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 BMW - R 2
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BMW D2-492-22-14
Photo ou archives : F-M. Dumas

Capacity : 200
Model : R 2
Production : 1931 - 1936
Category : (R) Street Bike


200 R 2-1931

Quality never comes cheaply

A major surprise of the 1930 Berlin Show was the launch of the BMW R2. Compared with the marque's big bikes, the R2 seemed more like a big toy, though it was fully worthy. BMW had deliberately broken with established concepts and adopted the most sophisticated techniques in order to create a motorcycle that was clean, practical and demanded the minimum of maintenance.

Real Unit Construction

The words "unit construction" were fully justified, with a crankcase with a one-piece rear casing, to which the gearbox was bolted. The bottom part of the cast iron cylinder was encased in this crankcase.

Attractive, but Costly

Three chromed tubes linked the crankcase and the aluminum cylinder head; the outer pair encased the pushrods while the center one was an oil breather. However, until l932, the pushrods and rockers were unenclosed! The power unit was mounted in a neat pressed steel frame, with the company's celebrated shaft drive, making this one of the most attractive small motorcycles of its day. However, all this refinement raised the cost of the new BMW single to prohibitive levels: it was three times the price of a DKW and these were difficult years for the German industry. Notwithstanding that, the 200 R2 remained in production in 1931-36 and over 15,000 were sold, more than any other previous BMW motorcycle. One advantage was that it fell into a class that was exempt from road tax.


Engine: 198cc (63x64mm) air-cooled singlecylinder four-stroke

Power Rating: 7 hp @ 4000 rpm

Valves: 45-clegree inclined overhead

Fuel System: Sum carburetor

Transmission: dry single-plate clutch; 3-speed hand-change, shaft final drive

Suspension: leaf-sprung leading link (front); rigid (rear)

Brakes: drum (front & rear)

WheeJs: 2.50x19 inch wire (front & rear)

Weight: 243 lb

Maximum Speed: 53 mph


This was the original version of the little BMW and sold for 975 Reichsmarks in Germany in 1931. 1t was succeeded by the 200cc R20, produced between 1931-36.


Motorcycle encyclopedia Moto Passion, realised by François-Marie Dumas, include almost 2000 photos presented with an exhaustive history of the motorcycles exhibited.

This unique collection has been realised with the participation of many specialists. With many thanks in particular to Yves Campion, Michael Dregni, Didier Ganneau, Jean Goyard, Helmut Krackowizer, Michel Montange, Christian Rey, Bernard Salvat, Mick Woollett, etc

One can order here

  • Original cards on paper (in french)
  • High resolution scans or original documents presented and signed with my name.

Please contact me at for conditions and copyright.

© Tous droits réservés
François-Marie Dumas

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