Thursday, July 15, 2010

Book Review: The Art of BMW - 85 Years of Motorcycling Excellence

 I recently arranged a deal with whereby they'd send me books I showed an interest in and they let me review them in my byline.

The regular readers of this byline of mine know I favor the BMW Motorcycle Marque almost to a fault so my first book review should come as no surprise to you.

The book's author is Peter Gantriis and the wonderful photography is by Henry Von Wartenberg.  It is a coffee table type book in that its main attraction are the beautifully photographed motorcycles made by BMW from the first model in 1925, the R32 to the 2007 R1200S motorcycle.  All of them are beautiful machines in their own right.

Now, while the photographs are great, the author's writings on the history of BMW and the particular tidbits of information on specific models is what makes the book a must-have book for any BMW Motorcycle enthusiast!

Some snippets from the book's information that I found personally interesting:

Origins:  The first motorcycles made with the BMW M2B15 which was the first version of the famed Boxer engine were the Flink and the Helios, both of which never caught on due to weak frames.  The engine was loved but the frames were lacking.  Max Fritz was given the job of designing a proper motorcycle frame by BMW and the result was the R32, it was the start of a legendary marque.

The R32 was the first motorcycle to have the M2B33 (a descendant of the M2B15) side-valve boxer twin that produced a modest 8.5 horsepower.  It was mounted transversely across the chassis, virtually the same layout used in every BMW Boxer since.

1941:  The R71:   Regular readers of mine also know I ride a Ural Sidecar Rig, the first versions of which were a direct copy of the BMW R71 made for the German Army before World War II.  Here's some tidbits I found interesting:

Designed primarily as a sidecar motorcycle, the R71 was designated to replace the aging R12.  Its power came from the familar side-valve 746cc engine fed by twin Graetzin carburetors.

The final run of R71s was made in the spring of 1941, the exigencies of the war forced this line of motorcycles to end and the military version, the R75, came out at the same time that spring.

                                                        picture source:

The r90S, BMW's high-performance flagship, appeared in 1974, and it caught the entire motorcycling community by surprise.

With its remarkable new fairing and beautiful paint finish, the R90S set new styling standards-not just for BMW, but for the entire motorcycling industry.

It is the R90S's style and flair that I sought to emulate by attaching an "S" fairing onto Brigitta, my 1987 R80 Beemer.

 Brigitta, my R80 BMW wit the S Fairing of the Iconic R90S BMW

In sum, this book is the perfect coffee table type book for the motorcycling enthusiast who wishes to illustrate to non-cognoscenti the beauty he or she sees in the BMW Motorcycle Marque.  Though some technical details are inherently unavoidable as you are reading about riding machines, the photographs take center stage for the reader.

I will be reviewing other books about the BMW Boxer twin motorcycles, each book increasing the level of technical detail and complexity it relates to the reader.  I see this book as the "gateway" book into the world of BMW motorcycles, it is "eye candy" for the motorcycling enthusiast in your life.

 This book is distributed by, if you end up buying the book due in part to this review, please let them know.

1 comment:

richard said...

i have ridden and own many marquess and bmw is my favorite...
same with cars...
i like to ride, or drive and prefer my wrenching at my convenience, not unexpected or frequent maintenance...
the older airheads are my favorite...
/2's are fine, but cleaning the oil slingers is a job....
my brother of the wind, i certainly enjoyed your post...
ride safe and like your invisible, or you'll end like me, run down on your bike, my paris -dakar 1990 was destroyed...i fared better
bought another, ar80st, and a single brit iron and hardly=dangerous sit in storage

lake texoma, texas

ps...gave my r60/5 1971 to my grandson the day he was born...he is four now, and he likes the horn button and starter...guess it time to take him camping in our r75/6 sidecar rig