I’ll be honest; the reason you’re seeing this 1995 road test of the BMW R1100RS is largely because I’m surprised our servers haven’t lost this story from MO’s very early days. Motorcycle.com was only a year old when this test debuted. It’s fun reading through these irreverent days of the site combined with the motorcycles of the era. It’s interesting to note how the OG’s of MO were dealing with some of the same issues we deal with today: accepting emissions compromises while equally bemoaning how much they sap performance. Then there are the usual BMW quirks which seemingly haven’t changed. Speaking of not changing, check out that Aerostich suit!
Earlier this year, reports emerged that BMW had filed trademark applications for “R12”, with many predicting the name would be used on a new cruiser. The logic made sense, as the naming structure was similar to the R18, and BMW lacked a cruiser model in the 1200-ish range. We were a little less bullish on that theory at the time, and we suspected there was more to the story. And now, new evidence has emerged that may justify our skepticism.
[UPDATE: BMW has released a video about the Concept R18 being ridden around the streets of Hamburg, Germany. Apart from one short part around the 36 second mark that was oddly reflected, the video gives us a good look at the concept running. The engine noise in the video is presumably genuine and not dubbed, but it is neat seeing the exposed drive shaft rotating. —Ed]
The big GS gets all the love and 27% of BMW’s sales, but when the BMW people asked which one I’d like to ride home after the Palm Springs roll-out party for the new 1250 boxers two months ago, we picked the RT. It only makes up about 10% of BMW’s numbers, but the RT never expects you to ride it through a sand wash.
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).
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.
One could take two approaches to understanding what BMW has done to the R nineT to give us the 2017 BMW R nineT Racer. The glass half-empty crowd will talk about the components that fell away to help keep the Racer’s price down. The glass half-full perspective would stress the cool new additions to the platform that resulted in the Racer.
You know what’s funny? Calvin Kim posits, in his 2003 First Ride review of the BMW R1200CL, that people would end up buying this bike. Nevermind the, uh, ugly aesthetics, the R1200 backbone of BMW’s cruiser would be sure to persuade unorthodox cruiser riders that it was the way forward. Well, as history has taught us, there aren’t as many unorthodox cruiser riders as BMW hoped, and the R1200CL is remembered as a flop. Ugliness aside, read on to find out Kim’s overall positive view of the CL. And if you’re looking for a few more pictures, you can check out the photo gallery.
As the Wheels & Waves Festival in Biarritz, France enters its fifth year, BMW has, again, released a concept bike based on the R nineT. Last year, a scrambler-ized R nineT, dubbed Concept Path 22 after the trail to one of Europe’s most famed surf spots, featured a custom paint by visual artist Ornamental Conifer. For 2016, BMW decided to look to the marque’s Paris-Dakar motorcycles to create the BMW Motorrad Concept Lac Rose.
From the V-8-powered Boss Hoss to the Sears Allstate “Twingle” (split-single), motorcycle engines have enjoyed a quizzical variety of configurations. In a future Top 10 we’ll countdown the most bizarre motorcycle engines, but for this list let us examine the engines that have come to dominate motorcycle power production.