100 Years of BMW

  • Published on
    27-Apr-2015

  • View
    551

  • Download
    1

Transcript

What would eventually become the Bayerische Motoren Werke (BMW) began as two separate companies. Gustav Ottos Flugzenmaschinenfabrik (Air Plane Factory) in Munich merged with Karl Rapps Flugwerke Deutschland on March 7th, 1916 to become the Bayerische Flugzeugwerke (Bavarian Airplane Works). Initially specializing it the design and manufacture of airplane engines, the company would manufacture for Germanys edgling air force, including the Baron Von Richten, better known as the Red Baron.

1 0

1917On July 21st, 1917, under the leadership of Karl Rapp and Max Friz the Bayerische Flugzeugwerke renames itself Bayerische Motoren Werke (Bavarian Motor Works). Their logo, representing an airplane propeller in the blue sky, would remain throughout the companys history. At 3,400 employees, BMW recruited Franz Joseph Popp from Daimler to become its managing director. The companys primary output; the v12 airplane engine.

1918BMW, in the midst of an economic boom funded by the German air force, takes its 3500 employees and goes public. Primarily focused on manufacturing for the Fokker DVII arguably one of the best aircraft of the time the future appears to be all blue skies for Rapp, Friz, Popp and company.

1919With the Treaty of Versailles (signed June 28th) ending WWI, Germany is now forbidden to manufacture airplanes. Max Friz, the head designer for BMW at the time, reluctantly looks to motorcycle and automobile engines to sustain the companys economic health. A sharp turn away from the 6 and 12 cylinder airplane engines the company was making, Friz puts his aero-engineering knowledge to work and within four weeks of being commissioned has blueprints for what would become the infamous "boxer" engine.

heritage/history

www.bmwmotorcycles.com

Only a few years before, Germany was a booming industrial power. But, in the aftermath of WWI, high inationary rates and a general lack of money for luxury items placed economic pressure on domestic manufacturers. Fortunately, motorcycles were seen as an important means of transportation (especially with so few cars available) and 80% of BMWs products went to business clients. Even in a tight economy BMW didnt skimp on parts or process. The years between 1923 and 1939 would be looked back upon historically as BMWs heyday.

20

1920Kurt Hanand designs the "Kurier" engine, a tiny 2stoke, 148cc motor. Eventually it is incorporated into a combination bicycle/motorcycle called the "Flink" (a word ironically meaning speedy which the Flink was not). The heavyish bike with its under-powered engine requires vigorous pedaling to start. The Flink unks and is never sold under the BMW name.

1921Max Friz and Martin Stolle collaborate on the M2B15 the rst "at twin" or "boxer" engine. Based on the British Douglas design, it is manufactured by BMW but used in the motorcycles of other brands like Corona, Heller, Helios and Scheid. In this same year that BMW sells off the assets of the original Otto Flugzenmaschinenefabrik which continues its own manufacture of Flottweg motorcycles. BMW will buy the works back in 1937.

1922Rudolf Schleicher develops the rst light-alloy cylinder head. It proves to be on of the essential improvements that leads to the second, and ultimately more successful, version of the boxer engine. Meanwhile the M2B15 is only moderately successful as a motorcycle engine. Some speculate this is because BMWs heart is still in airplanes. Regardless, toward the end of this year Max Friz pushes to improve on the at twin.

heritage/history

www.bmwmotorcycles.com

1923The R32. It is Max Frizs reluctant (his heart is still in airplane engines) improvement on the earlier M2B15 engine designed with Martin Stolle that leads to BMW to its rst serious motorcycle. Using other design developments like Rudolph Schleichers aluminum-alloy cylinders, Friz engineers a motorcycle with a 486cc engine that at 8.5BHP reaches a top speed of about 60mph. Characterized by the transversely mounted M2B32 at twin engine, a gearbox which forms a single unit with that engine and a driveshaft as opposed to a chain and sprocket drive, the R32 becomes the foundation for all future machine designs until the introduction of the K Series in 1983. It would also whet the appetite for racing motorcycles that would come along in a few years.

20

1924After only one year in the motorcycle business, BMW wins its rst German racing championship, setting the groundwork for a history of trophy taking. Ruldolph Schleicher is named chief designer, replacing Friz who returns to his rst love, airplanes. Because he is a racer, Schleicher brings a passion to his designs. This passion would set the bar for excellence which BMW would continually strive to raise.

