Conceptualized in 1934, the BMW R7 was a bike ahead of its time. Designed at the height of the Art Deco movement, this beautiful combination of art and machinery was never produced but helped to inspire the R5 and R17 models. Unfortunately, production costs kept this cutting edge bike from production, leaving us with the only prototype to ever be produced. Despite its stunning design, the prototype 1934 BMW R7 fell to the wayside and was lost to history as BMW continued to grow and thrive as one of the world’s leading car and motorcycle manufacturers. That is, until 2005 when it was rediscovered and fully restored in 2005.
Now the world’s only 1934 BMW R7 features a sleek, monochromatic black and white body, sleek lines, and extended fenders which partially encased both tires. The wheels’ wiring is painted black to match its body and add to the bike’s allure. The aerodynamic engine casing is made of formed metal to reduce drag and boost the motorcycle’s speed and power. Even the unique dome shaping its exposed exhaust pipe is designed with the riding experience in mind. That motorcycle enthusiasts nearly missed out on this wondrous piece of motorcycle history is nearly criminal.
The 1934 BMW R7 is more than a beautiful piece of machinery; it has the power and speed motorcycle lovers dream of. The 800 cc boxer engine originally designed by Leonhard Ischinger specifically for BMW makes this bike a force to be reckoned with at the time of its inception. The single piece crankshaft, cylinders, and cylinder heads adds to the power. The positioning of the camshaft beneath the crankshaft forces the cylinders higher, increasing the motorcycle’s ground clearance and effective valve positioning. Two fish-fin exhaust pipes form directly off of the engine.
With a four-speed manual transmission, the 1934 BMW R7 utilizes a raised hand shifter similar to that of a car rather than the traditional foot shifter seen on most motorcycles. This gear shifter is located to the right of the fuel cap, making for easy access for the rider. All electric components are safely housed within the motorcycle’s body, making it more durable than other bikes of the era. Though the R7 never made it beyond conception, the prototype remains a testament to BMW’s ingenuity and superior sense of design.