BMW Racing Motorcycles -
BMW Racing Motorcycles: The Mastery of Speed
by Laurel C. Allen and Mark Gardiner
Hardcover: 174 pages
Dimensions (in inches): 9.25 x 6.75 x 0.937
Whitehorse Press; (March 2008)
List Price: $29.95
Review by "Burn"
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Mark Gardiner is becoming well known in the motorcycling
community as a writer and traveler; he was the "star" of the very
"One Man's Island" (review), which was about his quest to race
in the 2003 Isle of Man TT. It's not clear what his connection
to BMW motorcycles has been, but he does write a column in the UK's
Classic Bike magazine in addition to columns for Road
Racer X, Cycle World and other print magazines.
Laurel C. Allen is the Senior Editor of Road Racer X magazine,
although it's also not clear -- to me anyway -- what her connection
to BMW racing motorcycles has been.
Nevertheless, they've pumped out a handsome book, which makes a
perfect pair -- bookending, if you will -- to the identically
formatted mini-coffee table book
Motorcycles: The Evolution of Excellence that I reviewed not too
BMW Racing Motorcycles starts with a very brief background on
BMW's entry into the motorcycle market after WWI. The story
really starts with the incredible BMW R 32, first shown to the
public in 1923 -- a motorcycle that had all the earmarks and
tell-tale signs of being a BMW, albeit without the flat-twin "Boxer"
engine that has since become a hallmark of the brand.
But you can take one look at the R 32 in the photo below and know
immediately that it's nothing less than a BMW.
Motorcycle manufacturers -- and there were scores in
those days -- used racing as a marketing tool, and BMW was as good
at both racing and marketing as any. The book claims that BMW
used their airplane technology to perfect their racing bikes, and as
they won races, the BMW name and reputation was built.
BMW designed supercharged engines, advanced
suspension systems and more, all to improve their racing success.
Most of these new technologies filtered down into their road bikes.
The book is loaded with stunning photos and
illustrations of BMW racing motorcycles and racers. I've
always been a BMW motorcycle fan, and currently own 4 of the bikes,
spanning 35 years. I own many books and other printed
materials covering BMW history, so I'm surprised to find so many
unique and beautiful photographs -- many of which I have never seen
before -- in the pages of this book.
This is a "mini-book", meant, I suppose, for a small
side table in an apartment or something, but it's a real winner.
The text is minimal, but at least the font is big enough for these
tired eyes, and I have thumbed through the pages over and over,
studying the very high quality photos, which have been meticulously
printed on good stock.
The book has only recently been published, so it
touches on BMW's sorely missed Dakar efforts, along with privateer
racers, right up to the Brad Hendry R 1200 S, raced in GT Lights,
Lightweight GP and Lightweight Superbike classes and the Moto-ST
events of last year.
My advice? BMW Racing Motorcycles The Mastery
of Speed is highly recommended for BMW owners and fans alike!
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