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Antigo 12-04-2009, 00:51   #4
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BMW wins the German Off-Road Championship and begins to build a reputation in the category. Meanwhile, British sales balloon by 61% despite poor sales figures in the U.S. The success of BMW in England is due largely to the police force there which has come to prefer BMW motorcycles. Fully 86 BMW dealerships have sprouted up in the U.K. to meet the increased demand.

Intended for use on the K-Series, which was under development at the time, single swinging arm suspension (or Monolever) first appeared on the R80G/S ('Gelandestrasse' or "Road and Street" motorcycle) twin. This much-anticipated light off-road machine ran an 800cc engine that could muster 50BHP of power at 6500rpm. Though it handled differently off-road than on, it performed admirably in test circuits. Offered in a white with an orange seat and blue with a black, other manufacturers would knock-off motorcycles that looked similar but didn't hold up in off-road situations. BMW also displayed the Futuro concept bike, and high-tech, almost Sci-Fi prediction of the motorcycles of the future.

The R80G/S, driven by Hubert Auriol, wins the grueling Paris-Dakar rally solidifying its reputation as a serious cross-country machine. It is the first of 4 Paris-Dakar victories for BMW. Though the demand for motorcycles is generally falling at this time, an earlier restructuring by BMW minimizes the strain put on the company and it continues to manufacture under stable conditions. At the end of the year, BMW announces its intention to produce water cooled four cylinder motorcycles. For many, this begs the obvious question, "What will happen to the twin?"

BMW sets aside substantial funds in a plan to double motorcycle production by 1985. Though the strategy proved over ambitious with only 37,104 of the intended 60,000 motorcycles actually being manufactured, the investment in infrastructure combined with rumors about the water-cooled fours creates a great deal of anticipation for the coming year. Simultaneously, and unwilling to abandon the boxer, BMW produces a pure road version of the R80G/S called an R80RT.

For the first time since 1923 BMW makes a drastic departure from the twin by introducing the K 100. It is the first of the water-cooled K-series machines and quickly earns the knickname "flying brick." Developed by Joseph Frizenwenger who took a longitudinally mounted in-line engine and turned it horizontally, the K 100 musters 90 bhp at 8,000 rpm and reaches a top speed of 132mph. It is the first production motorcycle with electric ignition and fuel injection. A racing version of the four-cylinder K 100, called the K 100 RS, is also rolled out. Not to be eclipsed by the new machine, the twin claims another Paris-Dakar victory under the skilled maneuvering of Hubert Auriol.

Hubert Auriol continues to rack up Paris-Dakar victories, this time accompanied by teammate Gaston Rakier. A touring version of the K Series is released (K 100 RT) and BMW announces plans to continue the manufacture of both 4-cylinder and flat-twin engines in a ratio of 60%-40% respectively. The year's new Boxers are all equipped with a lightweight clutch and lower-powered engine giving them a characteristic pleasant, smooth ride.

BMWs designs its only three-cylinder motorcycle to date, the K 75 C. Using 50% common parts with its older brother the K 100, it has excellent fuel economy (57 miles per gallon), more nimble handling and considerable power (75 bhp at 8,500 rpm) reaching a top speed of 124 mph.

The addition of a sports fairing and other minor modifications turns the K 75 C into the K 75 S - BMW's only three-cylinder sports motorcycle. Boxer innovation keeps pace with the re-launch of the limited edition R 100 RS now with monolever rear suspension and a 60 bhp engine. Though produced as a limited edition machine, it goes on to become very popular. BMW is now offering motorcycles in 48, 50, 60, 70 and 90BHP options.

The R 100 RT is re-launched this year with monolever rear suspension and a smaller 60 bhp engine (the original was 70 bhp). BMW's double-jointed single-sided swing arm Paralever system makes its debut this year. And again, BMW continues to produce for both the twins and K-Series by offering the 1000-cc K 100 LT luxury cruiser a 580 lb. behemoth generating 90 bhp at 8,000 rpm.