1925Schelichers rst original design, the R37, is introduced this year. Very obviously a racing version of the R32, it achieves a modest 11mph more than its predecessor but has twice the power (500cc with16BHP @ 4000rpm) and humorously, no speedometer. The R37 goes on to win 100 races in Germany. But it is an expensive machine to manufacture and only 152 are ever made. BMWs rst single cylinder bike, the R39 makes its debut this year also. And while on the subject of speed, it should be noted that the R32 is given a muchneeded front brake this year as well.

heritage/history

www.bmwmotorcycles.com

19263000 R32s have been sold by this time. Though more expensive than competitor models, the BMW name seems to warrant the expense in the publics eye. 1926 is a good year for racing too and Rudolph Schleicher wins the International Six Days Trial for BMW. It is Germanys rst ever gold medal in the event. Perhabhp out of jealousy, Grenville Bradshaw of England accuses BMW of copying the ABC engine. The claim cannot be backed up and is more or less ignored.

20

1927Another excellent year in racing for BMW. Paul Koppen earns his rst of two (and three consecutive for BMW) wins at the Targa Florio in Sicily. BMW has by this point manufactured 25,000 motorcycles with its newest model, the R47 selling 1720 machines in 18 months. An extraordi-

nary pace at the time. Cheaper than the R23, the R47 would replace it in production as well as replacing the R37 and R39.

1928BMW releases its rst 750cc motorcycle, the R62. Designed as a touring machine (but with headlights costing extra!) the R62 holds BMW's largest engine (the M5651). Reaching a top

heritage/history

www.bmwmotorcycles.com

speed of 71mph, the R62 is a gas-guzzler. BMW also begins to dab9a106 eriously in another industry that will prov uccessful for the company in the coming years, automobiles. By purchasing (and renaming) the Dixi-Werke in Eisenbach for 2.2 million Reichsmarks, BMW officially entered the car-making business.

20

1929Ernst Henne, riding a custom-built 750cc BMW motorcyca10clocks a land-speed world record of 134mph. He will go on to best his own record 6 mo times during the 1930s, earning BMW a repu tation for speed as well as performance. By now BMW has grown from 2,630 to 3,860 employees in just one year and is manufacturing bikes using a pressed-steel "star" frame instead of the traditional tubular frame. Abroad, Wall Street crashes sending an economic shockwav across the world. -

heritage/history

www.bmwmotorcyca1s.com

While Americas economic woes began to inuence the German economy, BMW continued its charge forward in the middle of its hey day years. The release of the next generation of twins, plus a foray into smaller, fuel-efficient models sustained BMW through lean years. By the decades end, with the rumblings of WWII growing louder, BMW had kicked into highgear, manufacturing heavily for the German war effort.

30

1930Though having made a name for itself in racing, BMW temporarily retires from competition to attend to business needs namely a national economic downturn. It manufactures its smallest bike, the 198cc R2. The R2 is the rst motorcycle to use a one-piece tunnel crankcase. Marketed as a commuter bike, the R2 is a very successful model for BMW. They go on to sell 15,207 of them. Much of the success lies in German transportation law, which imposes no road tax or special license requirements for small motorized vehicles.

1932Smaller motorcycles continue to thrive in a questionable world economic environment. In fact it is so bad that the onslaught of the Great Depression forces 17,000 German companies to le bankruptcy. BMW is hit hard, but manages to stay in business by developing more economy models like the R4. Similar in principle to the R2, it has a 398cc singlecylinder overhead valve engine that can achieve 12BHP of power at 3500rpm.

1933The R4 continues to sell well attracting the attention of the growing Third Reich. BMWs 4,720 employees are commissioned by the German military to produce R4s in the armys olive drab. Between 1932 and 1938 about 15,000 R4s will be manufactured for military use. This arrangement helped BMW stay in business despite worldwide economic problems. So does the rst automobile made entirely at a BMW facility the 303 which makes its rst appearance this year as well. heritage/history www.bmwmotorcycles.com

1935BMW introduces the R12, a motorcycle most notable as the rst production model with hydraulically damped telescopic front forks. This advancement is a major leap forward in motorcycle manufacturing. At 745cc the R12 achieves 20 BHP at 3,400rpm but trades off on its power with its enormous weight of 408lbs. Despite its bulk, the R12 can reach a top speed of 75mph. It is the most successful model in the inter-war years, propelling BMW to 11,113 employees and 128million Reichmarks of business annually. This is the rst year BMW produces more than 10,000 bikes in a single year.

