BMW Motorrad is the motorcycle brand of the German company BMW, part of its Corporate and Brand Development division. The current General Director of the unit is Hendrik von Kuenheim. BMW Motorrad has produced motorcycles since 1923, and revenues for 2009 were €1,069 million from the sale of 87,306 motorcycles, a drop on the 2008 figure of €1,230 million from the sales of 101,685 motorcycles. In May 2011, the 2,000,000th motorcycle produced by BMW Motorrad was a R1200GS.
BMW's first motorcycle, the R32
The company began as an aircraft engine manufacturer in the early 20th century and through World War I. BMW manufactured its first motorcycle in 1923, the R32, which featured a flat-twin boxer engine. BMW Motorrad still uses the flat-twin boxer configuration, but now manufactures motorcycles with a variety of engine configurations.
BMW's best selling motorcycle, the R1200GS
All BMW Motorrad's motorcycle production takes place at its plant in Berlin, Germany, although some engines are manufactured in Austria, China, and Taiwan. Most of the current motorcycles in BMW Motorrad's range were designed by David Robb, who was the company's chief designer from 1993 to 2012 when he was replaced by Edgar Heinrich.
BMW Motorrad produced 82,631 motorcycles in 2009, compared with 104,220 in 2008, a fall of 20.7% The most popular model is the R1200GS and its sibling R1200GS Adventure, which sold 24,467 units – accounting for 28% of BMW's annual production. Current production includes a variety of shaft, chain, and belt driven models, with engines from 650 cc to 1,649 cc; and models designed for off-road, dual-purpose, sport, and touring activities.
In 2008, BMW introduced the DOHC Boxer HP2 Sport, and entered the serious off-road competition motorcycle market with the release of the BMW G450X motorcycle.
BMW Motorrad motorcycles are categorized into product families, and each family is assigned a different letter prefix. The current families are:
- C series – Maxi-scooters called Urban Mobility Vehicles by BMW
- F series – parallel-twin engines of 798 cc capacity, featuring either chain or belt drive. Models are F650GS, F700GS, F800GS, F800R, F800S, F800GT and F800ST. The F650GS was powered by a single cylinder 652cc Austrian built Rotax engine.
- G series – single-cylinder engines of 449 to 652 cc capacity featuring chain drive. Models are G450X (now discontinued), G650GS, G650 Sertão, G650 Xmoto, G650 Xchallenge and G650 Xcountry. The 450 cc engines are manufactured by Kymco in Taiwan. The 2009 and 2010 650 cc engine parts were manufactured by Rotax in Austria, with the engine being assembled by Loncin Holdings, Ltd in China.
- R series – twin-cylinder boxer engines of 1,170 cc capacity featuring shaft drive. Models are R1200GS, R1200R, R1200RT, BMW R1200RS, R1200S and R nineT.
- K series – four-cylinder engines of 1,157 to 1,649 cc capacity featuring shaft drive. Models are K1200LT, K1300GT, K1300R and K1300S. In 2011, BMW Motorrad launched the six-cylinder 1,649 cc K1600GT and K1600GTL.
- S1000RR – sport bike with transverse-mounted, 999 cc inline-four engine.
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