The Boxer in the Ring for Over 100 Years - Motorcycles from BMW at RETRO CLASSICS® 2023

RETRO CLASSICS® 2023: 100 years young - motorcycles from BMW

"Bavaria from Berlin" - 100 years of BMW motorcycles

Who would have thought it? The "R32", BMW's first motorcycle, was created in 1923, and in principle it was born out of necessity, as the Bayerische Motorenwerke, until then a renowned manufacturer of aircraft engines, had to look for a new line of business after the end of the First World War. The "R32" was to lay the foundation for what is now a 100-year success story, and its key design features still embody the DNA of most BMW Motorrad models today: boxer engine, cardan drive and twin-tube frame.

The new BMW brand quickly established itself with the "R32" on the premium motorcycle market of its time, both at home and abroad. Private riders and motorsport enthusiasts alike appreciated the elaborate and robust construction of the two-wheelers from Munich-Milbertshofen, which was to be reflected in countless prestigious victories and records on the international stage: Ernst Henne, one of the most successful motorcyclists in motorsport history, was unstoppable on and off the track in the late 1920s on a BMW. A BMW factory rider from 1926, he won several national and international championships, and was to set a world record in 1937 that would last 14 years: 279.5 km/h on a full-size BMW 500 Kompressor machine was the best mark.

This glorious era of BMW's motorcycle division also saw the greatest successes of another great German motorcycle racer: Georg "Schorsch" Meier, who in 1939 would become the first non-Briton to win one of the toughest motorcycle races in the world: the Tourist Trophy ("TT") on the Isle of Man, on a BMW 255 Kompressor.

After the Second World War, BMW, in the meantime also an established automobile manufacturer, had to reorient itself once again, but the motorcycles remained and were more important than ever, as the German motorization of the people at that time mainly took place on two wheels. Sport was still the trump card in Munich, and so in 1952 the 35 hp "R68" was created, one of the sportiest motorcycles of its time. Two-wheelers in general boom in the 1950s and 1960s, and gradually capacities in Munich are exhausted, so that BMW Motorrad production moves to Berlin-Spandau, where it is still located today.

In the 1970s, the motorcycle is essentially an expression of leisure pleasure, which BMW naturally also takes into account: the legendary "R90S" and "R100RS" models are created, true design classics and style-setting for their time, not least because Hans A. Muth is the first designer to be responsible for the appearance of the motorcycles from 1971 onwards.

At the beginning of the 1980s, BMW created another motorcycle milestone with the "R80G/S", which was to combine off-road capability ("G") and road capability ("S") as never before - a formula that proved successful and secured victories in the Paris-Dakar desert rally in 1981 and 1983 with Hubert Auriol.

The 1980s also stand for a new type of engine concept that was to quickly establish itself alongside the familiar BMW boxer engines: In the guise of the "K" series, the "K75", "K100" and "K1" models bring strikingly modern styled BMW two-wheelers onto the market, which feature a 3-cylinder in-line engine and also mark the start of the digital age in BMW motorcycle construction.

But it is above all the numerous innovations, high quality, motorsport successes and a sense of what the market wants that establish the "Bavarians from Berlin" firmly at the top of the world market and in the hearts of motorcycle fans - admire milestones of 100 years of BMW motorcycle history exclusively at RETRO CLASSICS® Stuttgart from 23 to 26 February 2023!

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