Recently BMW announced their updated line-up of motorcycles for 2015. The updates would be seen on BMW’s R1200, R1600, F700, F800, K1300 and the K1600 range of motorcycles. While the updates are inclined towards cosmetic changes with a few feature additions to the range. In totality, the R1200 range gets a Keyless Ride system that allows the rider to lock the handlebars and fuel filler cap based on proximity, there is mainly a new range of colour choices for the line-up. While BMW Motorrad kicks their heels together to upgrade this already-potent motorcycle range, we go backtracking into the bloodline of the German manufacturer with the motorcycles that were responsible for the success behind their current line-up.
Commissioned to serve the military in the Second World War, the R12 was designed to be as reliable as a tank, yet handle with the sophistication of a fine blade under difficult terrains. Build quality has never been an issue with the Germans and the same went with the R12. While, to overcome gruelling terrain conditions, the R12 was fitted with telescopic forks, a first in the motorcycling industry. This innovation helped in reducing unsprung weight of the front end, aiding in better handling and overall rigidity to the fork assembly. BMW R69
Like most automobile manufacturers, BMW was also going through a fragile era post WWII and it needed a new product in their line-up that was good enough to capture international attention and sales. The BMW R69 enabled BMW in strengthening their stronghold amongst the enthusiasts around the world. Deemed as on of the fastest and most comfortable motorcycles of it’s time, it was the very machine behind the 1959 U.S. Transcontinental Motorcycle record won by the legend Racer, entrepreneur and Motorcycle industry evangelist John Penton. The R69 was BMW Motorcycle’s come back into the international markets that it was missing out of after the gruesome war. It was also one of the first motorcycles to feature a fully adjustable rear suspension setup that gave it the flexibility to fine tune the chassis according to various road conditions. BMW R80 G/S
There is no other important motorcycle that BMW has made in its history than the R80 G/S. The motorcycle that marked BMW’s foray into the dual-sport segment, the R80 G/S was aimed at adventure riders who wanted to travel cross country and cross continents. The R80 G/S was the stepping-stone for what in later years developed to be the R1200 GS, BMW’s highest selling motorcycle. The R80 G/S was also the motorcycle to bring the manufacturer its first Paris-Dakar victory in 1981 while being ridden by Hubert Auriol. BMW K1
This was BMW’s frankenstein. Developed with the sole purpose of creating an aerodynamic motorcycle, the K1 shape was a direct result of mathematical equations derived from the day’s wind tunnel testing. While there was no other motorcycle that looked quite as outlandish as the K1 during its production days, it was never designed go as fast as others could, but rather a machine that could consistently cruise at high-speeds. Becoming most capable high-speed cruisers of its time, capable of constant speeds above 200kmph on the German Autobahn, it had the lowest drag co-efficient of .38. However, flaws overcame engineering finesse as overheating issues, weight and extra long wheelbase resulted in its short 5 years production run. Nevertheless, the K1 was the motorcycle that led BMW in their understanding and development of the next generation sport-tourers, the K1300 and K1600 BMW RS 255 Kompressor Built for racing, the RS39 just like the current S1000RR was very capable but unfortunately not at the top of its game and at the mercy of its arch-rival – The Norton Manx. Unable to outperform the Manx in handling, the R39 was fitted with a supercharger that boosted the engine power to 60bhp, the R 255. With the aid of its newfound power, Georg Meierbecame the first “outsider”, “non-British” competitor to win the Tourist Trophy in 1939. It is said that he maxed out the machine at 225kmph, a truly heroic speed considering the machinery back in the days.
The first ever chain-drive BMW Motorcycle in its 70-year history, the F650 was a departure from the manufacturing ideologies. For the first time there as a single-cylinder BMW, which was unconventionally manufactured outside the BMW stable by Austrian engine maker Rotax. And with a single-piston displacing 650cc, the motorcycle was no slouch. Torque was instant and at any given gear and the handling was dexterous enough to leave its Japanese competitors biting the dust.