BMW (motorcycles): 1st model ever

BMW logo 1917
BMW logo 1917
Name: "BMW R32"

Category: Motorcycles

Subcategory: Standard

Designer: Max Friz

Producer: BMW - Bayerische Motoren Werke (founded on March 7, 1916 in Munich, Bavaria, Germany, by Franz Josef Popp, Karl Rapp, and Camillo Castiglioni)

Production start: 1923 - Munich, Bavaria, Germany (debut on September 28, 1923 at the Berlin Exhibition)

Discontinued: 1926

First price: 2,200 Reichsmark

Features: BMW R32, the first BMW motorcycle, was produced using the two-cylinder four-stroke boxer engine previously supplied to other manufacturers. This was modified for transverse configuration and fitted with a directly blocked three-speed transmission. Instead of a chain drive, which is susceptible to wear-and-tear, the force of the drive was transferred to the grease-filled bevel gear casing on the rear wheel by means of a cardan shaft. The longitudinally ribbed cylinders were cast in a single piece together with the cylinder heads and feature vertical valves. Engine Type: four-stroke two-cylinder flat twin (boxer). Bore/stroke: 68 x 68 mm. Cubic capacity: 494 cm3 / 30 in.3. Maximum power: 8.5 HP at 3,200 RPMs. Compression ratio 5.0 : 1. Valves per cylinder: 2 SV. Carburetion system: 1 carburettor Type BMW Spezial 22mm. Engine lubrication: forced-feed lubrication. Oil pump: gear pump. Clutch: single discs, dry. Number of gears: 3. Shifting: manual. Gear ratios: 2.27 / 1.50 / 1.08. Rear wheel ratio: 4.41 : 1. Bevel/crown wheel: 17 / 75 teeth. Generator: magneto generator (on request). Ignition: Bosch magneto ignition. Spark plugs: Bosch W 145. Type of frame: twin-loop, tubular. Front suspension: twin cantilever spring. Rear suspension rigid (none). Wheel rims: 26 x 2.5. Tires front: 26 x 3. Tires rear: 26 x 3. Brakes front: drum brake Ø 150 mm (1924 and on). Brakes rear: block brake. Length x width x height: 82.7 x 31.5 x 37.4 inches (2100 x 800 x 950 mm). Wheel base: 54.3 inches (1380 mm). Tank capacity: 3.7 gals. (14 liters). Unladen weight, full tank: 269 lbs. / 122 kg. Fuel consumption: 78 MPG (± 3 liters / 100 km). Oil consumption: ± 6.2 quarts / 1000 miles (± 2.5 liters / 1000 km). Top speed: ± 60 MPH (± 96 km/h).

Max Friz
Max Friz
Urach, Oct. 1, 1883
- Tegernsee, June 9, 1966,
the German engineer
who developed the
BMW R32 motorcycle
Interesting facts: BMW is set up in Munich during World War One as the successor to Rapp Motoren-Werke, an aircraft engine plant founded in 1913. Its first product is the IIIa aircraft engine, containing legendary engine designer Max Friz's altitude carburettor. On July 21, 1917, Rapp-Motorenwerke is renamed Bayerische Motoren Werke GmbH. The outlook for the fledgling company brightens up with the development of the two-cylinder M2 B 15 engine - which is also supplied to several motorcycle manufacturers. In consideration of the two cylinders arranged opposite to one another, as well as the pistons operating in the opposite direction, these power units are referred to as "Boxers". This engine found its main use in Nuremberg-based Victoria motorcycles, helping them to outstanding success in 1921. The neighbouring aircraft manufacturer, Bayerische Flugzeug-Werke, also fitted the BMW engine into their Helios model, together with a transmission likewise supplied by BMW. In 1922 it sells its engine production and the name BMW to Bayerische Flugzeugwerke (Bavarian Aircraft Works) and moves into their factory. The aircraft-maker's founding date, 7 March 1916, thus becomes the new founding date of Bayerische Motoren Werke AG. General Director of BMW Franz Josef Popp and Design Director Max Friz agreed to a near-term solution of redesigning the Helios to make it more saleable and a long-term solution of an all new motorcycle design. This new design was designated the BMW R32 and began production in 1923, becoming the first motorcycle to be badged as a BMW, and the foundation for all future boxer-powered BMW motorcycles.

Property: BMW Bayerische Motoren Werke AG - BMW Motorrad

Producer website:

BMW R32 engine
BMW R32 engine (1923). The first engine product by BMW was the M2 B15, and engineer Max Friz used this as a basis for the R32.

BMW R32 design
BMW R32, drawings were completed in only four months (1923)

BMW R32 factory
BMW R32 factory in Munich, Bavaria, Germany (1923)

BMW R32, 1923
BMW R32 left
BMW R32 left-detail
BMW R32 right
BMW R32 right-detail
BMW R32, the first BMW motorcycle (1923)

BMW R32 and Max Friz in a stamp
BMW R32 and its designer Max Friz in a commemorative stamp (2008)

BMW Motorrad Days 2013
BMW Motorrad celebrates 90 years (1923-2013). Over 40,000 participants at the 13th BMW Motorrad Days (July 5 to 7, 2013), Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Munich.

BMW Motorrad 100th Anniversary 1923-2023
BMW Motorrad celebrates 100 years (1923-2023) with a special exhibition at the BMW Museum in Munich, Germany