BMW Motorcycles

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BMW Motorcycles

Post by ganahsokmo on Thu Jul 08, 2010 2:23 pm

BMW Motorcycle History

The legendary German marque that is so well known for its
automobiles actually has its roots in motorcycles. BMW’s first
motorcycle, the R32, debuted in 1923, and its Flat-Twin engine layout is
still used in its current lineup. The BMW name is known for premium
motorcycles that can go long distances, although its current offerings
are also geared toward younger and faster riders.

  • 1913

    Bayerische Motoren Werke is incorporated. The company produces
    aircraft engines.

  • 1918

    The Prussian army orders 2,000 BMW model IIIa aircraft engines

  • 1919

    A plane powered by an updated model IV engine sets an altitude
    record at over 32,000 feet.

    Just a few weeks later, the Treaty of Versailles is signed and
    Germany is forbidden to manufacture airplanes. BMW turns its focus to

  • 1920

    The 2-stroke 148cc Kurier motor is developed.

  • 1921

    The M2 B15 is developed. It’s BMW’s first flat-Twin – aka ‘Boxer’ –
    motorcycle. The motor is based on an earlier aircraft design.

  • 1922

    The first light-alloy cylinder head is developed.

  • 1923

    Legendary BMW designer Max Friz sequesters himself in his house and
    draws the plans for an all-new motorcycle. The 486cc R 32 is shown at
    the Paris “Salon.” It is a big improvement over the M2 B15 and reaches a
    top speed of about 60 mph.

  • 1925

    A racing version of the R 32 – the R 37 – is introduced. Also, the R
    39 debuts and front brakes are added to the R 32.

  • 1927

    BMW develops the R 47, which would go on to replace the R 32, R 37
    and R 39.

  • 1928

    BMW releases its biggest motorcycle to date – the 750cc R 62, with a
    top speed of 71 mph.

  • 1929

    Paul Köppen wins the 500cc class at the famed Targa Florio road race
    in Sicily. BMW will win the next two years’ races, as well.

    Ernst Henne uses a supercharged, 750cc “kompressor” (supercharged) on
    a closed stretch of Autobahn to set a new land-speed record of over 134

  • 1930

    An economic downturn in Germany leads BMW to produce a smaller bike,
    the 198cc R 2. This commuter bike was the first to use a one-piece
    ‘tunnel’ crankcase. Smaller motorcycles (under 200cc) did not require
    licenses in Germany, and the R 2 went on to sell more than 15,000 units.

  • 1932

    The R 4, with a 398cc single-cylinder overhead-valve engine, is

  • 1933

    The German army commissions BMW to produce R 4s, helping the company
    to stay in business despite the Great Depression.

  • 1935

    The 745cc R 12 is introduced. It is the first production model with
    hydraulically dampened front forks.

  • 1936

    The R 5 is introduced, which is BMW’s first bike with rear-plunger
    suspension. Also, the 500cc R 7 is released, which can reach 87 mph.

    Otto Ley wins the Swedish 500cc Grand Prix on another “kompressor.”
    The supercharged BMWs will be the dominant force in Grand Prix racing
    until WWII. (After the war, the FIM bans forced-induction motors. Some
    people interpret the rule as punishing the Axis, since the most
    successful supercharged racing motorcycles were German and Italian. The
    single-cylinder bikes favored by British manufacturers were
    conventionally aspirated.)

  • 1937

    A Bavarian motorcycle cop and off-road racer, Georg Meier, tries a
    BMW road racer and pulls off after a few laps, saying he’s afraid to go

  • 1938

    Beginning with the R 61, BMW has introduced rear suspension on all
    production models. Six new models are introduced this year, including
    the R 23, R 51, R 66 and R 71. The R 71 is the last BMW bike to feature a
    side-valve engine.

  • 1939

    Georg Meier wins the Isle of Man Senior TT on a BMW.

    With the start of World War II, BMW turns its attention back to
    airplane production.

  • 1941

    BMW introduces the R 75, which was designed for war use. Weighing a
    whopping 925 pounds, the R 75 featured 750 cc engine, large gas tank,
    two seats and a sidecar. It could also be fitted with a machine gun.
    The U.S. Army is impressed with the R 75 and similar Zundapp models.
    Captured German bikes are sent back for Harley-Davidson and Indian to
    copy. Up to 1,000 prototypes are built, but those motorcycles never see

  • 1946

    With the war over, BMW is forbidden to manufacturer motorcycles and
    turns its attention to making bicycles. To add insult to injury, German
    patents are taken in war reparation, and the French company CMR (later
    known as Ratier) begins making a BMW clone.

  • 1948

    BMW begins motorcycle manufacturing again with the R 24. The
    company’s first post-war bike, the R 24 is powered by a 250cc engine,
    the maximum allowed at the time.

  • 1949

    BMW introduces the R 50/2 and R 51/2. Both are seen as inferior as
    the main rear bearing had been moved into the crankcase and needed to be
    replaced every 10,000 miles.

  • 1950

    The R 25 with plunging rear suspension is introduced.

  • 1952

    BMW produces the 600cc R 67, outfitted with a sidecar.

  • 1953

    BMW begins production of the RS Series, which features a swinging
    arm rear suspension and Earles forks. Also, the R 25 is redesigned and
    released as the R 25/3.
    The RS54 Rennsport production racer is unveiled.

  • 1954

    The team of Wilhelm Noll and Fritz Kron win the sidecar World
    Championship. Their victory marks the start of an incredible run; BMWs
    will win 19 of the next 21 world titles!

