1924 BMW R32
- 494cc side-valve air-cooled flat-twin
- 5hp @ 3200rpm
- 3 speed manual transmission
- Top Speed of 59mph
The R32 represented state-of-the-art motorcycle design well into the 1930s even though it first debuted at the Paris Salon of 1923. The compact drivetrain and triangular frame gave the bike a distinctive low profile. The two primary issues that informed the design of the engine were reliability and ease of maintenance. It featured oil pumps to circulate the oil, known as a wet sump design. This was a great leap forward in engineering that set it apart from other motorcycles of the day. The user could now travel without constantly adding oil. The engine was also mounted transversely across the frame, exposing the cylinders to the airflow around the bike and thus improving both cooling and cylinder access should something go wrong. The bike utilized a shaft drive to power the rear wheel. This required significantly less maintenance than a chain or belt drive. The shaft-drive also allowed for quick replacement of the rear tire. This was a huge advantage, because there were few paved roads at the time and punctures occurred often. All of these technical innovations empowered the common man to fix his motorcycle relatively easily should it break down. The R32 produced 8.5hp, and had a top speed of about 60mph. The R32 also had great range and fuel economy and could travel 80 miles on a single gallon of fuel.
1937 BMW R17
- 736cc Four-stroke two cylinder flat twin
- 33hp @ 5000 rpm
- Top speed of 87mph
Many consider this model to be one of the most beautiful bikes ever made. Its appearance was heavily influenced by the dramatic modern design shift taking place in the mid-1930s. The upright boxy shapes of the past began to give way to more streamlined silhouettes. For the first time, aerodynamics was a consideration in the design of motorcycles and automobiles. The R17 was produced from 1935-37 and featured BMW’s iconic triangular frame, which gave it a distinctive low-slung shape. Only 434 were produced. It featured a four-stroke flat-twin engine. Displacement was 736cc and it produced about 33hp at 5000rpm. The power got to the ground via a 4-speed transmission and the bike could reach a top speed of 87mph.
1982 BMW Krauser MKM
- 980cc four stroke, two-cylinder horizontally opposed boxer
- 70hp @ 7500 rpm
- 5-speed transmission
- Top speed of 140mph
The BMW Krauser MKM 1000 was produced from 1980 to 1982. The MKM, or Michael Krauser Motorcycle, was designed by its namesake. Krauser won the German sidecar racing championship from 1955 to 1958. In the 1970’s, he managed BMW’s sidecar racing teams. Then late in the 70’s and into the 80’s, he started building complete motorcycles. He designed a race motorcycle featuring BMW’s 1000cc Boxer engine with an extremely stiff frame. He decided to take the lessons of the race track and translate them for street use. He used BMW’s R100RS, a capable motorcycle in its own right, as a starting point to design what he considered to be the ultimate sport bike. He made significant changes to the suspension to enable better handling and to the body for improved aerodynamics. He also made substantial improvements to the engine to increase performance. When all was said and done, it featured a 980cc, air-cooled, four-stroke, two-cylinder boxer engine that developed 70hp at 7500rpm. This enabled it to reach a top speed of 140mph.