BMW MOTORRAD’S ORIGINS
In 1916, the Bayerische Flugzeug-werke (Bavarian Aircraft Works) was formed by Gustav Otto out of Flugmaschinenfabrik. The son of Nikolaus Otto, who is credited as the father of the modern internal combustion engine, Gustav joined forces with Karl Rapp. Rapp had set up Rapp Motorenwerke in 1913 building V8 and V12 engines for military aircraft. In 1917 Rapp Motorenwerke became Bayerische Motoren Werke (BMW) and in the same year was joined by Austro-Daimler engineer Max Friz. In 1922 BMW bought Bayerische Flugzeug-werke, who were building the Helios motorcycle, powered by a BMW engine. BMW’S technical manager, Franz Josef Popp, asked Fritz to design a completely new BMW motorcycle. He took BMW’S 498cc horizontally opposed twin, mounted it transversely in the frame to avoid the rear cylinder overheating as it did in the Helios, and created the BMW R32. On September 28, 1923, BMW Motorrad was born and the new motorcycle wore the blue and white roundel (which isn’t a spinning propeller, simply a representation of the colours of Bavaria).