The Bike that Broke the Land Speed Record in ‘29 Is Back. Sort of.

BMW’s steampunk Landspeeder pays tribute to the 1928 R37

By The Editors

The Bike that Broke the Land Speed Record in ‘29 Is Back. Sort of.
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16 February 2016

Things were different in 1929.

A very polarizing president (Coolidge) was preparing to leave office. The populace was railing against lawmakers for their right to use a controlled substance that they were using behind close doors anyway. The economy was, uh, problematic.

Ok, so maybe things weren’t that different in 1929.

Case in point: the Revival BMW Landspeeder Motorcycle, a modern update of the BMW R37 Ernst Henne used to break more than 70 motorcycle speed world records between 1929 and 1935, including setting the then-speed mark at 159 MPH (it’s now at 376.36 MPH).

Since Revival’s bike is mainly for show and needs not abide by street legality laws, the designers were able to forego installing lights, a battery or an alternator onto the choppers flat-cut steel frame, and instead spent time and money on figuring out the best way to hook the airhead engine up to the magneto ignition system.

They also didn’t bother with brakes, but did make sure the Landspeeder’s stainless steel exhaust system “sounds like a monster” when the bike peaks at a top speed of about 150 MPH. The folks at Revival — who plan to build a second supercharged version of the bike for actual riding — feel their creation is a fitting homage to Henne’s cycle, but that doesn’t mean they’re any less smitten with the original.

“From the aero-shaped handlebars to the solid wheel cover, it was everything beautiful about a race bike you could imagine,” says builder Alan Stulberg.

If you want to see the newly built bike in the, uh, steel, it will be on display at the in Austin in April.

Plan accordingly.

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