BMW Scooter History : R 10
You'd be mistaken for thinking the C 600 Sport and C 650 GT were BMW's first foray into scooters. Not so, the R10 came some 60 years before them.
Words by BMW Motorrad
BMW Motorrad have ushered in a new and exciting era in Urban Mobility with the arrival in Australia of the C 600 Sport and C 650 GT Maxi Scooters. Both the C 600 Sport, with its narrow profile, sharp edges and active riding position, and the G 650 GT, with increased weather protection, comfort seat and electrically adjustable ‘screen, deliver a unique riding experience.
These two innovative machines have the comfort and versatility of a scooter and the dynamic performance of a motorcycle.
This is the first time BMW Motorrad has entered the Maxi Scooter market but not the first time a BMW scooter has been on the road. That honour belongs to the R 10 just on sixty years ago.
In the early 1950's Europe was awakening from the horrors of WWII. There was a need for basic transport, and the motorcycle was perfect in that regard. In 1948 BMW was back in business with the single-cylinder R 24 but, in Italy, Vespa and Lambretta had created the scooter phenomenon; practical with more than a touch of style.
BMW followed this development with great interest and set about producing a scooter. In the initial drawings, the designers came up with a hybrid; 16-inch wheels and step-through body powered by a 200 cc single-cylinder, side-valve motor. A mock-up was produced but it was decided to head down a more conventional scooter path to compete with the Italians head on.
In early 1954 the final design was brought to life. Powered by the M210/1 single-cylinder 175 cc motor, the R 10, with its protruding headlight and prominent horn on the front ‘guard, was ready for production.
This stylish and well-engineered scooter, with under seat storage and the spare wheel mounted at the rear, performed well; there was a lot of excitement from the development team. The R 10 was just about perfect and would create a whole new market for BMW.
The BMW board, having been kept up to date with the R 10 project development, was impressed with the final product but held off on setting it into full-scale production.
At that time BMW was not on a completely sound footing. The war had taken its toll, and in fact, it had only survived the peace because the occupying Americans needed to have their vast motor transport fleet kept on the road. BMW required a volume seller as the sales figures for motorcycles and scooters had begun to decline. BMW had also just acquired the rights to a small two-seater bubble car from Iso in Italy.
There were only enough funds for one model and the board decided on what would become the iconic Isetta as their choice. The Isetta went on to be a top seller and in fact saved BMW at that time. The R 10 was pushed into the background and was, until relatively recently, largely forgotten.
Now fully restored and in the BMW Classic collection, the R 10, which is fully operational, has been seen in the BMW Museum in Munich and at classic events.
The C 600 Sport and C 650 GT will create a whole new market for BMW Motorrad in the same way that the R 10 was originally intended to do nearly sixty years ago.
Check out the BMW scooter range at http://www.bmwmotorrad.com.au/au/en/index.html