30

1936Wiggerl Kraus brings BMW back into racing full throttle by riding the supercharged Kompressor competitively. The Kompressor goes on to win numerous races for BMW and Germany including the renown Senior TT at the Isle of Man. It is a variation on Rudolph Schleichers new R5, itself considered by many to be the best bike of the 1930s. With the R5, BMW returns to tubular frames and introduce rearplunger suspension. Topping out at 87mph, the R7 is powered by a 500cc twin camshaft engine. Its styling denes a classic beauty that will last until the 1960s.

1937On 11/28 Ernst Henne again breaks the land-speed record, this time raising it to 173mph and is named "The Fastest Man on Two Wheels." His record will stand for 14 more years. Also in racing, Englishmen Jock West rides a Kompressor at BMWs rst visit to the Isle of Man Senior TT. Again BMWs reputation for power and performance garners the attention of the German military which orders 15,000 340cc R35 singles (an update of the earlier R4). The R35 is the last single to use the pressed steel "star" frame. It generates 14BHP of power at 4500rpm and a top speed of 62mph.

heritage/history

www.bmwmotorcycles.com

1938

BMW delivers its 100,000th motorcycle from the production line. By now the company has introduced rear suspension on all production bikes beginning with the R61. BMW introduces a total of six new models this year including the last single before the war, the R23. Other models of note in this year were the R51 which was popular with traffic police and the R66, the most powerful twin yet offered to the public (597cc, 30BHP at 5300pr). The R71 is also introduced this year and is the last ever of BMW's side valve engines.

30

1939The beginning of WWII nds BMW employing 27,000 workers. Many at the company have been turned to aircraft manufacture, developing the 14 cylinder 810 radial engine that is tted into the Focke-Wolf 190 ghter plane. In fact, BMWs entire corporate strategy has turned toward military applications as have its competitors. But motorcycles still gure largely into BMW's reputation and this year Georg Shorsch Meier becomes the rst foreigner on a foreign machine (a Kompressor) to win the Isle of Man Senior TT. British teammate Jock West brings BMW a second place nish in the same event. -

heritage/history

www.bmwmotorcycles.com

With WWII raging on, there was little new development in motorcycling at BMW. In fact, development would slow considerably until as late as 1952. BMW, like most German industrial companies, was focused on outtting the Wehrmacht (German army) in the early part of the decade. And after Germanys ultimate defeat BMW was faced with bombed out facilities and near dismantlement by the Allied powers.

40

1941BMW's primary motorcycle contribution to the war effort was the specially designed R75. Equally efficient on and off road it would spur numerous imitations. 18,000 R75s were made based on Alex Von Falkenhausens design. With its overhead 750cc engine it could achieve 26BHP at 4000rpm and had a drive mechanism for the sidecar wheel as well as hydraulically assisted breaks. The extra braking being necessary to stop its 925lb girth. With an extra large gas tank, two seats and a sidecar, the R75 was used for reconaissance, communication and attack (when mounted with a machine gun). It is also the stereotypical WWII motorcycle as seen in many movies on the subject.

1945Just before the end of WWII, the German government ordered BMW director Kurt Dornarth to destroy the Munich production facilities. This order Dornarth promptly ignored. A year later, the occupying American military will make the same request. And again Dornarth will ignored it. Instead, BMW survives by manufacturing farm equipment, bicycles, utensils, pots and pans supplies to help the now impoverished German people.

1946The Eisenach facility, which is surrendered to the Soviets, continues to carry out the production of Russian imitation twin motorcycles using BMW designs. These R35s are branded EMW (Eisenach Motoren Werke) and are marked with a logo similar to BMWs, but rendered in red and white. Forbidden by the Allies to manufacture their own motorcycles, BMW continues to stay in business by doing repair work on Allied military vehicles.

heritage/history

www.bmwmotorcycles.com

1947

With the restrictions banning the manufacture of motorcycles relaxed by the international Control Commission, BMW begins to draft blueprints for what will eventually become the R24. The designs are composed entirely from the spare parts left over from pre-war motorcycle manufacturing. Not ready to roll out its own motorcycle yet, BMW keeps an adequate cash ow by making 22,000 bicycles in this year.

