Discussion Starter · #1 ·
An old read but still a good one that some of you may have not already seen:
Wednesday 16 October 2013 was a day to remember in Munich, Germany, as around 200 invited guests, journalists and TV crews gathered to celebrate 90 years of BMW Motorrad. Inside the BMW Museum, a packed auditorium of brand enthusiasts gathered to celebrate nine decades of two-wheeled success.
The 28th of September 1923 was the day when it all began for BMW motorcycles, when BMW presented the first motorcycle of its own – the R 32 – at the Berlin motor exhibition. The fundamental concept of this bike, with its horizontally mounted two-cylinder boxer engine and shaft drive, has survived to this day.
Among the guests who came to the museum to share in the celebrations were many luminaries who had been key players in the BMW Motorrad story over the years. These included former board members, development riders and engineers, designers, marketing, sales and factory colleagues – all united by a true passion for a brand they believe in, trust and share the values of technological innovation and sheer riding pleasure.
To get the visitors in the celebratory mood, a ‘90 Years in 90 Seconds’ film was shown, followed by the introduction of BMW Motorrad President Stephan Schaller, who began proceedings with an emotive speech on how proud he is to be part of this ongoing success story of a brand that has continuously evolved and developed into the modern and varied motorcycle manufacturer we know today, which offers so many different worlds of experience.
Schaller paid tribute to the many employees over the years that have played their part in the continuing growth of the company, despite difficult market conditions at times. He then introduced Board Member Peter Schwarzenbauer, who gave a potted history of the brand, accompanied by a timeline film comprising archive footage of BMW bikes in action through the decades, with many historical highlights and racing victories to savour. Schwarzenbauer was keen to stress that the first ever BMW vehicle was not a car – but a motorcycle – and from the humble origins of producing 1,500 bikes in its first production year, BMW has now delivered more than 2.8 million motorcycles to customers worldwide.
Then it was the turn of head of the BMW Museum Ralf Rodepeter to make an entrance into the auditorium on an original R 32 – one of only 50 left worldwide and one of the 140 bikes currently on show in the museum. After explaining the museum’s role in keeping BMW Motorrad history alive, it was time for former head of BMW Motorrad GmbH Marketing and Sales Karl Gerlinger and archive historian Fred Jakobs to take to the stage and talk about some of the challenges in the brand’s history and how bold strategic decisions taken in tough market conditions could well have saved the brand from an untimely demise. Despite relating events that happened nearly four decades ago, the spirited, animated anecdotes – especially from Gerlinger – were full of a passion that clearly survives to this very day.
Bringing proceedings right up to the present day was current Vice President Sales and Marketing, Heiner Faust, who arrived on stage on the latest R 1200 GS, accompanied by Vice President Development Christian Landerl and Vice President BMW Plant Berlin, Dr Marc Sieleman. The trio spoke of the brand’s growth and the global success of the latest GS model, how the Berlin factory’s assembly lines are every bit as advanced as the machines themselves and why there is nothing more satisfying than seeing your own products in action and being enjoyed out on the road – or trail.
Having covered the past and the present, the topic of conversation then moved swiftly to the future, with Stephan Schaller gliding into the auditorium on the new C evolution e-scooter that is currently undergoing series production. With the brand’s first two-wheeled offering in the all-electric urban mobility segment, Schaller explained the benefits of the synergy with the BMW i3 electric car in terms of storage technology and power management.
If up to this point, there was any doubt that emotion was a core value of the BMW Motorrad business, then the next arrival was the clearest example yet of the passion that has been driving the company forward for 90 years. Enter the amazing BMW R nineT – the latest highly emotional product to be added to the comprehensive model line-up.
A short film showing this new classic roadster in action whetted the appetites of all fans of custom boxer bikes present, before current head of BMW Motorrad Design, Edgar Heinrich, rode the real thing down the museum’s spiralling walkways and onto the stage – to the accompaniment of rapturous applause.
To see this latest BMW R nineT ‘in the metal’ was a perfect combination of ‘yesterday meets today meets tomorrow’, and the realisation of an idea that was originally sown a long time ago – well before the first BMW custom concept machine was unveiled back in 2008. Created to mark 90 Years of BMW Motorrad, the BMW R nineT radiates both purity and power, skilfully blending the boxer engine’s iconic character and classic design traits of bygone motorcycle eras with cutting-edge technology and a modular concept that offers a wide range of customization opportunities.
Reduced to the minimum, this emotionally charged custom boxer is no concept though – it will be built and go on sale in 2014. See it first at the EICMA international motorcycle show in Milan from 7 November, but if you can’t wait that long, watch its appearance in the film of the 90 Years celebration in the BMW Museum by clicking http://www.bmw.tv/web/com/video.do?...=6&sortType=DISPLAY_DATE&showMyPlaylist=false