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BMW Motorcycles

About BMW

BMW's motorcycle history began in 1921 when the company commenced manufacturing engines for other companies. Motorcycle manufacturing now operates under the BMW Motorrad brand. BMW (Bayerische Motoren Werke AG) introduced the first motorcycle under its name, the R32, in 1923.

BMW merged with Bayerische Flugzeugwerke in 1922, inheriting from them the Helios motorcycle and a small two-stroke motorized bicycle called the Flink. In 1923, BMW's first "across the frame" version of the boxer engine was designed by Friz. The R32 had a 486 cc (29.7 cubic inches) engine with 8.5 hp (6.3 kW) and a top speed of 95 to 100 km/h (59 to 62 mph). The engine and gearbox formed a bolt-up single unit. At a time when many motorcycle manufacturers used total-loss oiling systems, the new BMW engine featured a recirculating wet sump oiling system with a drip feed to roller bearings. This system was used by BMW until 1969, when they adopted the "high-pressure oil" system based on shell bearings and tight clearances, still in use today.

The R32 became the foundation for all future boxer-powered BMW motorcycles. BMW oriented the boxer engine with the cylinder heads projecting out on each side for cooling as did the earlier British ABC. Other motorcycle manufacturers, including Douglas and Harley-Davidson, aligned the cylinders with the frame, one cylinder facing towards the front wheel and the other towards the back wheel. The R32 also incorporated shaft drive. BMW has continued to use shaft drive on its motorcycles and did not produce a chain driven model until the introduction of the F650 in 1994.

In 1931, BMW introduced the single-cylinder shaft-driven R2, which, as a 200 cc motorcycle, could be operated in Germany without a motorcycle licence at that time. The R2 headed a series of single-cylinder BMW motorcycles, including the 400 cc R4 in 1932 and the 300 cc R3 in 1936.

The BMW R12 and R17, both introduced in 1935, were the first production motorcycles with hydraulically damped telescopic forks.

In 1937, Ernst Henne rode a supercharged 500 cc (31 cubic inches) overhead camshaft BMW 173.88 mph (279.83 km/h), setting a world record that stood for 14 years.

Construction was so good that during World War II Harley-Davidson copied the BMW engine and transmission—simply converting metric measurements to inches—and produced the shaft-drive 750 cc (46 cubic inches) 1942 Harley-Davidson XA.

The terms of Germany's surrender forbade BMW from manufacturing motorcycles. In 1946, when BMW received permission to restart motorcycle production from US authorities in Bavaria, BMW had to start from scratch.

In 1955, BMW began introducing a new range of motorcycles with Earles forks and enclosed drive shafts. These were the 26 hp (19 kW) 500 cc R50, the 30 hp (22 kW) 600 cc R60, and the 35 hp (26 kW) sporting 600 cc R69.

On June 8, 1959, John Penton rode a BMW R69 from New York to Los Angeles in 53 hours and 11 minutes, slashing over 24 hours from the previous record of 77 hours and 53 minutes set by Earl Robinson on a 45 cubic inch (740 cc) Harley-Davidson.

For the 1968 and 1969 model years only, BMW exported into the United States three "US" models. These were the R50US, the R60US, and the R69US. On these motorcycles, there were no sidecar lugs attached to the frame and the front forks were telescopic forks, which were later used worldwide on the slash-5 series of 1970 through 1973. Earles-fork models were sold simultaneously in the United States as buyers had their choice of front suspensions.

In 1970, BMW introduced an entirely revamped product line of 500 cc, 600 cc and 750 cc displacement models, the R50/5, R60/5 and R75/5 respectively and came with the "US" telescopic forks noted above. The engines were a complete redesign. The roller and ball-bearings in the bottom end had been replaced by shell-type journal bearings similar to those used in modern car engines. The camshaft, which had been at the top of the engine, was placed under the crankshaft, giving better ground clearance under the cylinders while retaining the low centre of gravity of the flat-twin layout. The new engine had an electric starter, although the traditional gearbox-mounted kick starter was retained. The styling of the first models included chrome-plated side panels and a restyled tank. The /5 series was given a longer rear swingarm, resulting in a longer wheelbase. This improved the handling and allowed a larger battery to be installed.

The /5 models were short-lived, however, being replaced by another new product line in 1974. In that year the 500 cc model was deleted from the lineup and an even bigger 900 cc model was introduced, along with improvements to the electrical system and frame geometry. These models were the R60/6, R75/6 and the R90/6. In 1973 a supersport model, the BMW R90S, was introduced. In 1975, the kick starter was finally eliminated.

