Motorcycles | 17 August 2015The 1939 R12 Military Motorcycle Share article facebook twitter google pinterest When the German army needed motorcycles, BMW was chosen to supply them. The K75 was a Zündapp R75 BMW, a larger model for use with a sidecar. The R12 was for lighter duty use and primarily carried soldiers to and from a point of action. We fine-tuned our knowledge about this pre-WWII, accessory-loaded vintage bike with an excerpt from BMW Motorcycles, by Doug Mitchel. Changes to the R12 civilian version permitted easier use for soldiers wearing battle gear. The footpegs were supplanted by a pair of aluminum foot boards that more easily accommodated a pair of heavy-duty boots, which were often covered in mud. The solo saddle was joined by a secondary pillion to carry another soldier to and from his location. Leather saddlebags were hung over the rear fender to accommodate any additional gear that needed to be carried into action. Leather straps and padlocks kept the contents secure. The shaft drive proved to be far more durable than belt or chain drives were, especially when things got dirty and wet. The resulting combination of user-friendly features and the dependable drivetrain made the BMW a popular machine. The German military ordered tens of thousands of them. 1939 R12 & R12 Military Engine Type: Horizontally opposed twin Displacement: 745cc Years Produced: 1938–1942 Valve Configuration: Side valve Horsepower: 18 at 3,400 rpm Top Speed: 68 miles per hour Did You Know? Harley-Davidson was commissioned by the US government to design a different motorcycle to handle the demands of operating in the desert. The XA was built for that purpose and used an opposed-twin engine that was very similar to BMW’s design. Only 1,000 were produced, and very few remain intact today. BMW Motorcycles Author:Doug Mitchel Everything you want to know about forty of the most iconic BMW motorcycles. BMW Motorcycles offers history and photography on forty of the most iconic motorcycles built by Germany’s leading motorcycle manufacturer: BMW. From the pre–World War II BMWs that defined performance in that era, to the Earles-forked machines that offered the perfect platform for mounting a Steib sidecar, to the “flying bricks,” to the GS (Gelände Sport) series that launched a dual-sport revolution, right up to today’s world-class superbikes. All of BMW’s bike families are covered—the side-valve machines from the pre–World War II years, the early overhead-valve performance bikes, the postwar Airheads and Oilheads, the three-cylinder, four-cylinder, and six-cylinder touring bikes, the early pushrod singles, the modern overhead-cam singles, the latest parallel twins, and inline-four cylinder sport bikes. From the first model, the R32 that launched BMW’s motorcycle dynasty, to the latest (and fastest) model, the World Super Bike dominating S1000RR, this book captures nearly a century of motorcycling excellence with thorough information and stunning, full-color photography. Buy from an Online Retailer In North America: In The UK: Share article facebook twitter google pinterest If you have any comments on this article please contact us or get in touch via social media.