40

1948Using the R23s running gear and powered by a modernized single cylinder, BMW officially begins motorcycle manufacture again with the R24 its rst post-war bike. Running on a 250cc engine (the maximum size allowed by the supervising Control Commission), the R24 is equipped with centrifugal ignition timing and ratchet-action pedal shifting for its four-speed transmission. At the same time, BMW draws up the plans for its rst foray into 2-stoke motorcycles. It was a simpler design owing to the shortage of available materials at the time.

194917,000 R24s have been produced by this time and BMW is beginning to recover from the aftermath of WWII. It is in 1949 that BMW introduces the R50/2 and R51/2. These machines are criticized as the rst evidence of compromise by the company. Referring back to Karl Popps "only the best is good enough" philosophy, motorcycle enthusiasts are not pleased when they discover the rear main bearing had been moved into the crankcase instead of given its own housing. It now requires replacement every 10,000 miles. Adding to the disappointment, the centrifuge systems thrower plates are unable to handle the post-war lowgrade fuel, frequently clogging with unburnt particles and blocking oil ow. -

heritage/history

www.bmwmotorcycles.com

With time, the stringent post-war restrictions on Germany were relaxed. BMW was nally freed to continue production across all its divisions. In short time they re-established their world reputation as a preeminent motorcycle manufacturer. The production of hand-made sports cars also resumed. Even the airplane engine division won lucrative contracts. But toward the end of the 50s, with motorcycle sales slumping, the era of "Wirtschaftswunder" (economic miracle) came to an end plunging BMW into nancial worries again.

50

1950BWM enters the new decade in top form. R24 production is up to 17,000 units and the new R25 with plunging rear suspension is poised to replace the R24. The R23 has now become the most-produced motorcycle in BMW's history with an astonishing 47,700 machines having rolled off the factory oor. It is in this year too that BMW releases the R51/2, its rst twin (based on older designs) since the war. An updated version of the R5, its 500cc overhead valve engine musters about the same power as its predecessor, achieving 24BHP at 5,800rpm.

1951The R68, which comes to be known as the "100 mile racer," is the rst German production bike to hit 100mph. First presented at the International Bicycle and Motorcycle Exhibition, it signals the return of BMW to the list of top manufacturers. The R68 generates 35BHP at 7000rpm, the greatest power and highest revs yet. BMW also introduces the R51/3 this year. It is the rst of the newly designed post-war machines and the rst ever BMW engine without any chains in the motor. Other innovations include Dynamo electrical generation, which produces an astonishing 160watts (60 being the average at the time) and a tunnel casting crankcase which would continue to be used until 1969. BMW is operating at full capacity with production jumping from 9,450 to 17,100 in a single year.

1952BMW answers the market demand for a sidecar outtted motorcycle with the R67. It is BMW's rst 600cc overhead valve twin and the rst machine heritage/history www.bmwmotorcycles.com

over 500cc made since the war. Twin leading shoe frontbrakes are introduced on this model and the bike will remain unchanged until 1954. BMW motorcycle production continues to grow and is now at 25,000 total units per year.

50

1953Utilizing a swinging arm rear suspension system and pivot forks with sprung struts, BMW begins development of the Rennesport (RS) series. Front forks are improved with the introduction of two-way damping and front fork gaiters. BMW also updates the R25 single with the R25/3, its most successful bike to date. Topping out at 73mph, the R25/3 goes on to sell 47,000 units during its production run largely due to the improvements in the carburetion and engine, yielding a very efficient 98 miles per gallon fuel consumption. While BMW has now sold its 100,000th motorcycle since the war, demand for the heavier bikes is waning.

1954A year after initial development, the RS series, specialized for competitive racing, makes its production debut. BMW begins

heritage/history

www.bmwmotorcycles.com

to establish a reputation in sidecar racing this year as Wilhelm Noll and Friz Cron win the World Sidecar Championship. BMW will go on to dominate the World Sidecar Championship every year from 1955 until 1974.

