fender rack that was made to mount at least two types of pillion seat.
Rear view of the same rack. This R69S was restored by Marco Hyman and contains a lot of great information.
The rear rack should be stamped steel, it has 3 holes in it. the original racks had nuts welded under the rack for bolt mounting of the solo seat. The repro racks do not have the nuts welded on the under side of them, but they can be added.
Photos of the leather covered BMW motorcycle swinging pillion seat.
Photos by Scott Williams
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This seat is attached to the back of the front solo saddle. As the solo saddle goes up and down, the front of this one rises and falls. I owned a 1962 R69S that was supplied with this configuration from BMW. Passengers reported that it wasn’t comfortable for more than 1/2 hour. The white piping is identical to that found on the bench seats. The leather was rather thick and of high quality. The stitching was usually the first thing to go on a well taken care of motorcycle.
The restorer may want to see other early aspects of the /2 and more details.