Frank dusts off an oldie but goodie with this month’s Memorable Motorcycle, his original report on the BMW beast which won the 1981 Paris-Dakar race. Check out the full story in Memorable Motorcycle: 1981 Paris-Dakar BMW.
- Melling was frustrated with the works bike until he started to ride it hard, the way BMW intended it to be ridden.
- Bernard Neimer, Hubert Auriol and Jean Claude Fenouil with the three BMW Dakar to Paris bikes, the only three of its kind.
- Frank does his best Auriol impersonation.
- Auriol was a punishing rider so BMW had to set the suspension as stiff as possible to accomodate his style.
- Auriol's nickname 'The African' was derived from his upbringing in Ethiopia.
- The giant 9-gallon tank kept Auriol riding while other racers were searching for gas.
- BMW was aware early in the game that winning races sells bikes. It built the works bikes to boost the launch of its R80GS.
- Unlike most of the other motorcycles in the race, the BMW works bike resembled its bloodline, the R80GS road bikes.
- At 38 inches tall with rock-solid suspension, throwing a leg over the big Beemer wasn't easy.