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Military Motorcycle

BMW R71 to CJ750

Motorcycle Historys Most Unique Bloodline

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Is This Motorcycle a : 1938 BMW R71 ? 1941 Russian M72 ? Harley Davidson XA ? 1957 CJ-750 ? Answer: The R71, M72 and CJ-750 are functionally the same motorcycle, made from the same plans and original tooling with primary component interchangeability. This motorcycle was manufactured in 1957 from the 1938 BMW tooling in Nanchang by CNAMC Aircraft Company, originally provided to Russia by BMW under license through the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. The Harley Davidson XA is a reverse-engineered clone of the R71 The US Government hired Harley Davidson to clone the R71 because it had superior technology compared to the model WLA produced by Harley Davidson for the US Army. The HD-XA (eXperimental Army) model ran 100 Degrees F. cooler than the other Harley models, was more reliable and able to operate in deserts and other environments that the WLA could not.

The R71/CJ750 is a unique military motorcycle with its history interwoven in world events from World War I, World War II, The Korean War and The Cold War. The advanced technology of the R71 caused a revolution in motorcycle design that spurred reverse engineered R71s and or R71 technology to be produced by Harley Davidson, Indian, Triumph, Ariel, IMZ and eventually all major motorcycle manufacturers. Unique Features: 750cc Flat-Head (L) Engine is a low compression high torque power plant that produces 24hp and can run on a wide range of fuels. It is distinguishable from other models because of the flat ribbed cylinder heads and tubular frame. The motorcycle was designed with integrated sidecar as an off-road capable attack motorcycle for Blitzkrieg. Nearly all of these bikes were produced with sidecars. The R71/CJ750 can be hand shifted or foot shifted, has engine powered reverse, shaft drive, large storage trunk and was optionally fitted with machine guns, medic carts, ammunition boxes, fuel can mounts, black-out headlights, mobile radio equipment, Anti -Aircraft gun and according to one propaganda poster; anti-tank grenade launcher. Brief History: The BMW R71 was made in a BMW factory, but not always in Germany. Because of the Treaty of Versailles Germany was greatly limited in its ability to mass produce military vehicles and only a few R71s were made in Germany. To get around the treaty and to sweeten a deal called the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, Germany had Russia produce many of the motorcycles for them. BMW sent bikes, and setup the factory in Russia. There is strong evidence that the Russians had been trying to acquire R71s and plans before the treaty. Since the 1930s the Russian company Uralmoto Zavod had been producing motorcycles and sidecars in full co-operation with BMW. To protect the R71 factory from the Germans once Russia entered the war, the factory was moved to the Urals and continued to produce R71s (now called by Russia M72s) throughout and after the war. Because of this the R71/M72 got to see service for both the Axis and Ally forces. The Russians eventually began producing motorcycles with R75 features (from tooling captured after WWII) and transferred R71 production facilities to their communist ally China. China had already been using M72s for some time. China replaced their Zundapp-Clone military bikes with the R71/M72 now renamed the CJ750. The bike has largely stayed the same since it was first produced as a prototype in Germany. The most notable changes have been a new air filter design, fender, gas tank, eventual incorporation of a starter motor and 12 volt electronics.




Harley Davidson XA General Motors under subsidiary Delco imported licensed BMW R71s as TM10-515s. Harley Davidson later produced R71 engines for Servi-cars. (below)

New York Times, 28 May 2011 Russianmotorcycles.co.uk Imz-ural.com Wikipedia.org Changjiangcollective.com Bmwmotorcycles.com G503.com R12 Central

Is the URAL Motorcycle an R71/CJ750?

No. The IMZ-URAL / Dnepr K750 was developed after the M72 as a replacement. This line of motorcycles included R75 like technology such as a powered wheel on the sidecar, overhead cam engine, and new frames and suspensions. The R75 technology in the Ural likely came from WWII spoils.

BMW R32 (first true BMW Motorcycle) BMW OHV Models BMW R62

The BMW R71 Family Tree

BMW R12 Zundapp War Bikes BMW R71 (German)

BMW Licensed, Produced for Germany BMW Licensed BMW R75 BMW R71 (Russian) Delco TM10-515 M72

Harley XA CJ750 Type I

Indian 841

URAL Motorcycles

CJ750 Type II M1 M1S M1M

Modern BMWs CJ750 OHV 32hp

Modern US and European Motorcycles

There are gaps of reliable information in pre-WWII motorcycle history. A great deal of information was destroyed and lost during the war. Many sources fail to distinguish between R71 and R75 or even R12 and Zundapp motorcycle production. Many other sources quote propaganda or company marketing materials. Researchers have to contend with conflicting accounts. Obviously, many companies and countries would be reluctant to admit that they copied or licensed German technology both before and after the war. Please send any updates/corrections to this document (with sources only please) to bmwcyclist@yahoo.com

The R71 and Harley Davidson

Harley Davidson and Indian were first exposed to the BMW 71 technology though a 1930s license with BMW through Delco for the manufacturing of the Delco TM10-515. Delco (GM) had the BMW licensing rights for the US and the TM10-515 was a BMW R71 front end and engine with the BMW logos simply removed. The only thing Delco about it was the rear end. Harley Davidson and Indian were contracted to produce the TM10-515 for the US Government. Also, Harley Davidson made R75 engines for a prototype light military car, the WAC Willys Air Cooled. Harley later produced the XA motorcycle for the US government but eventually the Jeep became the US favorite Type 6 vehicle and production was stopped. Most sources state that Harley Davidson Reverse Engineered the BMW R71 to create the XA but it seems that little engineering work would have been required since they already hand the plans and BMW licensed facilities on hand from the TM10-515 and the WAC. Harley Davidson marketing advertisements (right) credited the British for the sudden enhancement to HD technology and design. The XA was the only Harley able to operate in adverse conditions found in the African campaigns thanks to 100F cooler cylinders, shaft drive and other improvements. The XA hand clutch and foot shifter would not resurface in the HD lineup again until 1952 and the suspension not until 1958. Other XA firsts include a sealed beam headlight and a wet oil sump.


WAC Willys Air Cooled.

Harley XA


R71s, Clones and Extended Family

Because the R71 was largely manufactured out of country, in an attempt to circumvent the Treaty of Versailles, its predecessor the R12 (left) and its successor the R75 (right) get more coverage in most BMW motorcycle history books and are sometimes credited for advances introduced by the R71 (below).

Indians R71 implementation, the Model 841 (Left), was no mere clone and introduced a drive train configuration later popularized by MotoGuzzi. . The French CEMEC L7 / Ratier (Right) actually used R12/R71 parts captured from WWII for the production bikes.

The Swiss Condor A580 (above) and several English Brough Superior designs (left and right) were among many European motorcycles highly influenced by the BMW R12/R71/R75 family of motorcycles.