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This article contains a summary of all 1970 & later BMW Airhead motorcycle colors & paint scheme codes that I know about; and, while it is mostly North America shipped colors, over the years I have added European information. 

There is also some, not extensive, information on K bike and Oilhead colors.

In my private files I have a lot of information on old BMW car paints, you can ask, on the Airheads LIST, about a specific model, year, color.   Glasurit's very old literature does not seem to have been included to a full extent in Glasurit's on-line charts, for motorcycles, although listed in that category.  BTW, Glasurit paints are distributed by BASF in the USA.

Every BMW motorcycle, and cars too, is coded with a three-digit paint finish code number.    BMW motorcycles use that code number, usually found on a label under the seat, on the seat pan or top of the rear fender... to refer to an over-all paint job.  This is a finish code; covering the entire paint job.  Europeans, and many in the USA, refer to this finish code number as the Scheme code.  All of which means exactly what I say here:

This is not a number that describes 'just' the color(s) of the paint, although that number may be the primary paint color.  You should think of the scheme number as describing an entire paint color and layout, even pinstripes, ....except for exact paint gun passes, thickness of coatings, exact placement of pinstripes, other words it is not a full engineering description, but it is a description of, generally, the products.  This code does describe, possibly not fully, pin-striping, even dual-pin-striping.

Glasurit, & some others, have a lot of information. They know what that BMW code basically means...or, should know.   This information may not be published in their internet-sourced charting!    This can be particularly troublesome with the pinstriping and the smoked colors, and R90S paint.     There may be several color coats used, & a finishing top clear coat, one or more colors or types of pinstriping, all depends on the model (and, probably, year).  If you want information on color depth, fading, etc., you need to speak to an expert BMW motorcycle painter.

For a simple example, you might have a bike whose under-seat label has the color scheme number 572.   In this instance, it happens that 572 is a specific BMW color, Magenta Red, and you can get paint in that color.   But ...for 572 you also need a clear coat, and what about the pinstriping? pin-striping used most often with that paint code?    Single pin-stripe or a dual pin-stripe? Width?   Is it installed before the top clear coat, or underneath? How many layers or dusting coatings of a paint are use to get the appropriate depth of color? ...too much/many may be darker than originally intended. Some schemes are VERY complicated!

In some instances there is a base color coat, which has an over-coat applied to get some desired effect ...or more than one! ...and then perhaps a clear coat.   Some paints are not clear coated.  When investigating a paint code you may need to contact the paint manufacturer.  Try first looking at the parent website,

BMWNA (& Butler & Smith, the importers of the early BMW bikes), sometimes had different names for the same color when used on different models!  BMW themselves sometimes had different names for the same paint when used with different colors of pin striping, and may or may not have changed the Scheme code, confusing things badly.

Little-known-fact: BMW used a descriptive 00 for color for right hand drive cars, single 0 for left hand drive cars!

Snoop around here:

Duplicating an original paint job is where a highly experienced professional painter earns their money.

Additional information:

1.  On matching colors and numbers....  It used to be that in order to use that URL,  you selected "BMW" and on the next page enter your color sticker number.  Glasurite is part of BASF now, and use of the internet pages is quite different.   Look carefully.  For the old pages, the next following page had the trim code.  I used the first color number listed, entered it back into the previous page, it give the color name. 

2.  Sometimes hard-to-find information is in literature such as the SNABB Katalog; or, BMW's microfiche, etc.

3.  The first number in a BMW code is the paint, the second number is the finish code.  You will probably find that confusing in actual use, until you are familiar with how it is used.

4.  In 1983-1984, the front fender of the R80RT had ONE pinstripe; the R100RT had DUAL stripes.  This was true for the R100CS, R100S, R100RS, and Last Editions.

