BMW Motorrad are among the slew of motorcycle manufacturers to take a second booth at INTERMOT this year, in Hall 10, the ‘INTERMOT Customized’ themed hall in which AMD Magazine is again staging its World Championship of Custom Bike Building.
In BMW’s case they will be showcasing modified examples of the very successful parallel twin-engined R nineT and using INTERMOT to introduce new models as further variants to the existing platform.
These ‘Heritage’ models will include an entry-level base model shorn of most of its accessories as a customizer’s platform ╨ with a price-point believed to be substantially lower than the existing R nineT.
|R nineT Scrambler|
The R nineT was initially designed to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the legendary R32, BMW’s first complete motorcycle launched in 1923, and was a “toe in the waters” for a ”Roadster” concept first shown at EICMA in 2007 by then head of design David Robb. However, even BMW have been taken by surprise with the popularity of the platform, so much so that at one stage last year a three or four month wait list had built up before the company was able to re-purpose additional production capacity to meet demand.
BMW has now set up a new department within BMW Motorrad at Munich ╨ BMW Heritage ╨ specifically to create three new models and further develop their custom offer moving forward. The emphasis will be on mining the company’s rich heritage in such a way that contemporary custom enthusiasts have a platform from which to work that also slakes their thirst for all things “retro”.
Last year BMW Motorrad CEO Stephan Schaller set the company the objective of producing 200,000 motorcycles a year by 2020, and the creation of the ‘Heritage’ department is a signal that BMW clearly sees the emerging “new style” custom market and the ‘Millennials’ driving it as a major potential contributor to that objective. The new department will be a stand-alone product center within BMW Motorrad, alongside BMW’s “modern” offerings, that will fully oversee everything from design and engineering, through to the parts, accessory, apparel and lifestyle programs for the new range.
In 2015 the company sold 136,963 units in total worldwide, which was a new record for them at the time (+10.9 percent up on 2014), with the R nineT selling nearly 10,000 units in just its second year of production, and now sitting as its fourth best-selling model. Overall demand has continued to grow for all BMW platforms in the first quarter of 2016, including the R nineT, with sales up by +7.7 percent over the first quarter of 2015.
In addition to the entry-level customizer’s base model, the other two will reach back into BMW’s heritage with an homage to the R80/GS Dakar model, one of BMW’s most famous bikes ╨ the progenitor of today’s all-conquering R1200GS/A line; and, something that has been missing from their line-up since the HP2 Sport (and prior to that the R1200S) were taken out of production, a half-faired S model to complement last year’s reintroduction of the RS model name in the shape of the sports-touring oriented R1200RS.
The common platform for all the R nineTs will, of course, be the legendary 1100bhp air/oil-cooled 1170cc ‘Boxer’ parallel twin. Renowned for its consistent torque and smooth, responsive, reliable power throughout the rev range, the ‘Boxer’ is one of the highest selling large displacement motorcycle engines the industry has ever seen.
The ‘Boxer’ or ‘Flat Twin’ concept was invented by Karl Benz in 1896 (his “Contra” engine). BMW adopted the concept when it first entered the motorcycle industry and it remains a cornerstone of their heritage. However, while ‘Heritage’ will be the hallmark of the R nineT line-up, in all respects the technology will be thoroughly up-to-date. As CEO Stephan Schaller said in a recent interview with MCN, they “will also have leading technology no matter what the [target] segment may be. You may not see it, but the technology will be in the bike.”
The influence of the new ‘Heritage’ department will extend right through into the dealerships, into the public presentation that consumers will be exposed to, with Schaller saying that there is “going to be a change to the way dealerships look to soften the style and make them more accessible for a wider range of people who may not already ride, or be a stereotypical BMW rider.”