Just a few weeks later, the Treaty of Versailles is signed and Germany is forbidden to manufacture airplanes. BMW turns its focus to motorcycles.
Ernst Henne uses a supercharged, 750cc “kompressor” (supercharged) on a closed stretch of Autobahn to set a new land-speed record of over 134 mph.
Otto Ley wins the Swedish 500cc Grand Prix on another “kompressor.” The supercharged BMWs will be the dominant force in Grand Prix racing until WWII. (After the war, the FIM bans forced-induction motors. Some people interpret the rule as punishing the Axis, since the most successful supercharged racing motorcycles were German and Italian. The single-cylinder bikes favored by British manufacturers were conventionally aspirated.)
With the start of World War II, BMW turns its attention back to airplane production.
The U.S. Army is impressed with the R 75 and similar Zundapp models. Captured German bikes are sent back for Harley-Davidson and Indian to copy. Up to 1,000 prototypes are built, but those motorcycles never see action.
The RS54 Rennsport production racer is unveiled.
Helmut Dähne wins the Isle of Man Production (1000cc) TT.
Reg Pridmore becomes the first-ever winner of the AMA “Production Superbike” championship, on an Udo Geitl-tuned R90S entered by Butler & Smith, the U.S. BMW importer.
The K1200S is a radical new machine for the venerable manufacturer. It features an across-the-frame four-cylinder motor making a claimed 167 horsepower. It is the first time in years that BMW has shown a willingness to compete head-to-head in the marketplace with the world’s biggest motorcycle companies.