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#23 Darryl Richman

Santa Cruz, CA

1928 BMW R52

Hi all!  I’m Darryl Richman, and I’ll be 62 years old when the 2020 Cannonball takes off.  I currently live in Santa Cruz, CA, but I grew up in LA and also lived in Seattle for a decade in the 90s.  I’ve motorcycled through 45 of the US states and about two dozen other countries.  I’m a BMW enthusiast and have ridden over 700,000 miles on them.

Although I got my first vintage bike in 1985 – a friend moved and left me with 5 boxes of parts that made up a 1961 BMW – I didn’t actually do anything with it for more than 8 years.  While I was living in Seattle I actually put the bike back together again and it ran.  It was so different from what I was used to with modern bikes, it really attracted me.  From then on it was “Katie, bar the door!”

I now have BMWs that cover nearly every decade of the last century.  I am not running a museum, I ride them all.  That first 1961 BMW has 22,000 miles on it since I restored it, and I’ve ridden the 1928 R52 model I’m entering in the 2020 Cannonball over 15,000 miles – in part because I’ve ridden it in three previous Cannonballs (2012, 2014 and 2018).

The R52 model is a 500cc sidevalve model, with a 3 speed hand shift.  The transmission is a “crashbox”, you have to double clutch going into 2nd from either 1st or 3rd.  It makes about 12 hp, which is good for a top speed right around 60 mph, but It cruises nicely at about 45 mph.  With the auxiliary tank strapped on top of the regular tank, it can go over 150 miles on a single fill up.  The leaf spring, trailing link forks and hard tail make the bike a bit bouncy on rough roads, but in general it’s quite comfortable for me to ride all day.

–Darryl Richman