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 BMW - R 37
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BMW D2-492-45-09
Photo ou archives : F-M. Dumas

Capacity : 500
Model : R 37
Production : 1925 - 1926
Category : (R) Racing


750 R37 – 1925

A Bavarian sportster

The BMW R37, which was the basis of a whole series of models, was the first sports machine from the Bavarian constructor, and as BMW's publicity claimed, it was "the aristocratic motorcycle for the aristocratic sportsman."

Sport Potential

BMW had decided to unleash the sport potential of the first of its flat-twins — the R32, an unpretentious side-valve 500 developing 8.5 hp at 3300 rpm — and entrusted the task of developing a high-performance derivative to engineer and works rider Rudolf Schleicher.

Aeroengine Technology

BMW originally built aircraft engines, and Schleicher adapted the 90-degree inclined overhead-valve hemi-head layout used on BMW aeroengines to fit the motorcycle cylinders, doubling the power rating at a stroke. The gearbox was kept, as was the frame. BMW redesigned the machine after two years to create the R47, with an extra 2 hp, a transmission brake and oil lubrication of the gearbox and final drive via a shaft. Schleicher started BMW's long tradition of sport success with his victory in the 1926 International Six Days' Trial, the first time that a German bike had beaten the British machines. Ten R37 racers were built; their tuned engines with alloy cylinder heads and twin carburetors produced 20 hp at 4800 rpm. Improved frames had large-diameter brake drums.


Engine: 494cc (68x68mm) unit-construction air-cooled flat-twin four-stroke; Bosch magneto

Power Rating: 16 hp @ 4000 rpm

Valves: inclined overhead

Fuel System: 26mm BMW twin float-chamber carburettor

Transmission: 3-speed, shaft final drive

Suspension: trailing-links (front); rigid (rear)

Brakes: 6 inch drum (front); dummy belt rim (rear)

Wheels: 3.00x19 inch wire (front & rear)

Weight: 295 lb

Maximum Speed: 71 mph

During its two-year model run, just 175 examples of the BMW R37 were produced out of a total output of some 4000 motorcycles.

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.

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François-Marie Dumas

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