BMW Reveals R20 Concept Roadster with 2,000cc Engine

Dennis Chung
by Dennis Chung

The Big Boxer gets even bigger

BMW revealed a new roadster concept that may herald the future of the brand’s air-cooled Big Boxer engine. Revealed during the festivities at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este in Italy, the R20 roadster is still just a concept, but the work that went into producing it shows the hallmarks of an eventual production model, plus the next iteration of BMW’s R 18 platform.

The R20’s styling combines retro cues with a modern touch. The aluminum tank is a brand new design, painted with a “hotter than pink” color. The classic circular headlight consists of an LED daytime running light mounted to a 3D-printed aluminum ring, with the main headlight unit floating right in the center. Meanwhile, the taillight is integrated into the back of the single seat, which is upholstered in a quilted Alcantara and fine-grade leather.

The Big Boxer engine’s large outstretched jugs are now even bigger, with the displacement increasing to 2,000cc from the R 18’s 1,802cc displacement. Along with the two-liter displacement comes new cylinder head covers and belt cover. The engine remains air/oil cooled, but BMW developed a new, more discreet oil cooler that now sits just below the headstock instead of the base of the engine.

The 2-in-2 exhaust curls out from the front of the cylinders and exits behind the pegs that are now positioned directly below the saddle instead of right under the jutting cylinders, an issue that prevented Ryan from applying the rear brake without brushing his boot against the right cylinder in his review of the R 18 Roctane.

The exposed driveshaft introduced on the R 18 models returns, but with a shorter length to suit the R20 concept’s roadster characteristics. At 61.0 inches, the R20’s wheelbase is significantly shorter than the R 18 cruisers, but still slightly longer than what you’d find on the R 1250 R.

Even more significant is the new Paralever swingarm design. The R20 concept uses a double-sided Paralever, with a chrome-molybdenum steel swingarm and aluminum Paralever strut. BMW claims the new design “so that the drive torque is completely balanced”. We expect some version of this new design will make its way to production models at some point. Öhlins provides its fully adjustable Blackline suspension components for both the rear shock and the inverted fork.

Another change is the use of 17-inch wheels, with wire spoke front wheel and 120/70 tire up front, and a 17x6.25 black disc rear wheel with a 200/55 tire. The front wheel is equipped with dual radial-mount six-piston calipers, while the rear wheel uses a four-piston caliper, all supplied by ISR.

At present, BMW has made no mention of a production model, but at the very least, elements such as the new Paralever and engine updates are likely to come to the R 18 range.

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Dennis Chung
Dennis Chung

Dennis has been a part of the team since 2008, and through his tenure, has developed a firm grasp of industry trends, and a solid sense of what's to come. A bloodhound when it comes to tracking information on new motorcycles, if there's a new model on the horizon, you'll probably hear about it from him first.

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  • Imtoomuch Imtoomuch on May 30, 2024

    Crazy that they show this concept in a dimly lit room. I guess they won't want people to see it.

    I think BMW is starting to realize they designed a stupid engine. Now they are trying to find ways to sell it. The R18 looks great, but motorcycles are meant to be ridden.

  • BTRDAYZ BTRDAYZ on May 31, 2024

    Like a naked sports bobber! I like it! If it's comfortable (pegs and leg room), doesn't roast my feet and under $16,000, I could make room in my garage for it.