BMW Motorcycles

Today in Motorcycle History

BMW Motorcycles to 1969

See also BMW 1950-1959

BMW R-2 198cc

At the beginning of the thirties the economic situation dictated the need for a more affordable alternative to the twins; this arrived in the form of the 198cc R2, the first BMW to feature a single cylinder engine.

The new model incorporated features found on the twins, including unit construction for the engine, a three speed gearbox and shaft drive, along with a pressed steel duplex frame equipped with similarly constructed forks. Developing up to 6 bhp, the new model would remain in production until 1936 and formed the basis for later, larger displacement singles.

More on the BMW R-2

BMW R37 1925-1927

The R37 established the BMW racing heritage in its first year of motorcycle racing. Released in 1925, it was the first motorcycle engine to be equipped with aluminium alloy cylinder heads which, combined with overhead valves gave the machine almost twice the horsepower of earlier engines giving the R37 a substantial advantage over the competition.

The R25 absolutely blitzed the racetracks, taking 91 European wins in 1925, 105 in 1926 and a just extraordinary 171 in 1927. BMW R37 riders won the German championship every year from 1925 to 1929.

As indicated by its star status in Munich's amazing BMW museum, it is one of the most famous - and rarest - of all BMW motorcycles.

Image courtesy Moto Talbott Collection

BMW R-5 494cc OHV Flat Twin

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

List of BMW Motorcycles 1920-1969




BMW R 11 1929-1934

BMW R 16 1929-1934

BMW R 2 1931-1936 63 x 64mm, 198 cc. Prod. 15207

BMW R-4 400cc 1932-1937

BMW R 17 1935-1937 736cc OHV

BMW R-12 1935-1942 750cc SV

BMW R 5 1936-1937

BMW R 3 1936-1937 68 x 84mm, 305 cc. Prod. 740

BMW R 6 1937-1938

BMW R 35 1937-1940

BMW R 61 1938-1941

BMW R 23 1938-1940

BMW R 20 1938-1940 60 x 68mm, 192 cc. Prod. 5000

BMW R 71 1938-1941

BMW R 51 1938-1940

BMW R75 1941-1944

BMW R 66 1938-1941


BMW R 35 1937-1940

BMW R 61 1938-1941

BMW R 23 1938-1940 68 x 68mm, 247 cc. Prod. 9021

BMW R 20 1938-1940

BMW R 71 1938-1941

BMW R 51 1938-1940

BMW R 75 1938-1941

BMW R 66 1938-1941

BMW R 24 1948-1950 68 x 68mm, 247 cc. Prod. 15386


BMW 1950-1959


BMW 1960-1969