5.  Due to the age of all Airheads, paints previously available from BMW are OFTEN, if not mostly, no longer available; particularly via BMW.  The paint may well be available from other sources. That is particularly so for the State of California, but, increasingly so for other States.   Sometimes, though, while NOT available from a California dealership, or anyone or any company in a particular State, due to VOC & other smog laws, they are available from other State's dealerships.   BMW dealerships have some access to availability.  HINT:  In some instances a paint is NLA in fiche & in dealer information, but MAY still be available.  You can try ordering it from your BMW dealer!    SEE #9 BELOW!

6.  For R-M paint (BASF's mid line):    If the paint formula is available, a BASF paint store can mix it for you.  Some formulas may only be available in certain types of paint (single, two stage, etc.). For Glasurit paint (BASF's high end line):

7.  There are many sources for paint, here is another one:

For black frames, there are numerous black paint products that work well. See two tables further down (titled: Miscellaneous codes, colors, containers, etc:) for recommendations.

Regarding aluminum door & window frame cleaners and Naval Jelly (any hardware store or Lowe's or Home Depot):
When touching up or otherwise repairing painted steel surfaces, & you have rust areas, do fine grit sanding & feathering into the 'OK' paint area, & then treat the area to either a metal etching liquid from the local store (it contains phosphoric acid, & will so state on the container), or; for surfaces where the liquid would flow off, use a similar gel product called Naval Jelly.  Naval Jelly usually works reasonably quickly.  The screen door & metal etch stuff will work reasonably quickly, but I usually use it diluted 1:1 with water, & let it sit overnight.   I do this for frames as well as the inside bottoms of fuel tanks, after the tanks are well-hosed-out with warmish water & a bit of detergent, then flushed well.  These phosphoric acid products convert rust, even hidden rust under the edge of paint, to an iron phosphate type stuff that is grayish-blackish & is protective.  Do not sand it off, do not rub it, only wash the acid product off.  Let dry, repaint your rusted area you just fixed.


9.  Availability of paints from your BMW dealership varies considerably!   Some dealerships will, especially on their on-line fiche, show something as not available, or not shippable.  It may well be that the item is still available, so contact other dealerships & try out-of-State ones in particular.  This problem has been especially seen in California with its Rules & Regulations about VOC's in paint.   As one example, the touch-up 'stick' which is really a small round container with a brush attached to the cap & a shaker-ball (?) inside, for the up-to 1980 black frames, is 51 91 0 302 284, & was still available last time I checked a few years ago, yet many dealerships either had it as "Ended" or NLA, or "not shippable".

10. Smoke colors are not what you may think.  Many examples.  78 red smoke uses dark blue (not black) for the smoke, and over time might fade to purplish; the silver smoke paint is actually dark green for the smoke.  If you want  to try to be sure of 100% authenticity, contact someone like Holt's.

11.  Cast alloy wheels are painted.  An excellent match for that paint is Würth's Silver Wheel Paint.

12.  When painting, whether it is from a rattle-can ....or with professional equipment, ....preparation of the surface is extremely important!  I suggest you spend the money and use high quality paints.   The area should be dust free. Absolutely no contaminants should be left on/in  the surfaces ...this is especially important if there are any silicones from such as waxes/polishes having been used in the past. If the surface is not perfect, the final appearance will be much worse than you wanted!

13.  Regarding instrument pointers and dial colors, which have varied depending on year, model, etc.   I have an article that includes some of these changes.  Since they often vary with the rear drive ratios, I have put them here:

14.  DUNKEL means dark colored.

This is a rather short list for paint work.   Inquire on the appropriate Internet Mailing List or Forum.   Be sure to ask detailed questions.

Complete paint jobs:  Holt's, in Ohio.   740-593-6690 (they also do fuel tank repairing)

Paint:   Excellent paints; can match any color.  Color-Rite.  Their chief Tech is Doug Hodgins, in the business for >40 years.  Small to large containers available; as well as aerosol cans; and a 'trick' touch-up pen.  In the USA:  in Whittier, CA   (562) 947-9796.  In Canada (418) 876-3867, if you are not French speaking, ask for Reggie.   in U.K.     0044 (0) 1707 273219 Will, I think, ship worldwide.

