Like many of us, Richard Hammond, lately of Top Gear fame, is grounded.
By way of something to do, he decided to recreate Charley Boorman and Ewan McGregor’s long distance motorcycle trips. Fortuitously, he has a BMW amongst his collection. Less fortuitously, he couldn’t actually drive around the world. Instead he planned an expedition around his yard which you can see right here.
For the purpose he used his 1928 BMW R52. It’s a flat twin with shaft drive and looks much like a similar BMW from forty or more years later but with no rear suspension and a hand gear change. However, it is also different in unexpected and unusual ways.
Look at the right handlebar here.
See the lever? It’s the front brake, just as it would be now, except that it pivots at the other end so you have to reach out with your index finger to use it. Common pre WW2 for reasons unknown. Also, no twist throttle. Little thumb lever in the middle instead.
Furthermore, gearchanging is challenging. Hand gear lever (so you have to take your right hand off the bars after closing the throttle) and second gear (and only second gear) requires double declutching so your have to put that hand right back again during the process. Tricky, that.