Go for a walk through the history of the motorcycle division of Bayerische Motoren Werke, a brand whose sentimental bond with the air-cooled boxer engine has not stopped them making almost everything else.

BMW Motorrad

That urban mobility is the next challenge for BMW Motorrad evidenced by its latest moves. The presentation, first, scooters C 600 Sport and C 650 GT and the recent agreement with India’s TVS Motor Company to manufacture motorcycles below 500 cc.

But if there is a hallmark of the BMW feels almost romantically linked are the opposite cylinder engines, which are just the beginning of a story that began 90 years ago with the introduction of the BMW R 32 at the Berlin Motor Show. The bike developed by Max Friz team in a few weeks was based engine of 494 cc air-cooled, a configuration that Bayerische Motoren Werke and manufactured for other companies since 1920 … until today.

That initial fixation boxer engines has technical arguments easy to guess, at least with the technology available for almost a century: reducing the center of gravity and perfect cooling of the cylinders. But the BMW R 32 also had other key features in the history of the Bavarian brand. Unlike its competitors, it was developed from a bicycle, but immediately positioned itself as a luxury big bike.

The success of this business of BMW motorcycles was pretty immediate. In 1924 came his first single-cylinder 247 cc and 6.5 hp mounted on the R 39 and just 10 years later, when the sales level was beginning to be quite delicious, the BMW R 12 and R 17, both with a 750cc boxer and for the first time, a telescopic fork front axle.

Much of the success of BMW models, which before World War II amounted to produced 100,000 units, is also explained by a strong commitment to the competition from the beginning. In 1938 for example, Georg “Schorsch” Meier completed much of the successes of his compatriot Ernst Hennewith the first win for a non-British pilot in the Senior TT Isle of Man at the controls of a supercharged BMW.

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