German website Motorrad has published a photograph of what appears to be a BMW bagger powered by a large Boxer engine has been spotted undergoing tests on public roads. The engine is believed to be based on the prototype “R18” engine that BMW showcased in December in the one-off “Departed” concept by Japanese builder Custom Works Zon (pictured above).
Having grown up around motocross, and with a couple of years on the road on two wheels some 13-plus years ago, throwing my leg back over a motorcycle this past summer was anything but starting from scratch (thankfully). Sure, I was a little rusty to say the least, but the essence of riding isn’t something easily forgotten. After a few quick jaunts, I was back in the swing of things. Though the mechanics and principles remain the same, the new motorcycle market for more novice riders is a completely different beast than it was the last time I was on two wheels. A veritable boom of larger, and frankly more appropriate “starter bikes” is well underway in the form of the 300cc class. These more approachable and rookie friendly rides aren’t like the undersized and underpowered 125s and 250s that have been around for decades, which is a fantastic thing – a serious win for new riders who are on the taller side. Throwing my 6’1 frame over a CBR 125, well, can you picture the bear riding a minibike in a Russian circus? You get the idea.
Every year Motorcycle.com gets invited to the press introductions for several new motorcycles – it’s the biggest perk of our job, and the reason all of us have stuck around as long as we have! The cycle goes like this: at the end of one year or the beginning of the next, manufacturers talk a big game about a new model launch, and/or the internet goes wild with social media rumors and opinions about a new bike. In turn we, the media, can’t wait to be the first to throw a leg over said bike to see what the fuss is about. Sometimes the motorcycle in question is a dud, other times it exceeds beyond our wildest dreams. Then you get the rare model that didn’t get much fanfare but turns out to be unexpectedly awesome.
Earlier this month, BMW and Japanese builder Custom Works Zon presented a rather industrial-looking retro-styled roadster at the 27th annual Mooneyes Show in Yokohama, Japan. The bike itself, christened the “Departed” by builders Yuichi Yoshizawa and Yoshikazu Ueda, was an interesting combination of vintage styling and modern production, making use of a lot of milled aluminum, steel piping and sheet metal and drawing inspiration from the bikes ridden by racer and landspeed record holder Ernst Henne in the ’20s and ’30s.
The air had a brisk freshness about it. Pure mountain air with a hint of fall from the turning leaves. The kind of unsullied atmosphere that can only be found far from the pollution of civilization. The sun had begun its slow descent behind the surrounding red rock mesas, and the cottonwoods and aspens appeared to glow in the late daylight, contrasting beautifully with the red rock, blue skies and well-manicured grass of the Gateway Canyons Resort. The resort sits at 4,500 feet, in the juncture of five canyons, some of which had been carved out more than a billion years ago. This would be the proving ground for our evaluation of BMW’s latest mid-size GS offerings – the 2019 F 750 GS and F 850 GS.
BMW introduced a new addition to its scooter lineup in the new C400GT. It joins the C400X introduced last year as a second mid-sized scooter, slotting in below the C650GT, C650 Sport and the electric C Evolution. The 2019 BMW C400GT shares much with the C400X, but with more of a focus on comfort and touring.
Has it really been 10 years since the BMW S1000RR first debuted? The S1000RR has been one of our favorite literbikes for a decade now, but for the 2019 model year, it’s getting a complete makeover, with a new look and a brand new engine with variable valve timing claiming 205 hp.
The Model Year 2019 show season is fully underway, and so far, we’ve seen some exciting news. It began in Intermot with the unveiling of new models from Aprilia, Ducati, Indian, Kawasaki, KTM, Suzuki, and Triumph. Then the focus turned to Las Vegas, NV, and the AIMExpo where Motorcycle.com was on-hand to witness the unveiling of the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R and other offerings from the motorcycle industry as a whole.
Okay, right, we already had this discussion about whether a bike not powered by a rumbly big V-twin qualifies as a “Bagger” shortly before the K1600B blew everybody’s doors off in our Big Dam Tour last February. Instead of a big V-twin, this one’s got BMW’s 1649cc inline-Six, which not only out-torques all the big Twins – 106 lb-ft at 5200 rpm – it also demolishes them in the horsepower department: 132 hp at 8000 rpm is 57 more than the best-bagger runner-up’s 75. Yeah, but it lacks character, some say. Blow me, is the proper retort. Character schmaracter.
By now, hopefully you’ve already read our street installation of this two-part test. If not, STOP! Please do check it out because it outlines and dissects each and every bike in great detail, and it very well might answer a slew of questions you might have that aren’t addressed here, in the off-road portion of the shootout.