50

1955BMW, hampered by the high cost of automobile production, breaks its connection with the Eisenach facility, which becomes the Automobilwerke Eisenach. In motorcycle manufacture, the R50 (26BHP at 5800rpm) with full swinging arm rear suspension and leading link front forks replaces the R51/3. The bike is criticized for looking dated and combined with a growing slump in motorcycle sales, BMW begins to face economic uncertainty. The R26, acclaimed for its comfort and style, is also released this year introducing Earles Type forks to the BMW motorcycle catalog.

1956New models released by BMW meet with meager sales. Only 3,500 R60s are purchased and only 1,300 of its more powerful cousin, the R69, are sold. Feeling the economic decline, German companies begin to downsize. BMW lays off 600 employees shrinking motorcycle production from 23,531 in 1955 to 15,500 in 56. With warehouse surplus for the bigger machines growing and the oil shortage caused by the Suez Crises compounding matters, BMW shifts its focus to fuel-efficient machines.

1957Things go from bad to worse this year. Total motorcycle production at BMW drops yet again - from 15,000 to 5,429 this time. Rival manufacturers like Adler, DKW and Horex all scrap motorcycle production in general. BMW pulls back from designing new models, focusing instead on shipping the majority of its machines overseas to the United States or to England.

heritage/history

www.bmwmotorcycles.com

1958

The nancial bubble nally bursts for BMW. With its money reserves depleted talk of mergers and buyouts begins to circulate. Though production is up slightly to 7,156 machines, the future of BMW is uncertain at best. No new models are released this year or the next.

50

1959Dismal sales (production is only at 8,412 machines for the year), surplus inventory and complete depletion of nancial reserves leave BMW operating in the red. Competitor Daimler-Benz eyes BMW for a buyout and rumors begin to circulate. But Dr. Herbert Quandt, a banker of some repute and a motorcycle enthusiast himself, backs the troubled company. His condence proves contagious and soon other investors fund BMW. MAN, a well-known heavy vehicles manufacturer, buys BMWs airplane division in Allach and covers other debts. While this signies the nal end of BMW's involvement in aero-engineering, the company does manage to remain in business. -

heritage/history

www.bmwmotorcycles.com

The sixties are a slow growth decade for BMW motorcycles. As they emerge from near economic extinction a temporary shift away from motorcycle manufacture allows the company to aggressively build out its automobile offering. While BMW remains low-prole in motorcycle racing, sales continue to rise based on an impressive competitive track record and some timely innovations and options.

60

1960This is the year of the R69S (s for sport model). Considered by many to be the classic BMW motorcycle, the R69S is the fastest boxer to date achieving a top speed of 109mph at 42BHP/7000rpm. It uses gear-driven cams and has bearings "everywhere". Also released this year is the R27 single with its rubber mounted engine to cut down on vibrations. It will be the last single until the F650 Funduro but it sells a healthy 15,000 units in its seven year production period. The R50S is another notable release as it becomes BMWs highest revving 500cc engine. However its bark was worse than its bite and the R50S never catches on, with sales at only 1,634 machines after 3 years.

1961A big year for BMW, the R69S and competitive racing. After setting a new World 24-Hour record of 95.6mph come wins at the Barcelona 24 Hour and Thruxton 500 mile. The year concludes with more recording breaking at Montlhery in the 24 hour (109.34mph) and 12 hour (109.24mph) respectively. Its no wonder the R69Ss reputation earns BMW widespread acclaim. In this same year, BMW shifts from handmade cars to assembly line models with the release of the BMW 1500. Another classic in the BMW stable, the 1500 would pave the way for future BMW automobile fame and sales in the automobile category begin to skyrocket.

heritage/history

www.bmwmotorcycles.com

1963

There isnt a lot of innovation happening in this year, but shareholders in the company are happy nonetheless. For the rst time since WWII BMW pays its stockholders a dividend based on a protable year. BMW is back on the road.

60

1967BMW sells its 250,000th bike since WWII. And though the company itself is focusing more on the exploding automobile market (up 133%), motorcycle manufacturing continues to hold its own, if a little quietly (6000 machines produced this year). No new models are released from 1961-1969 but special United States export versions of the R60 and R69 (called the R60US and R69US respectively) see BMW switch back to telescoping forks from the Earles Type Fork. This change would set the standard for the Stoke 5 series of 1969.

