BMW Boxer Twins by Ian Falloon

Boxer is aristocrat among bikes
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Eighty years ago BMW's horizontally opposed twin cylinder motorcycle engine was an inspired idea. The positioning of the cylinders optimised cooling. The low centre of gravity made for good handling and the design allowed shaft drive to replace chain. It worked so well BMW have never been able to escape it.

Generations of Boxer engines have come and gone but the core idea, so called because the cylinders face each other like pugilists in the ring, has never disappeared.

The result has been a series of motorbikes capable of commuting, military applications and competition racing.

Motorcycle historian Ian Falloon is a Boxer fanatic. From the emergence in 1923 of the prototype R32 to the 2004 model R1200GS he omits nothing. Every O-ring and compression ratio is recorded. The end product is more works manual than hymn of praise. Falloon's access to BMW archives has produced numerous photographs but few of them contain people. The author underestimates the human dimension that makes the Boxer an aristocrat among motorbikes.

If you regard the Boxer engine as special because of the adventurous journeys it has made possible this book is not for you. It is too functional to capture the real essence of these classic machines. But Falloon's exhaustive narrative will be valuable to owners who want to pinpoint their bike's place in the Boxer story.