When it comes to motorcycle brands, model identifiers often speak a language only the manufacturer comprehends. Most of us become familiar with these translations certainly as an enthusiast of that particular brand; achieving a ‘feel’ for its culture. And with more know-how in motorcycling, we eventually come to understand general references. Look at the sport bike class where “R” within the model’s name stands for “race” (sport) model –GSX R, R6, ZXR, RR, etc. Yet for the most, this decoding factor can be complex, with a logic all its own.
We’re all familiar with coding items to simplify product definitions. Women motorcycle riders, like men, are equally accustomed to such systems; just observe brassiere cup sizing. Denoted alphabetically, the bra in A, B, C and so on (developed in 1935 by Warner Bra Company) is just one example of a system we’re attune to using. When it comes to BMW motorcycles and decoding BMW Motorcycle Model Categories and types, it’s simply a matter of BMW logic. Yet to better understand the categorization of their models – we’ve provided here a translation of their model groups.
Understanding BMW Motorrad Motorcycle History
But first, let’s review BMW Motorcycles long history who initially started out before World War I as an aircraft engine manufacturer. It was during the Armistice, the Treaty of Versailles banned the German air force so the company initially called “Rapp Motorenwerke”, one of the first aircraft engine manufacturers in Germany, evolved to become BMW (Bavarian Motor Works / Bayerische Motoren Werke) A.G. They moved to making air brakes, agricultural machinery, toolboxes and office furniture—and then to motorcycles and cars. BMW manufactured its first motorcycle, the R32, in 1923. With the R32, BMW introduced the flat-twin boxer engine and even today still uses the flat-twin boxer configuration but, as you know, also manufactures motorcycles with a variety of engine configurations.
What About BMW Motorrad Motorcycle Logo?
Ever wonder about their logo and what relevance the famed circular blue and white has to do with motorcycling? Well, BMW’s logo, or ‘roundel’ as it’s often called, is rumoured to symbolize the motion of an aircraft propeller—which makes perfect sense. This symbol combined with the blue and white colours of the flag of Bavaria is what makes up the BMW “roundel” which most of the world identifies with-rider, car driver or not.
BMW Motorrad K Series
In Line 3 or 4 Cylinder Water Cooled 1200 – 1300 cc Engine Featuring Shaft Drive
- The first K-series production bike was the K100, introduced in 1983.
- A three-cylinder version of the K series had been produced in the mid 1980’s, including the K75, K75S and the K75T.
- On 25 September 2004, BMW globally launched a radically redesigned K Series motorcycle, the K1200S, containing an all new in-line four-cylinder, liquid-cooled engine featuring 123 kW (165 hp).
- Models are K1200LT, K1300GT, K1200R Sport, K1300R and K1300S.
BMW Motorrad F Series
Twin–Parallel Vertical Cylinder water-cooled 800cc engine featuring chain or belt drive.
- The F Series was first launched in 1994.
- Originally had a single-cylinder Rotax engine built in Austria. This was discontinued when the twin was introduced.It reappeared this year as the G650GS!
- Also available in a Dakar version
- Models are F650GS, F800GS, F800R, F800S and F800ST.
BMW Motorrad R Series
Twin Cylinder Boxer Engine 1200cc Engine Featuring Shaft Drive
- Introduced in 2004, a revamped twin-cylinder boxer engine of just less than 1200 cc capacity featuring shaft drive boxer engine.
- This engine is affectionately referred to a “hexhead” because of the shape of the cylinder cover. The motor itself is more powerful, yet the bikes are much lighter.
- Models are R1200GS, R1200R, R1200RT and R1200S.
BMW Motorrad G Series
Single Cylinder 450- 650cc Engine Featuring Chain Drive.
- In October 2006, BMW announced the G series of off-road style motorcycles co-developed with Aprilia.
- The 450 cc engines are manufactured by KYMCO in Taiwan
- The 650 cc engines are manufactured by Loncin Holdings, Ltd in China
- Models are G450X, G650GS (available in some markets), G650 Xmoto, G650 Xchallenge and G650 Xcountry.
BMW Motorrad HP Series
- Introduced in 2008, it’s the most powerful sportiest, lightest Boxer ever manufactured.
- Models are HP2 Enduro, HP2 Megamoto (both now discontinued) and the HP2 Sport
BMW Motorrad RR Series
- The S1000RR is a Superbike introduced to compete during the 2009 WSBK -World Superbike Championship and is now available for road.
- It is powered by a 999 cc (61 cu in) inline-four engine producing 193 bhp (144 kW).
- Available at retailers SINCE beginning 2010.
Here below The Rest of BMW Motorrad Series Suffixes Explained:
- C – Cruiser
- CS – Classic Sport
- G/S – Gelände Off-road” and Strasse – “Street”.
- GS – Gelände Sport -“Off-road Sport” (Enduro).
- GT – Gran Turismo – “Grand Touring”.
- LT – Luxus Tourer – “Luxury Tourer”.
- R – Road or Roadster – “naked bike”.
- RS – Reise Sport – “travel sport”.
- T – Reise Tourer – “travel tourer”.
- S – Sport.
- ST – Strasse (Street) or Sport Tourer.
- T – Touring.
And there’s more, you may find when reading product reviews, the following modifiers may be included denoting:
- A – ABS
- L – Luxury (i.e. R1150RSL)
- P – Police (i.e.: R1200RT-P)
- C – Custom
- PD – Paris Dakar
So now when you come across another rider who says they own a “F700GS” you’ll translate this to- – -twin parallel vertical cylinder, water-cooled 800cc engine with either chain or belt drive–sport!