Few, if any, motorcycle series can boast of as long a history and as many models as BMW’s R-series. These flat twins have been around for the better part of a century and have never failed to satisfy the need for quality motorcycles.
A Long History
The R-series can trace its history from 2019 all the way back to the very beginning of the motorcycles at BMW itself. In fact, in 1932 BMW began producing R-series motorcycles for sale under the brand BMW Motorrad.
These 1932 models weren’t just the first R-series models produced by BMW. They were the first motorcycles of any kind produced by BMW. Prior to the introduction of the BMW R 32, BMW didn’t build or even design motorcycles.
Decades of Designs
The original 1932 BMW R 32 sported a miniscule 8.5 horsepower and an average-sized 494cc side-valve flat-twin capable of a top speed of only 59 miles per hour. By 1930s standards, this was a hotrod. By the standards of the 2010s, this classic isn’t much for racing.
One of the newest R-series bikes to hit the market was produced as recently as 2019 and sports 110 horsepower, an engine displacement of 1,170cc, and a top speed of more than 125 miles per hour.
Timeline of Versions with Changes
There are countless pages of generations and redesigns for the R-series, and going into every one of them would be a monstrous task. Instead, let’s focus on the most influential models.
- BMW R 32 (1923-1926)
This was the first ever motorcycle produced at BMW. By the standards of the time, it had quite a powerful flat-twin engine capable of reliable cruising and comfortable, casual rides. This motorcycle featured a wet-sump oil system that was so influential that BMW kept using it until 1969.
- BMW R60/2 (1960-1969)
One of the more influential motorcycles for cruising, this bike was designed primarily with sidecars in mind. The universal terrain “go anywhere” capacity of this vehicle was in large part due to the strength of its suspension and set it up for instant fame.
- BMW R1200GS (2004-present)
Relatively new in the history of BMW Motorrad, the R1200GS houses an engine that technically qualifies as a boxer engine; however, due to its close similarity to BMW’s early flat-twins, this powerful superbike should not be left out of the mix when discussing the R-series.
News of New BMW R-series Flat Twins
The R-series isn’t going away any time soon. Nearly a dozen R-series models are currently in production at BMW Motorrad and BMW keeps announcing new generations and reproductions year after year.
BMW R-series motorcycles, superbikes, and scooters have been used in an almost countless number of TV shows and films. A cursory glance at the IMCDB search results for the R-series reveals hundreds of credits.
With the R-series flat-twins having hundreds of film credits and almost a hundred years of production, you can safely bet that there are plenty of social groups out there for R-series motorcycles. One such group has more than 2,000 members.
The BMW R-Series Flat-Twins – an Engine to Last a Lifetime
The BMW R-series flat-twins are sometimes referred to as “lifetime engines,” and for anybody younger than eighty seven years of age, that phrase is true in more than one way.