a_BMW_logoBMW Motorrad is a brand used by German company BMW for its motorcycles, which have been manufactured since 1923. BMW Motorrad is a business unit within Corporate and Brand Development division of BMW.

BMW Motorrad builds fascinating, dynamic motorcycles for every purpose. Whether a trip to the ends of the earth or a training session on the race track, whether an exclusive luxury touring motorcycle or a cool urban bike: every motorcyclist will find just the right machine 


But there's more to riding fun than this: BMW Motorrad offers a comprehensive program going well beyond the bikes themselves, from highly functional and fashionable rider equipment to top-quality touring holidays and training trips all over the world.

BMW Motorrad has been developing innovative solutions since 1923. Whether in the field of design, engines, chassis, environmental responsibility or safety: BMW Motorrad occupies a leading position in all of them. Comprehensive service and a dense network of highly committed dealers guarantee exclusive BMW motorcycling pleasure virtually everywhere in the world.

Originally an aircraft engine manufacturer in the early 20th century and through World War I, BMW introduced the first motorcycle under its name, the R32, in 1923. Although BMW motorcycles have been long associated with their original engine configuration, the flat-twin boxer engine, the company today manufactures motorcycles in a variety of engine and riding configurations.

All BMW Motorrad's motorcycle production takes place at its plant in Berlin, Germany, although some engines are manufactured in Austria, China and Taiwan.

BMW Motorrad achieved sales of 101,685 motorcycles in 2008, with the most popular model being the R1200GS. In 2008, the company introduced the DOHC Boxer HP2 Sport. In 2008, BMW entered the serious off-road competition motorcycle market with the release of the BMW G450X motorcycle.

Current production includes a variety of shaft, chain and belt driven models from 450 cc to 1300 cc with models designed for off-road, dual-purpose, sport and touring activities. Motorcycles are produced in product families each with a different letter prefix


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History of the Plant

History of the Plant

The history of Bayerische Motoren Werke started in 1916 with the production of aircraft engines in Munich. The first BMW car, however, was built in Berlin: on 22 March 1929 the first BMW 3/15 PS's – also referred to colloquially as the "Dixie" – left the production hall rented by BMW near Berlin-Johannisthal Airport. The first BMW motorcycle, the R 32 featuring an air-cooled twin-flat engine and shaft drive, was presented a few years earlier in 1923 at the German Car Show in Berlin. And ever since this ingenious design and construction principle has remained the typical feature of most BMW motorcycles over a period of more than 80 years all the way to the new Boxer generation.

The BMW Plant Berlin was part of the team almost from the start: Like in Munich at BMW's original plant, the history of BMW AG started with the production of aircraft engines in Berlin, too. Ever since merging with Brandenburgische Motorenwerken (Bramo) in 1939, BMW employees had been working in the red brick halls at Juliusturm – producing, among other power units, the aircraft engines for the legendary Ju 52.

The first BMW motorcycle built in Berlin - a BMW R 60/2 – came off the assembly line in 1967, but the motorcycle of the Berlin Plant in the former aircraft engine plant started much earlier back in 1949 with production of the first parts for motorcycles still built in Munich back then. Over the years, motorcycle production was shifted step-by-step from Munich to Berlin, the Frame Production Shop, for example, going on line in 1958 and the Motorcycle Assembly Shop being opened in 1967. The last step in this process of moving to Berlin was in 1969, the establishment of Engine Assembly and the production of the successful BMW R75/5 making the Berlin Plant a fully-fledged motorcycle plant once and for all. And to this day, incidentally, Berlin remains the only production plant for BMW motorcycles the world over.

Leading the development of motorcycle technology, motorcycle production at the Berlin Plant has developed consistently in recent decades: Back in 1967 30 workers in assembly were enough for 40 motorcycles a day, assembling the motorcycle by hand at 12 assembly stations on the line. Nearly all parts and components required for this purpose were manufactured at the Plant, with a total workforce of not quite 400 employees working in motorcycle production back then. Apart from consistently modernising the facilities, motorcycle production as a whole was substantially expanded in 1983 upon the introduction of the K-Series, BMW AG investing some DM 500 million in an entirely new assembly building and system, as well as a highly automated production line for engine components. Ten years later the Company modernised and expanded the Assembly Hall and the Machining Shop for engine and chassis components upon the introduction of the new Boxer generation. And to assemble the single-cylinder F 650 models built at the Berlin Plant since spring 2000, an additional assembly line was installed to provide the capacity required.