1969Beginning with BMW moving its motorcycle manufacturing operations to the Spandau suburb of Berlin, 1969 nds the company rededicating its efforts in motorcycle innovation after nearly a decade of relative silence. The Stoke 5 series has more modern appearance, electric starters and car-like engineering. It is the rst of the light weight production 750cc engines since 1941 and marks the most dramatic change since the R32 rolled out in 1923. The R50/5, R60/5 and R75/5 are all released with telescoping front forks. However, the boxer engine is ipped with the camshaft now below the crankshaft and the pushrods banished to tubes on the side and below the engine. In 1969 BMW nally begins to offer color options though initially only in the conservative black, white and silver. Sidecar use is no longer authorized on BMW models as the company begins to look to the future. -

heritage/history

www.bmwmotorcycles.com

BMW Motorcycles would again begin to manufacture at volumes reminiscent of its hey day period. Between 1969 and 1973 35,370 R75/5s would be sold. Changes to the /5 series would be minor, if at all, reecting the BMW tradition of rening out of necessity not fashionability. Investments in the tooling at the Spandau facility transform it into a full production plant and all motorcycle parts are now being manufactured in-house. Horst Spinter also ghts a general worker shortage by hiring non-German workers, growing the BMW motorcycle division from 850 1500 people.

70

1973In BMW's 50th Anniversary year its 500,000th motorcycle is produced. But times have changed and this is apparent by BMW's new R90S. A 900cc 67BHP racing monster is the companys largest and fastest bike ever, conquering the 50-year-standing 750cc barrier. At a glance, the full cockpit fairing and smoked gray nish earn this machine its reputation as "Germanys sexiest superbike." 24,000 are produced in the next three years. The Stoke 6 series is also launched this year in 600, 700 and 900cc guises with 55,000 sold. The Spandau facility is now working at full capacity, cranking out 25,000 motorcycles a year. And BMW's reputation only continues to grow with the recognition of the Maudes Trophy at the Isle of Man tournament that year.

1974The /6 Series goes into mass manufacturing and for the rst time BMW offers 5 speed gearboxes on production motorcycles. The R75/6 becomes the rst production machine to utilize a single-disc front break. In true BMW form Helmut Dahne rides his R75 from Munich to the Isle of Man Production TT, nishes 3rd and rides it back home.

1975Drilled discs are the innovation introduced to BMW motorcycles this year, greatly improving wet braking times. And an old motorcycle archetype, the kickstart, is nally eliminated as a standard component on production machines. Employee Rudiger Gutsch builds his own private enduro motorcycle this year. It is later used as the basis for developing the onroad/offroad BMW offering of 1980. heritage/history www.bmwmotorcycles.com

1976

BMW ubhp the ante again designing the Stoke 7 1000cc R100/7. Its sporting sibling, the R100RS, is also launched. Like the R100/7, it has a 1000cc engine generating 70BHP of power at 7,250rpm for a top speed of 125mph. It is the rst production motorcycle to offer full fairing. This fairing design will stand largely unchanged until 1993. The R100RS is offered in a very untraditional smoked red. Despite an onslaught of four cylinder competitors, BMW twins hold their own as Reg Pridmore wins the 76 AMA superbike title on his R90S.

70

1977The R80/7 attracts the attention of police forces worldwide as a brilliant compromise between the power of the 1000cc engines and the sweet ride of the 750s. To some it is the best of all the Stoke Series models. Diminishing sales of the twin in the lucrative US market (BMW fell from 6th to 11th in popularity) send a signal to BMW and the company responds by beginning to look at other designs.

1978A trend-setter in luxury touring motorcycles, the R100RT offers the rider a full touring-style fairing in 1978. While racing oriented motorcyclists balked at its bulkiness, long distance riders loved the machine for its comfort. It is offered in the popular smoked-red and some not-so-popular colors too: bottle green and a brown and cream combination. At the other end of the size spectrum is the R45, BMW's smallest twin, which also makes its rst appearance this year. A 473cc engine with a power capacity of 27BHP per 6500rpm, the R45 is a hit with insurance companies and a dud with consumers who are hungry for power.

1979BMW wins the German Off-Road Championship and begins to build a reputation in the category. Meanwhile, British sales balloon by 61% despite poor sales gures in the US. The success of BMW in England is due largely to the police force there which has come to prefer BMW motorcycles. Fully 86 BMW dealerships have sprouted up in the U.K. to meet the increased demand. -

heritage/history

www.bmwmotorcycles.com

deal of anticipation for the coming year. Simultaneously, and unwilling to abandon the boxer, BMW produces a pure road version of the R80G/S called an R80RT.