Powder coating:
(1) Fusion Coatings, Livermore, California.
(2) Greber Machine Tool & Custom Powder Coating; 313 Clark St.  Elyria, Ohio   44035 440-323-8588.   This company does it REALLY right, even cooking the parts first; then coating, then fusing at temperature. HIGHLY recommended.

BMW pin stripes are 3.8 mm wide on the fuel tank; otherwise 2 mm wide.   Spacing is 3 mm. 


 Pinstriping number
Weiss 101
Gold 104
Blau 105
Feurrot 107
Minzgrün 108
Dunklebraun 110
Oliv 111
Orange 112
Red (Motorsport Red) 113
Hellblau (Motorsport Light Blue) 114
Dark Blue (Motorsport) 115
Grün 116
Silber (Silver) 124
Mittelrot 125
113, 114, 115, used with "MotorSport",3308.html For a wide selection of colors, etc.  Company is located in the USA, in Ohio.

Miscellaneous codes, colors, containers, etc:

Snowflake wheel SILVER
51-91-1-240-868 in spray cans.
51-91-240-867 in 1/4 liters. 
Cast alloy wheels are painted.  An excellent match for that paint is Würth's Silver Wheel Paint.
086 (and see in below chart too!, where was used/called AVUS black on the bike tank, etc.)


BMW frames before 1981.  To touch-up the Avus black on a frame, see #51-91-0-302-284, a touch up 'stick'.  See my note on availability of paints in general from your BMW dealership, item #9, considerably above.  086 was also used for painting the other parts of some motorcycles, such as 1970-1976 (possibly other years)
121 Schwartzmatt.  Semi-matte black BMW frames from 1981; spray cans 51-91-1-453-483
FLAT BLACK (matt schwarz) used on Airheads, K-bikes, BMW CARS, and even on late BMW motorcycles like the S1000RR, etc.    Used on some frames, insides of fairings, etc. Spray can was 51-91-1-900-346
BMW black luggage Good results have been seen for that black by using common truck bed liner paint, from rattle-cans!
Classic R and K bike valve covers are black from the factory. There are other areas of the bikes that have a similar black color. Rustoleum Barbecue Black, Satin, High Temperature.  Seems to match well enough.

Regarding the so-called Belgian Police R100RS bikes:

None of the "Belgian Police" R100RS bikes* had Red Smoke Paint. They had Red Metallic tanks and seat cowl, as well as the upper fairing with semi-matte back on the lowers, sidecovers and rear fender. The Red was the same as the 1977 R100S.

Some of those bikes had black lowers, others had all red fairings with black sidecovers. That whole run of bikes was a PITA for Butler & Smith. I think I got sent to the warehouse about 50 times to look at different bikes to make sure WHAT paint each had, because the dealers were selling the bikes, based on a vague description, then they would call AFTERWARD to see if that was what they were getting. One of the Sales Reps made up the BS story about the bikes being destined for the Belgian Police.

 *(they were never built for the Belgian Police, that is just a BS story that has persisted for so long that it is widely accepted)


Tom Cutter
Yardley, PA

Above is verbatim from Tom's posting to the Airheads List on 01/29/2017. 


Below are the actual paint codes for various models & years.  These numbers are not in complete numerical order, scan down fully!

Every model that used a particular Paint Code might not be listed under the Models column.

For a more complete list of Paint Codes and Paint Schemes, see Phil Hawksley's website.  There may well be errors on that website ....and, may not be USA codings.  Phil's website has a page on pinstripe colors, listed by their code. for the main site.
Note carefully the address spelling!   Do NOT use

1983 and 1984 bikes sold in California have some anomalies on paint, and year sold (late 1983 builds are almost always registered/titled in California as 1983 models).  Tags on Driveshaft housing and frame stampings may disagree with each other by 'D' and 'E'.  California R100S bikes may be marked as R100CS.