  • 1955

    The R 50, which also features a rear swingarm and leading-link front
    fork, replaces the R 51/3.

  • 1956

    Walter Zeller finished second in the 500cc World Championship,
    behind John Surtees; it is BMW’s best “solo” result in the modern era.

  • 1957

    Motorcycle production falls from 23,531 in 1955 to just 5,429 in
    1959 due to an economic decline.

  • 1960

    The classic R 69 S is introduced. It is the fastest Boxer available
    at the time, reaching a top speed of 109 mph. Also, the R 27 is
    released, which features a rubber-mounted engine to cut down on

  • 1967

    Special United States export versions of the R 60 and R 69 are
    built, but no new models are released from 1961 through 1968.

  • 1969

    The /5 Series is launched and features electric starters. The R
    50/5, R 60/5 and R 75/5 are all released with telescoping front forks.

  • 1973

    BMW celebrates its 50th anniversary and the 500,000th BMW motorcycle
    rolls off the line. The R 90 S is released, featuring a 900cc engine.
    The /6 Series is also introduced, with 600, 700 and 900cc variations.

  • 1974

    For the first time, BMW offers five-speed gearboxes on production

  • 1976

    BMW introduces the /7 1000cc R 100/7. The R 100 RS is also released,
    featuring the same 1000cc engine and a top speed of 125 mph. It is the
    first production bike to feature a full fairing.
    Helmut Dähne wins the Isle of Man Production (1000cc) TT.

    Reg Pridmore becomes the first-ever winner of the AMA “Production
    Superbike” championship, on an Udo Geitl-tuned R90S entered by Butler
    & Smith, the U.S. BMW importer.

  • 1977

    The R80/7 is introduced and becomes a favorite of police forces.

  • 1978

    The luxury-touring R100RT is introduced and features a full-touring
    fairing. The 473cc R 45 is also introduced.

  • 1980

    The 800cc R80G/S is introduced, which features a single-sided
    swingarm. The initials stand for Gelände/Strasse, which is “offroad and
    street” in German.

  • 1981

    Hubert Auriol wins the third edition of the Paris-Dakar race on an
    R80G/S prepared by HPN, a German specialist tuner that is still in the
    business of equipping BMWs for rough country.

  • 1982

    BMW introduces a road version of the R80G/S – the R80RT.

  • 1983

    The K100 is introduced – the first of the water-cooled K series. It
    is the first production bike with electronic ignition and fuel injection
    and has a top speed of 132 mph. A racing version called the K100RS is
    also introduced.

  • 1985

    BMW designs its first three-cylinder motorcycle – the K75. This bike
    shares much in common with the K100 but consumes less fuel and is has
    more nimble handling.

  • 1986

    BMW re-launches the R100RS with Monolever rear suspension and a 60
    hp engine.

  • 1987

    The R100RT is re-launched with Monolever rear suspension and a
    smaller engine. BMW also debuts its double-jointed single-sided swingarm
    Paralever system this year. The 1000cc K100LT luxury cruiser is also

  • 1988

    The R100G/S goes into production and is known as the ‘largest dirt
    bike in the world’ thanks to its 463-pound weight.

  • 1989

    The K1 goes into production. At the time, BMW was obeying a
    voluntary 100-hp limit on engine power. In order to maximize performance
    without exceeding that limit, the designers create a striking,
    all-encompassing aerodynamic body that allows the 600+ pound machine to
    reach 140+ mph. It features the first ever digital engine electronics
    system on a production bike. It’s far too strange for BMW’s (then)
    conservative riders, and as a result it will be was discontinued after a
    few years of underwhelming sales.

  • 1990

    A four-valve version of the K100RS is introduced. ABS is now
    standard on all K series bikes.

  • 1991

    The 1,000,000th BMW motorcycle is produced – a three-cylinder K75RT.
    BMW begins outfitting its motorcycles with three-way catalytic
    converters. BMW also re-releases its R100R.

  • 1993

    The R1100RS sports tourer is introduced. The bike is powered by a
    fuel-injected, eight valve, twin-cylinder engine.

  • 1994

    BMW’s first single is released in 30 years, the F650 Funduro, plus
    the first four-valve GS, the R1100GS.

  • 1995

    This is the last year that the two-valve traditional Boxer is

  • 1996

    The powerful four-cylinder, liquid-cooled K1200RS is introduced.

  • 1997

    BMW introduces its first chopper/cruiser – the R1200C. It’s the
    choice of James Bond, but that’s not enough to make it very popular. It
    will be discontinued a few years later.

  • 1999

    Richard Sainct wins the Paris-Dakar on a race-tuned 650cc
    single-cylinder “Funduro.” Officially, the bike’s designated the F650RR.
    The only stock part on the entire machine is the taillight!

  • 2000

    BMW releases its R1150GS, as well as a new luxury-tourer, the

  • 2004

    An all-new, lighter and more powerful Boxer Twin motor equips the
    The K1200S is a radical new machine for the venerable manufacturer.
    It features an across-the-frame four-cylinder motor making a claimed 167
    horsepower. It is the first time in years that BMW has shown a
    willingness to compete head-to-head in the marketplace with the world’s
    biggest motorcycle companies.

  • 2007

    The company leaks news of the S1000RR, a four-cylinder literbike
    that it plans to race in the 2009 World Superbike Championship.


Join date : 16/01/2010
Age : 37

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