Barnstormer: The Story of BMW Motorcycles
Motorcycling should be an enchantment, and for many BMW riders it is... but that, as you may discover by reading this rather unusual history, is by no means the secret of BMW's success. Most of themakers of the great classic motorcycles started full of enthusiasm, only to meet disenchantment later; BMW, on the other hand, began as aero-engine specialists who built their first motorcycles with no enthusiasm at all, but found themselves falling more deeply in love with the things as the years progressed.
Was it luck, genius, or the new stove in the chief engineer's office? Whatever the reason, BMW got their design right at their first serious attempt, in 1923. The basic concept was so good that it has lasted them ever since: the latest R100RS is twice as big, twice as fast and nearly twice as heavy as that seminal R32. The modern BMW is not just a motorcycle, it is an inheritance.
It was nearly spent, on more than one occasion. This is not a glossy story of roses, roses all the way; there are tales of good and of bad luck, of good and bad management. Sometimes the firm saved the bikes, sometimes the bikes saved the firm. Always, however, there was a coterie, almost an elite, of motorcyclists who would not break faith with the mellowing two-wheelers from Munich. There were racers and potterers, clubmen and loners, each able to find a BMW to match his temperment; and sometimes all might be content with one and the same BMW, because it was as much a question of quality as of design.
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