Home WORLD The BMW 1940 R12 Vintage German Motorcycle

The BMW 1940 R12 Vintage German Motorcycle

The R12 was BMW’s most popular motorcycle. The motorbike was first presented and developed in 1935. Almost 30k were made, 2/3rds for civilians and the rest for the Wehrmacht.

source/image: 79hector79

The engine, designated M 56 S 6 or 212, was a twin-cylinder boxer configuration – four stroke with a flathead design with 18hp.

source/image: 79hector79

The R12 used drum brakes front and rear. Many R12’s were equipped with a sidecar attached to the motorcycle’s right side.


The R12 was an evolution of the R11 – in the process it gained telescopic forks, a 4-speed transmission, and a little bit of cosmetic work. This actually made the R12 (and the sportier R17) the first production motorcycles with hydraulically damped telescopic forks.

The BMW R12 with two carburetors used a battery and coil ignition, while R12s with a single carburetor used a magneto ignition, capable of working independently from the battery.The BMW R12 had a four-speed manual gearbox, operated by a hand shift lever on the fuel tank’s right side.