BMW 1933 R 16 734 cc ohv transverse twin frame # P 5437 engine # 76824
The first BMW, the 500 cc side valve tourer R 32, was marketed in 1923. 3100 machines were built.
Two years later an OHV sports version was brought out, the R 37.
This machine had the smallest production run of all commercially produced models in the company’s motorcycling history: only 175 were produced.
It was replaced in 1927 by the improved R 47 that was introduced alongside the side valve-engined R42 tourer, both models benefiting from a redesigned and more powerful engine.
It was set further back in the duplex loop frame, which improved weight distribution and enabled straight front down-tubes to be used.
The braking got its share of attention too: the old block-and-pulley type rear brake was replaced by a drum on the driveshaft gripped by external contracting bands.
The step to a 750 cc class OHV machine was made in 1928 when the R 63 was brought out.
Its 734 cc engine was the most powerful BMW at the time with 24HP @4,000 rpm.
At the end of the nineteen twenties motorcycle engineers got more and more interested in the use of pressed steel for motorcycle frames and BMW decided on this type of frame for the new R 11 and R 16 750 cc class models that were introduced at the end of 1929.
The R16 was the sportsman’s machine, its engine delivered 25 HP @ 4,000 rpm, which grew to 33 HP @ 4,500 rpm for the 1933 models.
BMW were very keen on world speeds records in this period: Ernst Henne was almost unbeatable on his supercharged 750 cc record machine and had set a world record speed of 244.4 kilometer per hour in 1932.
Interesting new features in the R 16 were its floating wheel spindles and the fact that lighting, horn and speedometer were included in the standard specifications.
1932 and 1933 models had twin carburetors and a later addition was the practical position of the gear change lever behind the right knee pad. The R 16 was a well-engineered and high quality motorcycle, but its introduction in the Depression years and its high price made that only 1900 were built.
This rare survivor has been restored a number of years ago.