BMW Motorcycles

It all started with the production of BMW engines. Before cars and motorcycles became a part of the brand,BMW Motorcycles Articles the manufacturer was producing engines for airplanes. They were also working on portable industrial engines that found a relevant market when it came to wartime use. In 1923, the R32 was produced; the first motorcycle under this brand name. Today, the brand is known as BMW Motorrad.


This first model set the standard for production for years to come. It could get up to speeds of around sixty miles per hour and had 8.5 horsepower. The engine, unlike some of the others during this time, featured a wet sump oiling system and was used by BMW until the late 1960’s.

Speed became an important part of the brand as well with Ernst Henne riding a supercharged bike that set a world record in 1937. He was able to drive it over 170 miles per hour. His record lasted for around 14 years, a major accomplishment for the industry and the manufacturer.

World War II

When the war effort needed motorcycles, BMW answered the call. Vehicles were needed that would be able to handle the climate of North Africa and the R75 was able to handle the desert setting better than some of the other competition. With protruding cylinders and shaft drives, the sand and sun were much less of an issue. The motorcycles were so successful that other manufacturers, including Harley Davidson were asked to replicate the style in order to produce more useful wartime motorcycles.

Post World War II

Despite the success of the motorcycles, the brand took a turn for the worst as the war came to an end. At this point, the brand was no longer allowed to produce motorcycles as part of an agreement with Germany at the end of the war. Engineers were being drawn to other countries for their expertise and BMW was starting the crumble. It was not until the ban on motorcycle production was lifted that the brand began to start over.

As Germany was fractured into pieces, so was the brand. On one side, motorcycles were being produced for pubic consumption. On the other side, production was part of the reparation process. Political changes continued to make things difficult and finally, the brand was split into two brands in order to avoid trademark issues.

Late 1950’s

Motorcycle sales continued to decrease sharply during this time but later in the decade, motorcycles began to be exported to the United States. Seeing the potential, it sold its aircraft engine portion of the company and looked for outside financing to keep things running for both the motorcycles and vehicle divisions.

A complete redesign took place in 1970 and changes continue to occur throughout the 1980’s as well. Today the brand produces motorcycles for racing, beginning riders, cruising and off-roading.