Community Riders Library - Motorcycle Books The BMW Story: Second Edition by Ian Fallon: Rider's Library (Review)

The BMW Story: Second Edition by Ian Fallon: Rider’s Library (Review)

The BMW Story-Production and Racing Motorcycles from 1923 to the Present Day, Second Edition by Ian Falloon: Rider’s Library Review

Ian Falloon has been directly involved in the motorcycle industry since 1976, and has written more than 20 books on Ducati, BMW, Moto Guzzi, Laverda, Honda, and Kawasaki. As much as he already knows about those and many other brands of motorcycles, he never stops adding to his vast fund of knowledge.

In the second edition of The BMW Story-Production and Racing Motorcycles from 1923 to the Present Day, he shares what he has learned as he tracked the BMW motorcycle line since the book’s first printing in 2003.

The BMW Story: Production and Racing Motorcycles by Ian Fallon (Review)In nine chapters and two appendices, Falloon tracks the history of the brand from its early days manufacturing aircraft starting in 1916 under the name Bavarian Aircraft Works all the way to coverage of the 2019 model line.

With 276 period and contemporary black & white and color images to illustrate the progression of designs and features, the book even includes remarkable images of the company’s many record-setting and race-winning bikes.

That the very early bikes, designated the M2 B15, were carefully reverse-engineered copies of the 1915 500cc Douglas Model B, matters little today. However, it is an interesting part of the company’s rather convoluted beginnings that included the sanctions of defeat in World War I, surviving economic collapse and all the usual challenges of trying to build a company in very competitive industry.

Despite enormous challenges, Falloon relates how BMW brought advanced design to its racing machines, such as Ernst Henne’s supercharged 500cc and 750cc world land speed record and road racing machines as early as 1928.

Falloon provides exceptional insight into the people that made the company what it is, as well from the founding fathers of the pre-World War I days, Gustav Otto, Franz Josef Popp, Max Friz and to a limited extent, Karl Rapp through contemporary times, including those racers and designers who made the brand not only famous among motorcyclists but one of the elite names in the industry.

Fans of the brand will love having such a comprehensive resource on company history that includes comprehensive background on key models as well as an appendix that provides details on production numbers by year and model, as well as an appendix with specifications on models from 1923 on.

For more on another great book on BMW by Ian Falloon, see: Rider’s Library—The Complete Book of BMW Motorcycles by Ian Falloon,” Ultimate Motorcycling, May 2016.

Book Data:

  • Title: The BMW Story-Production and Racing Motorcycles from 1923 to the Present Day
  • Author: Ian Falloon
  • Published: First published in 2003, latest edition published 2019 hard cover. 288 pages. Measures 8.25” x 10.5.” 276 Color and black & white images.
  • Publisher: Veloce Publishing, Parkway Farm Business Park, Middle Farm Way, Poundbury, Dorchester, DT1 3AR, England
  • Veloce Publications are distributed in North America by: Quarto Publishing Group, 400 First Ave. North, Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55401. Books can be ordered by e-mail at: or call: 1-612-344-8100. See:
  • ISBN: 978-1-787113-58-9
  • MSRP: U.S. $60; U.K. £40.00; CAN. $78

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