Big, bigger, Motorrad Days. The seventeenth BMW Motorrad Days festival in Garmisch-Partenkirchen from 7–9 July was once again the world’s largest BMW Motorrad meet. This unique celebration of the wonder of bikes featured plenty of riding and a party atmosphere. Once again, there was a wealth of things for the visitor to discover. There were also appearances by celebrities and, of course, many friends and fans of the brand came along to put the fun into this festival of everything BMW Motorrad.

Set against an impressive backdrop of mountain scenery, Garmisch-Partenkirchen is a popular, picturesque tourist destination in Germany. It boasts a rich network of minor mountain roads full of the type of twists and turns that make riding a BMW such fun. Just the right place then to celebrate the world’s biggest BMW Motorrad gathering, an exciting event comprising shows, club meets, as well as modern and classic bike presentations that truly has something for everyone to enjoy.

Live bikes together, celebrate bikes together.

There was all sorts on offer, included guided excursions to the surrounding area. Led by an experienced guide, all that visitors had to do was follow along and enjoy the ride. Because finding all the amazing roads is hard work on your own, these panoramic tours proved enormously popular. Other visitors were more tempted by the challenges of off-road terrain and took the opportunity to try out the new BMW GS at the foot of the Hausberg mountain. This offered fun, off-road sport for those who wanted to try it out and, of course, there were experienced instructors on hand to share handy tips and tricks. For some, this was their first experience of what a modern motorbike can do away from the asphalt. And how much fun it is on an Enduro. There was even a skills competition that allowed interested riders to measure their abilities against one of the greats, Supermoto world champion Bernd Hiemer.

Good show.

For those who preferred to look on while others did the hard work, there was plenty to choose from. The drifting and stunt shows with Ritzmann Motorsport pushed the boundaries of physics, with freestyle artists Mattie Griffin and Sarah Lezito appearing to completely defy gravity. Donald and his team wowed the crowd by putting four gracefully aged BMW R25s through their paces on the world’s oldest wall of death – not to mention the fact this was a world premiere.

Meanwhile, the fantastical Custom Village next door was bursting with the weird and wonderful. Even if one or two of the exhibits might not quite stand up to everyday use, their appearance was certainly enough to put a smile on your face.  If that wasn’t enough, there were also dazzling performances from actors Hannes Jaenicke and Daniel Roesner, as well as singer and RR fan Wincent Weiss.

An enthusiastic club scene.

To ensure a "proper" Bavarian start on the Friday, Automobil-Club Garmisch hosted a club evening at the invitation of BMW Club Deutschland. Beer and suckling pig helped ensure a typically welcoming atmosphere that was in perfect keeping with the landscape.

The large BMW exhibition marquee served as a meeting point and became a magnet for club members from across the world. Representatives of the BMW Clubs International Council, BMW Clubs Europa e.V. and BMW Club Deutschland e.V. were to be found alongside members of the International BMW Classic and Type Clubs Section, Vintage BMW Motorcycle Owners of America and BMW Clubs European Federation, in the shape of BMW MC Klub Danmark.

David de Bruyn, the South African Chairman of the International Council, spent a lot of time in conversation alongside his German colleague, Vice Chairman Dr Knöchlein. It goes without saying that they were both keen to develop new and existing collaborations and strengthen friendships between clubs. Their mission was helped by the newly added outdoor Club Area, which proved popular with everyone as a place to meet when the weather was good. Not least because of the gloriously inviting sun loungers.

The future from the past.

BMW Group Classic put on an amazing display that included the BMW Futuro, a carbon and Kevlar concept bike from 1980 developed in collaboration with various suppliers. Two bikes truly represented the spirit of innovation in their era: the BMW R 100 RS was rigorously developed in a wind tunnel, while the K1 caused a sensation at the 1988 International Bicycle and Motorcycle Exhibition (IFMA) in Cologne. Even today, the K1 still looks like it was just wheeled out of a UFO. An encounter with a hover bike built entirely from LEGO bricks (which could allegedly even fly) provided a more tongue-in-cheek moment. As did Konrad the Walker, a well-travelled figure created from scrap parts, who is usually to be found guarding the office of Edgar Heinrich, Chief Designer at BMW Motorrad.

World premiere: BMW HP4 RACE.

BMW Motorrad served up an exclusive at the seventeenth BMW Motorrad Days with the unveiling of the unique HP4 RACE, a bike that simply screams superlatives with its full-carbon frame and full-carbon wheels. A massive 215 hp will be delivered by each of the limited run of 750 hand-built units, all supplied complete with numbered badge. No wonder it is already a collector’s item.

The seventeenth edition of BMW Motorrad Days provided some unforgettable memories. With its relaxed, informal atmosphere, the festival truly captures the spirit of what makes riding bikes so special. And, as it always has, that means simply having fun more than anything else.