Paint Code

Color Description



023 / 523 Granada Red 1973 - 1974 R50/5 - R90/6
051 / 052 Phoenix Gold Matt Flat Lowers; used with $113 and 104 1979 R100RT, R100T
057 Polaris Silver (Early Metallic Silver) 1970 - 1971 R50/5 - R75/5
060 Imola Polaris Silver.  Metallic.  1972 - 1974 R50/5 - R90/6
This color was never used on R100/7 shipped to the U.S.
074 Green Metallic 1973 - 1974 R50/5 - R90/6
084 / 584 White, Federweiss.  Also in Europe, called Creme White when JUST code 084 1970 - 1976 R50/5 - R90/6.  Supposedly also on Motorsport R100RS. In Europe, Creme White was on the R50/5.
086 Black (Avus), used with #101.

Avus Black was always 086, but has been used with 519/086/640/590/608, since year 1955.

1970 - 1976 R50/5 - R90/6; R80/7; with R100/7 add #125 Mittelrot pinstriping.
119  Anthrazit    
120 Dull black 1977-1978 R100/7 special
R100S, R100RS
130 Dk. Blue Met/Iceberg blue = Dunkelblau.  Used with #101 1979 - 1980 /7; R100T - R100RS
131 Silver, Hellsilber; with #101 & #112 1979 R100RS




Weise Motorsport.  Consists of white panels using #083 white; center fairing panel red #133; tricolor pinstriping was using colors 113, 114, 115.  SEE 999, well below in this chart. 1978 R100RS MOTORSPORT
510 Daytona Orange, used with #107 1975 - 1976 R90S
511 Havana Gold.   Not gold, but almost a feces-colored brown.  Was never used on R100/7 shipped to the U.S.  Havana Gold was used with gold pin-striping scheme, color 104 1976 - 1978 (only a few 1976 R90/6) R90/6 - R100/7, R75/7, and 1978 R80/7.   Supposedly available on R100S.
526 Bol D'or Red(rot). 1975 - 1976 R60/6 - R90/6.
529  (also has been called 029) Curry--metallic, this is NOT the 002 color that was also used on some early cars. AKA Metallic Gold. 1972 - 1974 R50/5 - R90/6
530 Silver Metallic, with a clear coating-used with #105 1977 - 1978 R100RS
531 Red Metallic 1977 - 1978; maybe to 1980 R100/7 SPECIAL; R100S
532 Black Metallic.  Used with #104 1977 - 1978 R60/7 - R100/7
084 / 533 Blue Metallic.  May have been used with #101, not 084, ....unclear? 1977 - 1978 R100/7 - R60/7
534 Burnt Orange Metallic. /6, /7 may have used it with #101 1977 - 1978 R100/7 - R60/7
538 Monza Blue metallic 1972 - 1976 R50/5 - R90/6
546 Gold Metallic, used with #110.    There was also a M. Gold 046/546; and perhaps a 031/531 M. silver 1978 and possibly later R100RS
548  Silver Beige RT Lower/RS, used with #107 1980 R65 ?; R100RS  RT?
551 Red 1979 - 1980 R65
552 Phoenix Gold Upper    
553 Red Smoke (dunklerot), metallic, used with #104 1978 - 1980 R100S; R100RS; R100RT
556 Red/Silver 1979 R100T
561 Silver Smoke (TT-Silberrasch??).   It was reported that the early R90S had its gold striping being a TAPE, and it was applied AFTER the clear coat 1974 - 1976 R90S, R100S
577 Nuerburg Green 1975 - 1976 R60/6 - R90/6
583 Motorsport (White) 1978 R100RS Sport
589 / 088 Bronco, may be used as 589/116 1979 - 1980 R65, R100T other /7+
509 Red Smoke 1981 - 1982 R100RT
520 Green Smoke metallic. Dark green metallic #164; Amazonas grün, used with #104.  Unclear, one source says Schwarz black 168 is used with a matt black 121. 1981 R100RT
507 Silver Graphite; known as Polaris graphite metallic with #163 1981 - 1982 - 1983 R100RS
508 Red Smoke.  As 508/509, with 553, was Lavarot.  Metallic, R100RS. 1981 - 1982 R10ORS; for R100RT add #104.
506 Classic Black, metallic, used with #162 and 104 on R100S 1981 R100CS
505 Silver, known as Stratos silver, used with 161 and 126, on R100/7 1981 - 1982 R100
504 Blue; called Atlantic Blue Metallic used with #124 and 125 on R100/7 1981 R100
519 Black; possibly used with 101, 125 1981 - 1982 - 1983 R100;  R100/7
519 Black 1981 - 1982 - 1983 R65
518 Red 1981 - 1983 R65
501 Blue 1981 - 1982 R65 and R45
158/501/619 ??
503 Turquoise 1981 R65
146 Alpine White 1981 R80GS
562 Henna Red 1982 - 1983 R65LS
563 Polaris Metallic 1982 - 1983 R65LS
519 Black 1982 R100RT
558 Pacific Blue Metallic 1982 - 1983 R80GS
559 Polaris 1983 R100
542 Alaska Blue; probably uses paint code 136 1983 R100RS
573 Spheric Silver 1983 R100RT
572 Magenta Red 1983 R100RT
137 Metallic mother of pearl white subcodes 571/621/634/650 various, and some K
571 Pearl White Last Edition bikes Last Edition bikes
999 Pearl White.   Some literature suggests 999 was a Motorsport color, white with blue/red, used on 1978+ R100RS
1983 R100RT

