5 Greatest bikes — BMW-News & Reviews-Motorcycle Trader

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29 Feb 2012 | World-renowned motorcycle Ian Falloon picks the five influential motorcycles of all time. is number 1 — the BMW R17.

Including an pre-war motorcycle here may incongruous, but the BMW R17’s telescopic front sets it apart. Many front ends have to supplant it – the Vincent Girdraulic, Earles and Telelever, and Bimota’s hub design – but the telescopic fork to this day.

During the the Nazis saw technological domination of as one of the most effective sources of propaganda. While bike wasn’t as strong a propaganda as GP car racing, motorcycling was still a activity in the ’30s and it was an industry totally dominated by the British. R17 was first shown at the Berlin Show in February, 1935, a price that made it the German bike of its day.

In many ways the R17 was a contradiction the old and the new. The hydraulic front was quite revolutionary for the time but it retained a rigid rear The engine dimensions of 83mm x were extraordinarily oversquare for the this short … the 750cc R17 to rev out to 5000rpm.

With a modest 6.5:1 ratio and twin 25.4mm carburettors, it produced 24.3kW sufficient for a top speed in the region of

In other respects the R17 was still an machine. It had a pressed steel and a right-side hand gearshift. by 1935 a hand-change gearbox a gate was an anachronism. It was no lightweight at 183kg.

While the R17 was an exotic and attractive imitating the styling of contemporary cars, it was really only a up R12 sidecar workhorse with a engine.

The humble origins many practical features as interchangeable 19in wheels identical 200mm single brakes, but for an expensive sports the R17 didn’t really have enough brakes and handling. revolutionary for 1935, the telescopic was decidedly underdeveloped with meagre one-way damping and of movement. A contemporary riding complained that they as if filled with molasses.

The R17 was an unremarkable motorcycle, but as the first motorcycle with a hydraulically telescopic front fork cemented in history as an influential



436 R17s were produced 1935 and 1937.

The side-valve R12 also shared the and telescopic fork of the R17 but was much successful, with more 36,000 built.

In 1935 BMW its first purpose-built racing the 500cc Kompressor. A shaft-drive with twin bevel-drive camshafts on each cylinder Bavarian policeman Schorsch rode it to the European Championship in and took the Isle of Man Senior TT in

In 1936 the R5 replaced the R17. The OHV R5 featured a new tubular steel and external damping adjustment for the fork. Not only did the R5 look more modern, it was 18kg than the R17 and it cost appreciably


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