The BMW Motorrad History

BMW, or also known as Bayerische Motoren Werke was founded in 1910, but more importantly released their first motorcycle in 1923 which was the BMW R32 (pictured below). This motorcycle was quite special for its time with a shaft drive system and extremely iconic flat twin boxer engine set up which BMW is so famous for. The boxer engine has been so critical to BMW over the years that they still use the same engine configuration in the brand new models of today due to the impressive rideability from the low down grunt, but also smooth and predictable characteristics.

BMW motorcycle department which is now more commonly known as BMW motorrad, went on to release the BMW R37 shortly after in 1925. This was based on the R32 but instead of using the side valve engine it sported a new and more powerful overhead valve motor.

The same year (1925) Saw the first single cylinder BMW motorcycle to be released, which was called the R39. This was a 250cc motorcycle but it never took off and was brought out of production in 1927.

Fast forward a few years to 1939, This was a very important time for BMW as Germany was going to war so they needed good reliable vehicles. The BMW R75 was the motorcycle of choice and proved to be extremely popular. The shaft drive was great for harsh off road conditions to be sealed away from the dirt and water, and the flat twin motor was very good in hot weathers as it cooled better than other engine designs.

In the more modern era of BMW Motorcycles such as the R100 gave BMW the reputation for comfortable, reliable touring bikes. BMW are known today for the ever so popular GS range which really took off back in 2004 when Charlie Boorman and Ewan Mcgregor took off round the world on the R1150GSA. The 1250GS is the most sold motorcycle over 125cc today in the UK and the tv series has definitely paid a big part in that from all those years ago.

BMW were the first to put ABS on their motorcycles with the K100 in 1988. This really was groundbreaking as it took another 4 years for the Japanese to catch up with the Honda ST1100 and Yamaha FJ1200.

BMW have used and still use today some very weird and wonderful suspension designs such as the duo lever which is found on the K1600 and K1300 models and the tele lever which is found on the R range such as the R1250GS and R1250RS.


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