Thursday, July 29, 2010

Book Review: BMW Boxer Twins

As a follow-up review to my first book review for, I give you my impressions on Ian Falloon's book on the legendary Boxer Twins from BMW.

Bottom line: This book has more technical specifications per model year of the Boxer engined motorcycles made by BMW than you can shake a stick at!  Along with great photography of BMW racing models and productions models, it's a great guide to the many models and designs stemming from the R32 all the way to the R1100s motorcycles.

Link to book on

The book is laid out by year, introducing each model that was produced for that year.  Technical specifications and differences between succeeding and preceding model years are listed in comparison charts.  Highlighting of significant changes or improvements are detailed including why they came about.

For the technically minded wrencher comparing BMW motorcycle models, or even the basic wrencher as yours truly, this book is a great guide to finding out the differences between model years.  Having this book can give one a fair start at becoming one of the Beemer Cognoscenti!

This book also caters to the motorcycle racing enthusiast who is biased towards the BMW Marque, giving great technical details and photography of the racing heydays of BMW in the late 20s and 30s.  

Some of the things I learned that stuck out in my reading as I cruised through the years BMW made motorcycles, wading sometimes through the strong technical content and plethora of specifications:

The very popular and successful /5 models, whose frames were apparently very flexible due to their design, had a nickname of "Gummi Kas" or Rubber Cow. What a great nickname!  Similar to what the Big 1150 GS motorcycles "enjoy" in terms of a nickname, though I've heard them referred to just as "big cows" due to their bulk and weight.  All in affectionate terms, of course. (Well, mostly)

 The R75 /5
picture source: BMW Motorrad

The RS model designation was an attempt to tie in the model to the Rennsport racing reputation.  The bleeding edge technology it introduced in its "wind tunnel designed" fairing marked the true beginning of today's continental-distance crushing sport-touring motorcycles.

picture source: BMW Motorrad

The advent of the GS Dualsport, from it's beginning as the now regarded as classic R80 G/S to the large displacement (and weight) 1200 GS are carefully detailed and illustrated, each variation carefully shown to the casual reader.  I can see one of these beauties in my garage, someday:

The R80 G/S  "Gelande / Strasse"
picture source:  BMW Motorrad

The book covers the models and changes made up till 2004 when the  book was published.  It's not an exhaustive compilation of all the extensive motorcycling knowledge embodied by the BMW Marque but it's pretty close to what most Beemer riders/aficionados/cognoscenti will want in terms of a ready reference to the different models made by BMW Motorrad.

The many great photographs of BMW's racing greats, the racers and the production motorcycles will draw the casual reader's eyes and the technical wealth of information should satisfy the average seeker of such knowledge.

Highly recommend this book as your "field guide" to the made models of BMW motorcycle, specially if you're thinking of acquiring one as it'll tell you the subtle and not-so-subtle differences between each type and model year.

If you end up acquiring this book, in part because of this review, please let know you read about it here!

1 comment:

Richard Machida said...

The site was down.

Thank you for the book review. I have been thinking about getting it but haven't had an opportunity to actually see it in real life.