Marketeering often begets more marketeering. For fans of BMW motorcycles, that’s a good thing; because BMW Motorrad’s been making lots of noise about the R18 series in recent months (especially with yesterday’s announcement of the R18 B and R18 Transcontinental), we’ve got some associated moto content from the BMW Group Classic channel.
Normally, BMW Group Classic looks at the company’s cars, not its bikes. Not to worry, the show’s hosts enlist Fred Jacobs, one of BMW’s in-house historians, to walk the hosts around the collection.
The result? A walk through BMW’s ancient history. And, it sure is ancient stuff. You’re dealing with pre-World War II bikes here, starting as far back as 1922. The motorcycles back then were incredibly simple compared to modern machines, and even BMW, one of the most modern companies in the moto business today, once sold machines with antiquated features like hand-operated gear shift.
When the original R18 models started breaking cover in concept bike form, BMW said they took considerable design inspiration from the company’s earliest models. Looking at these pre-war bikes, that certainly looks to be the case! The colours and even the general styling shapes are very much in line with the company’s original roadsters.
It’s very interesting to get a look inside BMW’s collection, as these bikes would likely be off-limits for most Canadians these days. Most Euro manufacturers have an in-house museum that’s open to the public, and they’re mostly re-opening after COVID-19 shut them down last year—but that does us little good, if we can’t easily travel there, thanks to the pandemic. So, enjoy the history lesson, and the bikes, and remember: If you can actually get over to Europe, the manufacturers’ museums are well worth the visit in person.