In 1923, you purchased your fuel from the pharmacy. Penicillin was nonetheless years from being found. And a German plane producer would launch a product that might change the trajectory of the corporate for the subsequent 100 years.
Quite a bit has occurred since BMW constructed their first bike—the enduring BMW R32. However so much has stayed the identical, too. The German marque nonetheless builds boxer motors, their nomenclature hasn’t modified a lot, and each BMW bike nonetheless has a pair of roundels adorning it.
One thing else that’s change into a BMW staple is the annual BMW Motorrad Days competition. First established in 2002, Motorrad Days is a celebration of the model that pulls fans from everywhere in the world, with an estimated 37,000 attendees at this 12 months’s particular centennial version in Berlin. We’ve been to Motorrad Days a few occasions—and though it’s a brand-specific affair, it’s all the time time.
Wanting to unfold the like to the opposite aspect of the pond, BMW adopted this 12 months’s occasion up with the primary ever BMW Motorrad Days Americas. Hosted by BMW Motorrad USA and held along side the Barber Classic Competition in Birmingham, Alabama, the occasion paid homage to the model’s historical past whereas trying to its future.
In attendance was Udo Gietl, the person answerable for taking BMW from an organization largely targeted on touring to the winners of the inaugural AMA Superbike Championship. The gorgeous Butler and Smith R90S piloted by Reg Pridomore was on show too.
On Saturday, BMW homeowners might take to Barber’s 3.83 km [2.38 mile] monitor in an unique alternative that noticed classic and fashionable BMWs parade the monitor collectively. Udo’s son Eric donned his leathers and let the R90S stretch its legs.
Peter Nettesheim of the Nettesheim Museum was there too. Based mostly in Huntington, New York, the Nettesheim Museum might have the most important non-public assortment of BMW Bikes on the earth.
Peter, who offered a number of bikes to be displayed, additionally proved that his bikes aren’t simply good to take a look at. He and his daughter, Kate, took to the monitor on Classic BMWs, iterating that motorcycling is a household affair.
Austin-based Revival Cycles additionally made the journey to BMW Motorrad Days Americas, and hosted a ‘ride-in’ customized bike present for BMWs. The winner of the present was provided an invite to show their bike on the standard Handbuilt Present within the spring.
For these whose tastes skew in direction of fashionable equipment, BMW introduced the newly-released R1300GS to ogle at. The 1,300 cc boxer was well-received, with hoards of onlookers circling the stage like vultures, ready for the reveal. The ‘Proving Floor’ demo space offered a chance to check a smorgasbord of recent bikes—together with an off-road part for anybody trying to check out the ever-popular GS vary.
Numerous R nineT and R18 fashions represented the heritage vary—together with the brand new R18 Roctane and a slew of aftermarket equipment for it. To make sure selection, BMW additionally introduced the cheeky CE02 electrical scooter.
If circling the monitor behind a tempo automotive left you unhappy, BMW ambassador and Skilled racer Nate Kern was on website for Kern Monitor Days within the days following the Barber fest.
With over 20 years of expertise as a racer and BMW tester, Nate is aware of easy methods to get probably the most out of his tools and abilities, and desires to share that information with anybody that can pay attention; a real ambassador of the game. (He additionally fields a slightly spicy BMW R nineT in Moto America’s Tremendous Hooligan sequence.)
As a part of the Barber Classic Competition, Motorrad Days spilled over into the distinguished Barber Museum too. Elsewhere, a pinstripe artist confirmed off his abilities, children ripped pushbikes round a particular course, and police riders tackled a technical gymkhana. Bikes, meals, drink and leisure; there was greater than sufficient to go round.
Whereas there was no affirmation of a 2024 occasion, we’re optimistic. Should you’re a fan of the model, taking a pilgrimage to Motorrad Days, both in Germany or America, is a requirement. And if you happen to aren’t at the moment on a BMW, perhaps depart your pockets at dwelling.
Photos courtesy of, and with due to, BMW Motorrad USA