80

1983For the rst time since 1923 BMW makes a drastic departure from the twin by introducing the K100. It is the rst of the water-cooled K-series machines and quickly earns the nickname "ying brick." Developed by Joseph Frizenwenger who took a longitudinally mounted in-line engine and turned it horizontally, the K100 musters 90BHP at 8000rpm and reaches a top speed of 132mph. It is the rst production motorcycle with electric ignition and fuel injection. A racing version of the four cylinder K100, called the K100RS is also rolled out. Not to be eclipsed by the new machine, the twin claims another ParisDakkar victory under the skilled maneuvering of Hubert Auriol.

1984Hubert Auriol continues to wrack up Paris-Dakkar victories this time accompanied by teammate Gaston Rakier. A touring ver sion of the K series is released (K100RT) and BMW announces plans to continue the manufacture of both 4 cylinder and at twin engines in a ratio of 60%-40% respectively. The years new boxers are all equipped with a lightweight clutch and lower powered engine giving them a characteristic pleasant, smooth ride.

1985BMW's designs its only three cylinder motorcycle to date, the K75C. Using 50% common parts with its older brother the K100 it has excellent fuel economy (57 miles per gallon), more nimble handling and considerable power (75BHP at 8500rpm) reaching a top speed of 124mph.

1986The addition of a sports fairing and other minor modications turns the K75C into the K75S BMW's only three cylinder sports motorcycle. Boxer innovation keeps pace with the re-

heritage/history

www.bmwmotorcycles.com

launch of the limited edition R100RS now with monolever rear suspension and a 60BHP engine. Though produced as a limited edition machine it goes on to become very popular. BMW is now offering motorcycles in 48, 50, 60, 70 and 90BHP options.

80

1987The R100RT is re-launched this year with monolever rear suspension and a smaller 60BHP engine (the original was 70BHP). BMW's double-jointed single sides swing arm Paralever system makes its debut this year. And again, BMW continues to produce for both the twins and K-series by offering the 1000cc K100LT luxury cruiser a 580lb behemoth generating 90BHP at 8000rpm.

1988Known as the biggest dirt bike in the world and weighing in at a healthy 463lbs, the R100G/S goes into production this year. Utilizing a stronger frame with longer forks, BMW touted the numerous modications on this model by claiming you can "count the number of unchanged component on one hand." The R80G/S also goes into production with an optional ParisDakkar version complete with larger fuel tank. Continuing to veer away from its traditional aesthetics, the new motorcycles were offered in classic black and also yellow. BMW is the rst company to make machines with electronic/hydraulic ABS, considered motorcyclings safety aid of the decade.

1989Designed the year before, BMW puts the futuristic K1, their fastest road-going machine, into production. Overseen by the current head of design at the time, Martin Probst, the avantgarde motorcycle comes complete with the rst-ever digital engine electronics system. With a 1000cc, 4 cylinder engine it can generate a massive power output of 100BHP at 8000rpm and is clocked at 143mph. The K1 alienates some BMW traditionalists with its ashy bright red nish and yellow graphics but it garners numerous headlines throughout the year ying in the face of the conventional perception of BMW. -

heritage/history

www.bmwmotorcycles.com

Having charged headlong into the future of motorcycle design with the K-series the decade before, BMW continued to innovate while still remaining true to its heritage and its clientele. The K-series received more updates and improvements and the twins, on top of receiving their share of engineering nesse, also saw a an ancestor from 15 years ago come back to life.

90

1990A four-valve modied version of the K100RS is launched this year. It will go on to be named motorcycle of the year ve years running. 35,000 K100RSs have been sold since its rst production period in 1983. ABS is now standard on all K-series machines, a trend not adopted by other manufacturers except on their high-end machines. BMW is producing motorcycles at a robust rate of 26,000 per year.

1991On March 18th 1991 the one millionth BMW motorcycle rolls off the factory production oor. It is a three cylinder K75RT that is eventually donated to the Red Cross. Since it began producing motorcycles BMW has now sold 230,000 singles, 634,000 twins and 136,000 multis. And of this army of machines, 50% are still reported to be on the road. Not content to rest on its laurels, BMW begins outtting all its motorcycles with three-way catalytic converters. It is the rst company to do so. And as a seeming tip of the hat to its heritage, BMW re-releases the R100R, last seen in 1976, complete with retro-styling. It turns out to be a popular decision and 8,041 are be sold by 1992.

