Saturday, August 14, 2010

Book Review: The BMW Boxer Twins Bible

Here's another book review for

I'd written before about BMW reference books, the coffee table version for the folks who just want to gaze at beautiful pictures and have a little bit of history to read if desired:  The Art of BMW - 85 Years of Motorcycling Excellence.

Following up, I wrote a review about the next level of BMW reference books, more technical details, still lots of great photography but of real life people using these magnificent machines, along with more history and stories:  BMW Boxer Twins.

This book is for the serious BMW aficionado wishing to become a cognoscenti of the Boxer Twins.  I could see this book being carried by judges at some Concours event for BMW Airheads, which is what the Boxer Twins are affectionately known as, to be used as reference for "correctness" for a model year.

An imagined discussion between two judges would go along the lines of:  "Look Hans, for the 1978 /7 model, the carburetors has "L" and "R" cast onto the top of the rocker covers, this one does not! Oh, and look, the piston circlips are not of the Seeger-pattern!  This is obviously not a "correct" 1978 /7!"  

Click on the photo above for a link to the book on

To give you an idea, this book goes through the entire range of air-cooled models from 1970-1995.  The differences between model years, no matter how insignificant, are listed.  You get a thorough understanding of the progression of the airheads over the 25 years involved.

Want to know the frame numbers assigned to each model year and model type, this book is for you.

Ever wonder how many of your type of airhead were made, and when?  This book is for you.

Want to know what were the major differences between the /5, /6 and /7 series of airheads?  Their characteristics and handling?  Why BMW created the succeeding series?  This book is for you.

Want to be able to say you know what models had a type 246 engine vs a type 247 engine and what made them different?  This book is for you.

The level of detail involved per model year is very extensive.  At one point, I was expecting them to tell me the name of the factory worker who assembled a specific motorcycle and what he preferred in terms of beer brands!

For such a thin book, it's packed with technical and historical reference data.  As with the other two books, loads of great photographs of each model year as well.  As a bonus, the last section of the book details the history of the racing versions of the /5, /6 and /7s, which I found interesting in terms of learning how great they did at first until the limits of the technology were reached.

If you end up getting this book, in part due to this review, please tell the good folks at about this review!  Thanks.

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