1948-1950 BMW R 24
By Jeffrey M. Dean
The 250cc R24 single was BMW's first postwar motorcycle, and the only postwar BMW motorcycle without a rear suspension. It was, in essence, a copy of the prewar 1938 R23, which is seen below.
The end of the Second World War was accompanied by several strict prohibitions, which curtailed industrial recovery in Germany. One of these referred to the manufacture of motorcycles. This lasted until 1947, when the Allies allowed BMW to build a very limited number of specimens (approximately 100) of the prewar R23, which were assembled from spare parts stored in warehouses. This was the first step toward lifting the ban (in 1948) on the construction of motorcycles, provided their capacity did not exceed 250 cc. Without funds to design a completely new bike, BMW’s managers decided to restart activities by building an updated version of the R23, to which several changes were made with respect to the gears (which went from 3 to 4) and the shape of the head, based on experience gained with the [wartime military] R75. Thus was born the R24, officially presented in March 1948 and quickly ordered in large numbers (3,000 units). The production of the R24 began on December 17, 1948, and was stopped just 18 months later, after the production of more than 12,000 units. Like the military R75, the R24 was the only BMW with a bolted frame for easy maintenance. One special feature of the R24 was the addition of a spring element and cush drive to mitigate the rigidity of the transmission.
Currently (2016) it is quite difficult to find a complete R24 with all its parts, even one in need of restoration. It would be difficult to carry out restoration work due to the poor availability of original spare parts.
The above italicized text is from BMW Motorcycles of the Century: Guide to Models 1923-2000, by Claudio Somazzi and Massimo Bonsignori, 2014.
Because the R24 was the first postwar BMW, many of its parts were left-over prewar parts for the R23. This can present difficulties for someone restoring an R24 because prewar parts are harder to find than postwar parts.
Here is a brand new R24 as it is coming off the assembly line in Munich. Over 12,000 were built.
The photo below is an R24. Click here to see the R24's specifications.
The photo below is of a 1949 R24 I purchased in 2014. I was in 4th grade when it was built.
Below left: Eber replacement LED board and Eber tail and brake light from Bench Mark Works.
Below right: the R24 is the only postwar BMW with a rigid rear end.
The pages below are scanned from the 1948 BMW R24 sales brochure.
The first image below shows the layout of the brochure in one view.
Full page spread above; separate quarters below.
Here are the dimensions for pinstripes on a BMW R24.
In the photo below you see pinstripers working on R24 tanks and fenders in Munich ca. 1948.
Here is what you might have seen in the showroom of a BMW dealership in the late 1940s.
Click on the photo below to see the R24's specifications:
The tank and fenders of my 1949 R24 are out for painting.
Click here for photos of an R24.