BMW Motorrad has launched two new limited (and special) edition motorcycles to commemorate their upcoming 100-year anniversary: the 2023 BMW R nineT 100 Years and R 18 100 Years Editions. As you’ve seen from the events celebrating 50 years of BMW M in 2022, BMW knows how to mark milestone anniversaries, so you better believe that 2023 will bring lots of exciting BMW Motorrad news and events.
In a recent BMW press release, BMW shares where it all began: “In December 1922, BMW chief designer Max Friz put the first full-scale BMW motorcycle on the drawing board. At its heart was a 494-cc, 8.5 horsepower, air-cooled two-cylinder, four-stroke boxer engine. The first BMW motorcycle, the R 32, was unveiled in September 1923 at the German Motor Show in Berlin. Production began that same month in an area of the BMW engine works on the edge of Munich’s Oberwiesenfeld airfield. Just 56 motorcycles were built that first year. Those humble beginnings of BMW motorcycle production launched an unprecedented success story that would span a century.”
While the heart of the new R nineT 100 Years is the familiar air/oil-cooled, 1,170-cc, 109-horsepower two-cylinder boxer engine, it is outfitted with numerous Option 719 parts. Option 719, you ask? I asked, and per BMW Motorrad, “Since 1923, the abbreviation 719 has been representing special, individual customer requests at BMW Motorrad, which have been created at our plants as special orders on the basis of great craftsmanship and a significant attention to detail. We have created Option 719 as a tribute to this production process. Use it to give various BMW Motorrad models an even more personal, top-quality touch.”
The Option 719 parts include paint-on-chrome surfaces and artfully milled parts and wheels. BMW calls the paint-on-chrome process Classic Chrome, which BMW describes, “the metal tank is first polished to a high gloss. The surface must be completely free of dust and scratches for further treatment. After this step, the part is immersed in various electroplating baths. Layers of copper, nickel and ultimately chromium are applied. The finished chrome-plated part is then painted in several layers; a final coat of clear coat covers the entire tank.” It’s a much different process than how it was accomplished even 50 years ago.
Additional Option 719 touches on the R nineT 100 Years include wheels, milled cylinder head covers, various engine-related covers, seat holders, hand levers, foot pegs, and handlebar end mirrors.
The R 18 100 Years sports the 1,802-cc, 91-horsepower boxer motor, which is the largest displacement engine ever installed in a BMW motorcycle. BMW reports, “The big boxer is complemented by numerous special features and details. The paint finish of the R 18 100 Years, like that of the anniversary model of the R nineT, is in Classic Chrome and thus combines black paintwork and high-gloss chrome surfaces as well as white double-pinstriping and a 100 Years badge.”
Among the many eye-catching features of the R 18 100 Years, I found the Akrapovič rear muffler with perforated tailpipe trim in the shape of the BMW logo to be the coolest.
Stay tuned for more BMW Motorrad news in 2023. It’s sure to be one wild ride! —Mike Bevels
[Photos courtesy of BMW Motorrad.]