BMW MOTORRAD’S ORIGINS

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week -

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).

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