Few things are as quintessentially BMW as their iconic flat-twin motorcycle engine. It’s an engine platform that’s seen many generations of evolution and one that BMW has put to use in a variety of motorcycle types. Whether it’s sport touring in the RS and RT variants, or world-traveling adventure riding on the GS, the R-series “boxer” engine is thought by many to be the proverbial beating heart of BMW Motorrad.


Take a look in this video as the R1200 engine is assembled from start to finish. Of particular interest to me is the mix of machine tools and robotics and how that’s been balanced with actual human interaction. While machines might set torques or press bearings, those machines appear to be predominantly placed by hand, where many other manufactures have automated the bulk of engine assembly. Also notice how bins light up to help workers know which part goes on next. It’s a very interesting blend of hand-assembly and high tech manufacturing.