Today a total of 1,861 employees build up to 550 motorcycles a day in BMW's three model series – motorcycles with a single-, two- or four-cylinder power unit. On 6 February 2001 this story of success reached a further highlight when the millionth BMW motorcycle from Berlin, an elaborately painted R 1150 RT, came of the assembly line and was auctioned on behalf of UNICEF in the internet. To achieve the growth targets set by the Company in the highly competitive motorcycle market, the BMW Group invested a total of more than Euro 117 million in the expansion of motorcycle production in the years 2001-2003. In February 2002 the Berlin Plant opened a brand-new production building for motorcycle assembly which, with its "intelligent" C-hook system, is absolutely unique throughout the worldwide motorcycle industry. Ultra-modern five-directional machining centres, a high-tech 10-directional laser cutting system, and a valve seat force-fit machine developed exclusively by BMW for production purposes are further examples of truly outstanding efficiency and flexibility – and, at the same time, serve to guarantee premium quality.

The same premium quality is ensured by the new Engine Assembly Shop with its highly flexible assembly system and high-tech testing equipment, which successfully entered operation in September 2003.

Since November 2003 the BMW Plant Berlin has been painting motorcycle parts in a new Paintshop, using trendsetting technologies and working to the highest standards of environmental protection. In all, this makes BMW's Motorcycle Plant in Berlin one of the most modern motorcycle plants in the world.

Apart from motorcycles, the Berlin Plant has been manufacturing components such as brake discs for car production ever since 1979. Accordingly, Berlin plays an active role within the BMW Group's production network, supplying automotive parts to the plants in Munich, Dingolfing, Regensburg, Leipzig, Steyr (Austria), Rosslyn (South Africa), and Spartanburg (USA).

Motorcycle production
Associates in motorcycle production 1,861
Share of skilled workers 95 %
Annual production at the Berlin Plant (2007) 96,008
Daily production in 2008 up to 520

BMW in the motorcycle market
Market share in Germany 19.2 %
Market share in Germany (plus 750-cc segment) 24.2 %
Market share worldwide (Forecast) 6.2 %
Export ratio 79.0 %


Engine Assembly

In the Engine Assembly Shop highly qualified, skilled workers assemble the individual components of the engine to form one complete unit. In all, we have 145 associates here producing all engine variants on an ultra-modern, ergonomically designed engine assembly system with no less than 89 carrier and support elements for the workpieces required.
Job assignments in the Engine Assembly Shop are determined automatically by an assembly computer. The engines themselves move along a horizontal conveyor line to the individual assembly stations, being branched off at various points wherever necessary. The workpiece carriers incorporate an integrated data transponder system comprising important assembly information for the individual engines. The current assembly status can furthermore be checked in detail by means of an integrated, web-based information system. High-tech testing and verification systems such as the combined cold and transmission test, as well as a test unit optimising the engines for the possible risk of leaks, round off the production process and improve the quality of the engines delivered to an even higher standard. And last but not least, five robots increase the degree of automation in engine assembly, serving, for example, to apply the sealant.

Working in two shifts, the production specialists need about 90 minutes to build a flat-twin power unit. Assembly of a straight-four engine, in turn, takes about 120 minutes.


Motorcycle Assembly

An electronic suspension track, a flexible and inductive conveyor system with suspension hooks, is the core piece of the BMW motorcycle assembly. The suspension hooks are called C-hooks because of their letter-like form. On these hooks the motorcycles are transported automatically and order-related through the whole assembly process.
The tools and testing systems receive all the information required by way of contact-free energy and data transfer, thus guaranteeing a secure, reliable and rational production process.
A precise location of every C-hook in the production process and the exact registration of the degree of completion provide an unprecedented standard of clarity for every single assembly step. Mounted on 180 degrees traversable assembly hooks, the motorcycles hover through the assembly station for a maximum of eight hours. Apart from the contact-free and therefore frictionless energy and data transmission, the system places the C-hooks in the ergonomically perfect working height which can be chosen individually by every associate according to model and production speed. Fixed to a C-hook, the motorcycles find their way along the electronic suspension track from the first assembly station until they reach the final packing station.

The process of motorcycle production starts in all cases by fitting the frame components on the engine and gearbox. Then come the driveshaft, the rear-wheel swinging arm, and the central spring strut. The rear wheel drive unit is added next, followed by the exhaust manifold and footrest plates. The next step is to fit the front wheel complete with the fork and Telelever longitudinal arm, the handlebar, instruments and controls, the rear section, rear wheel, silencer, and fuel tank. It takes about 100 minutes on the basic conveyor until a BMW motorcycle is ready to start. Already in road-going trim, the motorcycle comes off its assembly hook only once: This is in the test area, where up to nine employees riding motorcycles the whole day for up to 100 km without covering one single metre test the machines on the dynamometer at speeds of up to 120 km/h or 75 mph. In the process they focus on the motorcycle's ABS brake system, the brakes as such, the clutch, gearbox, front wheel suspension, the lights and suspension safety.


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