In 1995, BMW ceased production of airhead 2-valve engines and moved its boxer-engined line completely over to the 4-valve oilhead system first introduced in 1993.

Moto blog

Michael Dunlop to Race for BMW at 2014 Isle of Man TT

Wed, 12 Feb 2014

BMW Motorrad UK has signed seven-time winner Michael Dunlop to race in the 2014 Isle of Man TT and other international road races. Dunlop will be the first factory-backed BMW rider in 50 years, and will try to be the first rider to win a TT race on a BMW since Georg Meier won in 1939 on a RS 255 Kompressor. Dunlop, nephew of the great Joey Dunlop, was the star of the 2013 Isle of Man TT, winning four races and finishing second in the Senior TT on Honda machines.

BMW Maintains Sales Momentum into 2014

Tue, 11 Feb 2014

After three straight years of record motorcycle sales, you’d think things would eventually start slowing down for BMW. Instead, the German manufacturer continues to roll on the throttle with an impressive start to 2014. BMW announced sales of 5,438 motorcycles and scooters in January, up from the 4,818 motorcycles sold in the same month in 2013.

Nitron Introduces Adventure Series Shocks

Tue, 11 Feb 2014

The latest suspension manufacturer to hit the block, Nitron is hitting the ground running. Its latest offering, the Adventure series of shocks, leaves no question as to its intended pursuit. Crafted from aluminum alloy with stainless steel fittings, Nitron Adventure Series of shocks are lighter weight than standard ones, and are built to withstand the harsh environments adventure riders are known to travel.

EBR Announces More Than 60 Founding Dealers

Tue, 04 Feb 2014

Erik Buell Racing (EBR) today announced its founding dealerships across the United States. The recruitment process began shortly after the American International Motorcycle Expo in Orlando, Florida, where the company took the wraps off the 1190RX production superbike. More than 60 dealers will be the first to carry the 1190RX.

2013 US Motorcycle Sales Data

Tue, 04 Feb 2014

The Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) reported a modest 1.4% growth in U.S. motorcycle and scooter sales in 2013, with consumers purchasing 465,783 vehicles. The sales data represents numbers from the MIC’s member brands which include BMW, Can-Am, Ducati, Harley-Davidson, Honda, Kawasaki, KTM, the Piaggio Group (which includes Aprilia, Moto Guzzi and Vespa), Victory, Suzuki, Triumph and Yamaha.

2014 WSBK Provisional Entry List – 27 Riders and 9 Manufacturers

Thu, 30 Jan 2014

The International Motorcycling Federation (FIM) released a provisional entry list for the 2014 World Superbike Championship. The provisional list includes 27 riders riding motorcycles from nine different manufacturers. Of these riders, 12 are riding in the new EVO sub-category which limits engine upgrades and electronics to Superstock class rules.

2014 Urals Get Upgraded & Go On Tour

Wed, 29 Jan 2014

For 2014 Ural has equipped its line-up of two-wheelers and sidecars with some very modern componentry. Ural models now enjoy the benefits of electronic fuel injection (EFI), disc brakes (on all three wheels) and an hydraulic steering damper. Ural claims the motorcycles have received “dozens of other upgrades,” but did not provide details as to nature of those upgrades.

2014 BMW US Prices Released – R nineT Only $800 More Expensive than R1200R

Tue, 28 Jan 2014

If you’ve been considering a new BMW motorcycle this year, then you must be eagerly awaiting the German manufacturer to release its 2014 prices. Now that your Christmas bills are paid off (at least, you would hope), you can start budgeting for your new Beemer, now that BMW Motorrad USA has released pricing information for the five newest models to its lineup, the R nineT, S1000R, R1200GS Adventure, K1600GTL Exclusive and R1200RT. Perhaps the most welcome news is the R nineT’s pricing at $14,900, making it just $800 more expensive than the R1200R‘s $14,100 price tag.

Don’t Run From This Cop – Video

Tue, 28 Jan 2014

Quinn Redeker is one talented motorcycle rider. In this impressive video, watch as he wins a motorcycle skills competition aboard his motorcycle. And oh yeah, Redeker is a motorcycle cop.

BMW S1000RR Takes On Ultimate Supercars – Video

Mon, 27 Jan 2014

Yes this is another car vs. motorcycle drag race. For this particular matchup we have the BMW S1000RR taking on the Lamborghini Aventador and Bugatti Veyron Vitesse.