Known as the "biggest dirt bike in the world" and weighing in at a healthy 463 lbs., the R 100 G/S goes into production this year. Utilizing a stronger frame with longer forks, BMW touted the numerous modifications on this model by claiming you can "count the number of unchanged components on one hand." The R 80 G/S also goes into production with an optional Paris-Dakar version complete with larger fuel tank. Continuing to veer away from its traditional aesthetics, the new motorcycles were offered in classic black and also yellow. BMW is the first company to make machines with electronic/hydraulic ABS, considered motorcycling's safety aid of the decade.

Designed the year before, BMW puts the futuristic K1, their fastest road-going machine, into production. Overseen by the head of design at the time, Martin Probst, the avant-garde motorcycle comes complete with the first-ever digital engine electronics system. With a 1000 cc, four-cylinder engine it can generate a massive power output of 100 bhp at 8,000 rpm and is clocked at 143 mph. The K1 alienates some BMW traditionalists with its flashy bright red finish and yellow graphics, but it garners numerous headlines throughout the year flying in the face of the conventional perception of BMW.

A four-valve modified version of the K 100 RS is launched this year. It will go on to be named motorcycle of the year five years running. 35,000 K 100 RSs have been sold since its first production period in 1983. ABS is now standard on all K-Series machines, a trend not adopted by other manufacturers except on their high-end machines. BMW is producing motorcycles at a robust rate of 26,000 per year.

On March 18, 1991 the one millionth BMW motorcycle rolls off the factory production floor. It is a three-cylinder K 75 RT that is eventually donated to the Red Cross. Since it began producing motorcycles, BMW has now sold 230,000 singles, 634,000 twins and 136,000 multis. And of this army of machines, 50% are still reported to be on the road. Not content to rest on its laurels, BMW begins outfitting all its motorcycles with three-way catalytic converters. It is the first company to do so. And as a seeming tip of the hat to its heritage, BMW re-releases the R 100 R, last seen in 1976, complete with retro-styling. It turns out to be a popular decision, and 8,041 are sold by 1992.

BMW continues to produce machines to meet increasing demand. 25,761 R Series (twins) and 11,408 K-Series, including the new K 1100 LT are sold. This in a year when worldwide motorcycle sales are dropping. Despite initial fears of the boxers demise during the early K-Series years, the flat-twin continues to sell (and perform) well with 100,000 units sold since the first K-Series was released in 1983. This number is all the more impressive when considered against the roughly 600,000 twins that have been sold since the R 32 in 1923. In fact, BMW offers eight Boxer models in this year.

With the second generation ABS system introduced this year, a new generation Boxer appears as the R 1100 RS sports tourer. Powered by a fuel-injected, eight-valve, twin-cylinder engine (model name R 259) it achieves 90 bhp at 7250 rpm. The new twin is fitted with both Paralever rear suspension and the new Telelever front suspension. BMW also releases the K 1100 RS, which sports the new ABS II. In off-road, about 62,000 G/S and GS machines have been bought.

BMW's first production single in 30 years, designed the year before, is the F 650 Funduro. It is actually the result of a joint effort by the new European Union. BMW, along with Italian manufacturer Aprilia and Austrian brand Rotax, designs this 650-cc, four-valve single with power output measuring 48 bhp at 6,500 rpm. The R 1100 GS enduro is also rolled out this year featuring an ABS braking system which can be turned off during off-road use. In a departure from their current designs, BMW makes the R 850 R and the R 1100 R twins - unique as they are the first BMWs in years to have no form fairing.

Comprehensive fairing characterizes the R 1100 RT touring machine that is unofficially named the most weatherproof high-speed machine ever. Aside from including catalytic converters standard on all motorcycles, BMW initiates a retro-fitting program to upgrade older models. For the first time in its history, BMW produces over 50,000 motorcycles in one year. However, this is also the last year that the two-valve traditional Boxer is produced.

With the new year, the old two-valve Boxers and the three-cylinder K 75 Series are phased out of production. This signals the end of a 70-year period of German motorcycle history. Since 1923, 685,830 old Boxers have been sold with 467,900 of them having been produced in Berlin since 1969. But while they did away with the old, they also ushered in the new, introducing the company's most powerful motorcycle to date, the four-cylinder liquid-cooled K 1200 RS.
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