PCL’s People with Passion
BMW Enters the Motorcycle Scene
Much like PCL, BMW began life manufacturing aircraft parts – engines to be precise. A German company, at the end of World War I, they were ordered by the Treaty of Versailles to stop producing aircraft engines, which is when they turned to making industrial engines, along with farm equipment, household items, and railway brakes, before eventually creating the M2B15, a flat-twin petrol engine which originally designed to be a portable industrial engine but was used by motorcycle manufacturers.
In 1922, the BFw Helios became the starting point for the BMW motorcycle. In 1923, while other manufacturers were still using total-loss oiling systems, BMW revolutionized the motorcycle engine by featuring a recirculating wet sump oiling system with a drip feed to roller bearing on their BMW R 32 – a design that BMW used until 1969. The R 32 also featured a shaft drive, which was used on all BMW motorcycles until 1994!
BMW continued to innovate, and in 1937 Ernst Henne set a world land-speed record that stood for 14 years on a BMW 500 Kompressor racing motorcycle. BMW began to dominate in road racing. In 1939, a BMW ridden by Georg Meier won the Isle of Man TT race, making him the first-ever non-Briton to win on a German bike.
BMW hit a bump in the road after World War II, nearly going under when part of Germany’s surrender terms to the US forbade the manufacture of motorcycles in the country. However, the US revoked that rule in 1947, and BMW was again able to make motorcycles, however all of their schematics and designs had been confiscated or destroyed during the war! So BMW started from scratch by reverse engineering their own pre-war motorcycles.
In the 1960s, BMW nearly shut down again as demand for motorcycles fell off in favor of cars, however their car manufacturing division kept them afloat. They eventually were able to capture the affluent customer base in the west and began marketing toward them. By the 1970s, they were building larger and more comfortable motorcycles, setting the tone to become a leading luxury brand, as well as dipping their toes into the world of long-distance off-road racing.
Today, BMW is a well-known brand and in demand! Much like PCL, they weathered the storms of the World Wars, building back better and stronger and diversifying to fill new niches. To all the fans and riders worldwide, the story of BMW is inspiring! We know there are many more stories out there, but this will conclude our motorcycle series. Are you a BMW owner? Do you have a motorcycle that you love? Share your pics and inspirational stories with us on Instagram @pcltireinflation and use the hashtag #PCLlove! Questions? Need your own PCL products? Email us at email@example.com.