BMW’s rider equipment celebrates hitting 40

Munich marking four decades of kit hits (and the odd miss…)

BMW 40 years kit

IT’S HARD to believe now, but BMW’s kit (and bikes) weren’t always much cop. Before about 2004, the bikes were too heavy and slow and the kit was as fashionable as a shaven chin in Shoreditch. Now though, their bikes are almost universally excellent, and the kit matches good looks with great design and performance.

And the kit is celebrating its fortieth birthday this year. Yep, in 1978, while all the cool kids were wheelying RD400s and listening to punk rock, BMW brought out its own, er, bike helmet. The snappily-titled “Original BMW Protection Helmet" in ‘BMW Safety Design’ colours was an open-facer, and was followed up by the first ‘System’ helmet in 1980 (above), which had a removable hinged chinbar section, and looks utterly horrid nowadays. Yuk.

So, the old stuff looks a bit mental now – but BMW’s brought out some sweet new kit to celebrate. The ‘78’ line is decidedly retro, but with a really nice look, and excellent performance built in. There’s a neat leather jacket, with quilted sections, a natty pair of gloves, and an open face lid (above) which will show off your unshaven chin a treat down Das Bike Shed-haus. All with the smart new ‘78’ logo and BMW’s red white and blue colours.

So, in only forty years, we've gone from this sort of malarkey:

To this:

Much better all round.

The 78 kit will be available from August across Europe. More info: