German Motorrad

Today in Motorcycle History

Flink and Helios Motorcycles

Bayerische FlugzeugWerke AG

A Brief History of the Marques


Manufactured by Bayerische-Flugzeug-Werke AG (BFW), Munich, 1920-1922

The company built a motorised bicycle with a 148cc engine from Curt Hanfland of Berlin, and was also responsible for the Helios from which the first BMW motorcycle was developed.

BFW had been an aircraft manufacturer during WWI, producing some 200 machines per month with a workforce of 3000. In 1921 an Austrian financier began making moves to acquire the company, and in 1922 or 1923 the merger of BFW and BMW took place. BFW became a separate company again in 1926 and was joined by Willy Messerschmitt in 1927. BFW was renamed Messerschmitt AG on July 11, 1938.

See also Messerschmitt

There was also a Flink made in Sweden, Flink SE, and a German hilfsmotor of that name in the 1950s built (or marketed) by Motorenwerk Varel GmbH - see Disambiguation



Built by Bayerische Flugzeugwerke 1921-1922, and then by BMW in 1923.

Designed by Karl Rühmer, the Helios used the 492 cc M2B15 Bayern longitudinal HO twin which was also fitted to the Victoria.

Referred to as the predecessor of BMW motorcycles, the Helios was improved by Max Friz and Martin Stolle who fitted it with the transverse boxer twin and the new machine was named the R32, released in 1923.

Karl Rühmer went on the create the Karü.

N.B. There were at least two other German Helios brands - commercial vehicles built 1903, and light automobiles built 1923-1926 by Helios Automobilbau Akt.-Ges, Köln-Ehrenfeld.

Sources: GTU Oldtimerservice,, et al

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