544 Pacific Blue. A near perfect match for this color may be Lamborghini Midnight Blue, F0930F.  For the original BMW color scheme, the base was a dark blue #130, dunkleblau, & a silver pinstripe was used, mittelsilber. 1983 and 1984 R80RT
577 Nüburg green    
133 Rennsport red (Rennsportrot)   R100RS
566 Red Metallic.  566 color is  same as 531 red, used with the 104 gold stripe, in a slightly different stripe pattern 1983 - 1984 R80RT
545 Spheric Silver 1983 R80ST
031 Red metallic, used with #104, but on R100/7, used with #111   /7
097/797 Minzgrün   /5, /6
048 Brown metallic, used with 051   R100RT, R100T
597, 601, 602, 603 All are called Minzgrün.  With #603 was called Minzgrün-Hell, used with 094 and 101. See above 097/797 Minzgrün.   /7 series
583/584 Police White 583/584/607/083/581 Police motors.  Not the only Police White; see 083  below.  Also 581/583
541 Red Metallic 1983 R80ST


535 Nigeria   /6+
595 Gray, Bristol   /6+
083 Police white; used with 101, 108, 097, & likely used with 601 and/or 602 numbers too. Some 083 was used just with 102, & some #108    
580 RAL6012 black   /6, /7
070 Golf    
581/583 Police White  1983-1984  R100 series. Last Editions.  TWO black stripes on front fenders.
054 Ocean Blue, used with 113, 114, 115   R100S, R100RS
067/567 Police green    067 was used on the /5 bikes, etc.
162 Classic Black    
228 Onyx Black    


644 Bermuda Blue.  Base was bermudablau
225 & a silver pinstripe used.
1988 - 1989 R100RT
527 not confirmed, may be Euro number 323 Mystic Red Metallic unconfirmed, may be scheme 323/527/;
1995 USA, & may be other years R100RT USA.

