Few people will dispute that BMW builds motorcycles that are as obsessively engineered and as engaging to ride as its cars are to drive. However, there’s a good chance many folks will dispute the notion that BMW builds legitimate superbikes. And it’s true that, for many years, the Bavarians seemed perfectly content to leave the stupid-fast crotch rocket market to the Italians and the Japanese (as well as the occasional interlopers from Britain, the U.S. and elsewhere).
That changed in the spring of 2008, which was when the BMW S 1000 RR entered production for homologation in the World Superbike series. Sales to the public began about a year later, and critical acclaim and brisk sales followed soon thereafter. But rather than resting on its laurels, BMW has decided to update the S 1000 RR for 2012, and the result is a bike that’s even more capable and sophisticated.
The famous inline six-cylinder engine from BMW has been widely exulted for years. This powerplant has provided strong and linear engines in their cars and trucks over the last several decades. However, now at the point where the company is moving away from this engine on the automotive side, BMW Motorrad is going to be transitioning this engine into its motorcycle lineup. The new BMW Concept 6 motorcycle at the EICMA Show in Milan has been unveiled to showcase this transfer of technology.
Even though the BMW Motorrad Concept 6 frame is not really anything revolutionary, basically a K1300R with some extra futuristic looking components, the engine is the company’s new 1.6-liter (or more), inline six, mounted at a 55 degree angle. The dead giveaways are the huge outlets jutting out of each side. Power output is expected to be in the range of 175 hp with 96 lb-ft of torque available at 2,000 RPM with a 9,000 RPM redline. Because so much power is available at any speed, the bike has no rev counter on its LED instrument panel. Instead there is a torque readout along with the essential road speed display.
BMW Motorrad has just introduced their new C1-E electric scooter concept as what “a safe, environment-friendly and highly practical single track vehicle for city traffic could look like in the future.” Some of you may remember the C1 scooter that was available in Europe between 2000 and 2003. Offered in two trims, the 125 (124cc) and 200 (176 cc), the original C1 purported to provide a standard of accident protection that was comparable to a European compact car, with a reinforced canopy. The party line was that this thing was so safe you didn’t even need a helmet. The C1 was off to the races with sales over 10,000 in 2001. However, due to very poor sales the following year, production ceased in 2002 as market demand cooled.
The BMW C1-E Concept, like it’s predecessor, features a fully-enclosed cabin with built-in rollover protection, a front-end impact zone, a four-point safety belt and a low center of gravity. In the years since the C1 was released, BMW Motorrad has advanced a host of electronic aids such as integrated ABS, Traction Control, Tire Pressure Control and Anti-Slip Control. BMW is even toying with the idea of “forward-looking rider assistance systems” that help with cross-traffic and traffic light guidance as well as warning alerts for road hazards, emergency vehicles, sudden braking or advancing bad weather.
BMW Motorrad has just taken the wraps off of their newest supersports machine, the 2010 BMW S 1000 RR, at the legendary Monza Racing Circuit. Usually I am pretty unfased by the deluge of yearly motorbike releases, but I can’t hold back on this one… BMW has always made bikes that were solid offerings but lacked real excitement. Not this time! Their new superbike is a straight-four with an engine output of 193 hp from a bike that tips the scales dry at only 403.5 lbs. Just for sake of comparison, the first bike I started racing with was a 1995 CBR600F3. That bike was a real contender at the time but only put out 100 hp with a dry weight of 407.9 lbs. I regularly could hit 160 mph and can only imagine what this one must be capable of on the track (or street for that matter.)