1992BMW continues to produce machines to meet increasing demand. 25,761 R series (twins) and 11,408 K-Series, including the new K1100LT are sold. This in a year when worldwide motorcycle sales are dropping. Despite initial fears of the boxers demise during the early K-series years, the at twin continues to sell (and perform) well with 100,000 heritage/history www.bmwmotorcycles.com

units sold since the rst K-series was released in 1983. This number is all the more impressive when considered against the roughly 600,000 twins that have been sold since the R32 in 1923. In fact, BMW offers eight boxer models in this year.

90

1993With the second generation ABS system introduced this year a new generation boxer appears as the R1100RS sports tourer. Powered by a fuel-injected, 8 valve, twin cylinder engine (model name R259) it achieves 90BHP at 7250rpm. The new twin is tted with both Paralever rear suspension and the new Telelever front suspension. BMW also releases the K100RS, which sports the new ABSII. In off-road, about 62,000 G/S and GS machines have been bought.

1994BMWs production single in 30 years, designed the year before, is the F650 Funduro. It is actually the result of a joint effort by the new European Union. BMW, along with Italian manufacturer Aprilia and Austrian brand Rotax designs this 650cc, 4 valve single with power output measuring 48BHP at 6500rpm. The R1100GS enduro is also rolled out this year featuring an ABS breaking system which can be turned off during off-road use. In a departure from their current designs, BMW makes the R850R and the R1100R twins - unique as they are the rst BMW's in years to have no form fairing.

1995Comprehensive fairing characterizes the R100RT touring machine that is unofficially named the most weatherproof high speed machine ever. Aside from including catalytic converters standard on all motorcycles, BMW initiates a retro-tting program to upgrade older models. For the rst time in its history, BMW produces over 50,000 motorcycles in one year. However, this is also the last year that the two-valve traditional boxer is produced.

heritage/history

www.bmwmotorcycles.com

1996With the new year, the old two-valve boxers and the three cylinder K 75 Series are phased out of production. This signals the end of a 70-year period of German motorcycle history. Since 1923, 685,830 old boxers have been sold with 467,900 of them having been produced in Berlin since 1969. But while they did away with the old, they also ushered in the new, introducing the companys most powerful motorcycle to date, the 4 cylinder liquid-cooled K1200RS.

90www.bmwmotorcycles.com

1997In response to a drop in demand for sporting machines, BMW markets its rst-ever chopper/cruiser the R1200C. It is based on the stripped down "hogs," characterized by the substitution of lighter components and the elimination of unnecessary paraphernalia. Dr. Walter Hasselkus, the President of BMW since 1993 is considered the godfather of the 1200C and it is David Robb who brings the project to production. An instant icon, the machine is featured in the James Bond lm Tomorrow Never Dies. In this same year, the R1100RS is voted the Motorcycle of the Year in the United States, Japan and Australia.

1998After a 12 year absence BMW returns to the Paris Dakkar Rally with F650 competition motorcycles piloted by four time Paris Dakkar winner Edi Orioli, 2nd place winner Oscara Gallaro, 5th place winner Jean Brucy and Ladies Cup Winner Andrea Meyer.-

heritage/history

When you consider how much has evolved at BMW since 1923 its easy to imagine some incredible progress in the coming years. Already the new millennium has been kind to BMW with continued success both in competition and the marketplace. But despite all the changes past and to come, in the end, it still boils down to one thing: As long as there are riders, real riders, who demand only the best, BMW will continue to up the bar and then leap over it.

00

2000Releasing a much-anticipated update of the GS series, the R 1150 GS boosts power from 1085cc to 1130cc without compromising its 10.3:1 compres sion ratio. 50% of the power gain is attributed to an improved exhaust system. Also released this year is BMWs most powerful luxury tourer, the 100hp 4cylinder k 1200LT. Rounding out the new millennium's offerings is BMW's most powerful motorcycle ever, the K 1200 RT with 130 horses and 86 lb-ft torque. All this attention to power pays off as Richard Sainct repeats his Paris-Dakar-Cairo victory again this year.

heritage/history

www.bmwmotorcycles.com

Recommended

View more >