BMW Motorcycles

Today in Motorcycle History

BMW 1936 Models at the Olympia Show

BMW R17 1935

Shaft drive, unit construction and a pressed-steel frame are notable features of the 750 c.c. overhead-valve B. M. W.
BMW R 17 OHV Specification

BMW R17 1935

Oil-damped springing is employed in the neat forks fitted to the larger B.M.W.s

STAND 55 : Single-cylinder and Transverse Twin Models with Unit Construction and Shaft Drive : The World’s Record Breaker on View

A.F.N., Ltd., Falcon Works, London Road, Isleworth, Middlesex.

Model R.17.—730 c.c. transverse twin-cyl. o.h.v. unit-construction B.M.W.; dry-sump lubrication; coil ignition.; shaft drive; 4-speed gear, with hand control; fuel, 3 ¼ gals.; 26x3.5in. tyres. Price with electric lighting (solo), £125.

ALL motor cyclists will welcome the appearance of the B.M.W. at Olympia once again, particularly as the famous rider, Ernst Henne, flew over from Germany to be present with his supercharged world’s record-breaker.

That slim, streamlined, mechanical wonder is displayed prominently on the stand.

Actually, the standard Model R.17, though without the Zoller supercharger— and in a very much more roadster form—is not unlike the record-breaking B.M.W.

The flat-twin engine has push-rod operated valves, the whole mechanism being neatly enclosed. Built as a unit with the engine, the four-speed gear box leads direct to the final shaft drive.

As in all other B.M.W. models, the frame is of pressed steel. A side-valve model of 745 c.c., priced at £115, is shown, and is similar in most respects.

In each case a separate carburetter is used for each cylinder.

Model R.4.—398 c.c. single-cyl. o.h.v. unit-construction B.M.W.; dry-sump lubrication; coil ignition; shaft drive; 4-speed gear, with hand control; fuel. 2 ¾ gals.; 26x3.5in. tyres.
Price with electric lighting (solo), £85.

Although the name is usually associated with flat-twins, two single-cylinder B.M.W.s are exhibited - the Model R.4, as described in the detailed specification, and a 200 c.c. single-cylinder model having a three-speed gear, shaft drive, and coil ignition.

In most respects the singles are similar to the twins. The vertical cylinders have push-rod operated overhead valves enclosed in the same neat fashion.

The 1935 Olympia Show reported in The Motor Cycle, December 5th, 1935.


At the 1936 Berlin (Germany) Motor Show, BMW launched its most sporting motorcycle to date, the 494cc R5. The newly designed engine used a tunnel-type crankcase similar to the R2 single engine. The R5 engine retained pushrod-actuated overhead valves, and used hairpin valve springs from BMW's race bikes rather than the traditional coil-type valve springs.

More on the BMW R5