R65 Mono (20kw), R80 Mono, R80RT Mono, R80GS, R80R Mystic, R100RT Mono, R100LT Mono, R100GS, R100R Mystic, R850R, R1100R, K75, K75RT, K75S, K1100LT, K1100RS

656 Classic Black Metallic 1994 USA-sold, and maybe others  R100R, possibly others

Below are paint codes that are sometimes on USA-shipped
motorcycles but tended to be more used in UK/Europe:

146 Alpine White 629/628/
Some R80, R100GS, K1200, R1150GS
265 Aluminum White 265 K1100LT, R1150GS Adventure
571 Perlmutt, also called Pearl White 621/634/
668 Black 2 668 R850 and later; some F650, some oilheads
Special code 9005 Deep Black   F650GS
710 Official name?
Appearance:  two colors of grays.  In German:   Arktis-grau; Graphit.
(1) Graphite Gray Pearl 342

(2) Arctic Gray Metallic 269

The pinstriping is Silver 124

1995 R100RT, and possibly others, in both USA and UK.

I will probably never finish this article; I continue to work on it from time to time.

Of all the technical pages on this website, this page is the one most likely to have errors on it.  Please report such in detail to me.  I can be reached at this E-mail address: CLICK!

11-12-2001:  Clarify heading description.
04-22-2003:  Add .htm title.
06-14-2003:  NOTE 1 and NOTE 2.
12-10-2003:  Add NOTE 3 on Phil Hawksley's website near top of page; add NOTE 4.
05-03-2004:  Add big red information and thusly clarify paint code information.
05/16/2004:  Clarify NOTE 1.
08/16/2004:  Cdd note 5, plus minor clarifications in discussing paint codes in general.
12/08/2004:  Correct a change URL for Hawksley's site, modify our title, add some notes for 566 and 544.
02/15/2005:  Update Havana Gold and M. silver; RS for 1978.
02/26/2005:  Clarify information at top of page, add copyright and homepage URL.
06/19/2005:  Minor clarifications and add a hyperlink.
12/15/2005:  Add 585 information.
09/23/2006:  Clarifications on wheels and frame.
10/31/2006:  Clarification on some colors and years.
11/02/2006:  Clarify pinstriping on some models.
11/11/2006:  Add Note 12 and add RS and RT to existing R100S on PC 553.
11/18/2006:  Extensive revisions and clarifications.  Most of the Ruling codes now shown; they, & sub-colors incorporated when known.
02/19/2007:  Luggage information (Note #13).
01/08/2008:  Fix bad hyperlinks.
09/04/2008:  Change snowbum's e-mail address.
10/23/2008:  Add note on German Turquoise, for code 528.
10/16/2009:  Clean up the page, and also clarify initial information on paint codes.
01/24/2010:  Add note in 561.
01/27/2010:  Add Note #1.
02/27/2011:  Add table for European colors and start inserting information.
06/28/2011:  Remove bad hyperlink from Note 3.
08/08/2011:  Slight revision in wording in several places but no change in data.
08/29/2011:  Minor update for K bike valve cover paint.
02/11/2012:  Updating SOME R80RT and R100RT; add another table with cells.
06/14/2012:  Add Additional Information section.
08/26/2012:  Revise entire article; mostly to clean up by using more tables; but also to condense and re-arrange and make article easier to use.
10/28/2012:  Edit phosphoric acid treatment area.
01/21/2013:  Add Note 9; minor changes here and there for clarity.
06/03/2015:  Add 656.
03/11/2016:  Metacodes, layout, table size/formats/some colors.
10/01/2016:  Repeat of 03/11/2016, plus clean up some HTML coding.
07/07/2017:  Edit certain colors to better show years and anomalies.
03/22/2018:  Overhaul article.  Eliminate background colors, font colors & sizes, excessive html.  Improve layout.  Add tables where needed for clarity & fix tables for more standardized appearance.  Improve explanations.  Some renumbering of items & add new number 13 regarding instrument dial & pointer colors URL.  A very few updates on confused items.
03/26/2018:  Add a bit more comment to the existing Rustoleum BBQ Black Satin HiTemp.
06/25/2020:  Add more information for scheme 710.  
Various small updates through 11/20/2020

© copyright 2021, R. Fleischer

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Last check/edit: Friday, August 18, 2023