Founder: Camillo Castiglioni, Franz Josef Popp, Karl Rapp
Headquarters: Munich, Germany
Official website: www.bmw-motorrad.com
BMW Motorrad is a motorcycle subdivision of BMW, and one of the world leaders in the production of motorcycles of all kinds. The company has a history of more than a century, during which the manufacturer proved itself to be professional and progressive.
Although BMW is best known for its automobiles, not many know that the first BMW motorcycle came before the first BMW car.
BMW cars have long occupied a special place in the luxury market as driver-focused machines, offering a dynamic driving experience while maintaining a high degree of sophistication. BMW Motorrad products are no different, offering sportiness, functionality, and luxury in equal measure, but for bikers.
What does BMW stand for?
BMW stands for “Bavarian Motor Works” (which is “Bayerische Motoren Werke” in German), and although the company is more known for its automobiles, its production of motorcycle engines predates the first car by nine years.
BMW AG was founded in Munich in 1916 and produced aircraft engines during World War I.
In 1921 the company began producing engines for other manufacturers’ motorcycles before producing its first motorcycle, the R 32, in 1923. This R 32 marked the beginning of the tradition of a shaft drive that would appear on all BMW motorcycles until 1994. Same with the name, since that time the brand prefers to give all their products alfa-numeric combinations as names.
After World War II in 1947, the company was allowed to start manufacturing motorcycles again in West Germany. However, BMW had to start from scratch because all of its surviving drawings and plans were in a facility in East Germany under Soviet control.
After a trademark lawsuit in 1952, motorcycles produced at the Eisenach plant in East Germany wore a red and white circle with the name EMW ( “Eisenacher Motoren Werke” ) to distance themselves from BMW. Nowadays, these motorcycles are highly sought after by collectors.
The visual identity of the BMW motorcycle subdivision fully repeats the logo of its mother brand, though is complemented by a longer wordmark, pointing to the purpose of the sub-brand and its products. Its iconic circular emblem is one of the most recognizable auto badges in the world, as its original design was based on the aircraft propeller, which was the initial specialization of the company.
The first logo for BMW Motorrad boasted a three-dimensional circular emblem with a white and blue pattern and a thick black frame with a silver outline. The “BMW” inscription was arched along the upper part of the frame, executed in a bold yet modest sans-serif typeface, in light silver. The “BMW Motorrad” lettering was usually written in black under the badge.
The redesign of 2020 simplified the iconic badge, making it flat, though keeping all the main elements in their places. The second biggest change of 2020 is the frame of the circular badge — it turned white, while the “BMW” lettering changed its color to black.
The wordmark was also rewritten and now it features all capital letters executed in thicker and stronger lines. The black inscription is enlarged and placed on the right from the emblem.
Emblem and Symbol
The famous BMW emblem boasts a pattern formed by two white and two blue sectors, the origin of which has long been the subject of legends.
In 1929, on the cover of an aviation magazine, BMW placed a photo of an airplane, whose spinning propellers resembled its symbol. At that time, the brand had just purchased a license for the production of new engines and wanted to increase sales with the help of advertising. As for the color palette of the badge, blue and white are colors of the Bavarian flag, but on the automaker’s visual identity they are placed in the wrong order.
Who owns BMW?
Both BMW and BMW Motorrad brands are owned by the parent company, BMW Group, headquartered in Munich. The list of other brands, owned by the company includes such loud names as Rolls-Royce and Mini.
Font and Color
The BMW Motorrad lettering from the refreshed logo of the brand is written in all capitals of a modern and powerful sans-serif typeface with bold lines and straight cuts of the letters. The type of the brand’s wordmark is very similar to such classic famous fonts as Sequel and Helvetica, but with some lines slightly modified.
As for the color palette of the badge, it is composed of white and blue colors the colors of Bavaria, the motherland of the brand, and additional black elements, which complete the look, adding a touch of professionalism and confidence.
BMW Motorrad takes the leading position in the world’s Enduro and Supermoto category, which was for example confirmed by the uncontested victory of the BMW R 1200 GS. The R 1200 RS and K 1300 S took second and third place respectively in the “Sport Road Motorcycles” category, thus proving their speed qualities together with their suitability for long-distance travel. And the BMW S 1000 R, which is a modern interpretation of a sporty and dynamic roadster, was awarded third place in the “Neuked” category.
Where is BMW made?
The main production facilities of the company are located in Germany, though BMW also has its plants in other European countries, United Kingdom, and the Asian region (mostly in China).
The 2020 R 1250 RS sport-touring bike is the new star of the German brand. Large, stylish, and functional, it is a versatile bike with the company’s new “Boxer,” which has 136 hp and 143 Nm of torque.