As cool bikes go, this vintage classic BMW R7 concept motorbike is in a league of its own. Issue #3 of BMW Motorcycle Magazine showcases the amazing R7 concept, describing it as “one of the most important, innovative and visually stunning motorcycles ever produced.” We agree. Although this BMW is over 70 years old, it could almost be a contemporary concept. It was shelved as WWII approached, and put in a box. In 2005, that box was opened, and BMW Classic started the restoration.
Think back 70 or 75 years to a time when design began to break away from the traditional and elaborate rationalism that had ensued for hundreds of years. As the styles of Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Streamline and Zigzag Moderne emerged after the Industrial Revolution, designers as well as consumers fully embraced the Age of the Machine. Shiny chrome surfaces lay across curving forms or over expansive horizontal planes and glorified a dynamic new world on the move.
And suddenly, design was muted as World War II approached. Inspiration was buried away, along with some innovative and visually stunning design work. Skip ahead to 2005 when some curious members of BMW Classic opened a box and found the R7 bike 75 assembled – although not in shining condition. The engine was corroded, the metalwork was in dire shape, the battery was unusable, but the opportunity for restoration could not be ignored.
Various specialists at the BMW workshop discovered the original design drawings in the archive collections and conjured up the ghosts from Streamline Moderne’s past. Missing parts were sourced, others were rebuilt, the chrome was polished and the frame was painted black. And the final test, retuning the 1934 BMW motorcycle to the street, proved to be worth the wait nearly three quarters of a century later.