BMW are surging ahead with plans to enter the small bike market – with what’s believed to be a 300cc roadster spotted testing in Germany last week.
Developed in association with Indian automotive giant, TVS, the small-capacity bike – codenamed K03 according to recent paperwork assigned to a prototype shipped from Germany to India – was spied testing near the HQ of BMW’s Research and Design division. Despite a fleeting glimpse of the bike being captured last year, this is the first time the machine has been seen with any clarity.
BMW are remaining as tight-lipped as always in the run-up to the release of a new model, but despite the fairly rough and ready state of this test mule, we can see how the finished machine is likely to look.
The test bike appears to use a water-cooled, four-stroke single cylinder engine of around 300cc. This sort of capacity is in line with the competition from rival manufacturers, and is the most competitive part of the market in developing countries. MCN expect there will be other styles of bike built around the same basic platform, to comprise a range of up to three new models, most likely a roadster, sportsbike, and a GS-alike trailie.
The link up with Indian bike giant TVS is a sensible and cost-effective way for the premium German brand to gain a firm foothold in developing markets. It also grants the Indian company access to BMW’s first-rate design, engineering and R&D facilities.
There was rumour the new BMW/TVS collaboration might be based on the TVS Draken X-21 that was shown last year, but this test mule appears to share almost nothing with that bike in terms of chassis and engine – while some of the running gear looks familiar – suggesting that this is an almost completely clean-sheet design.
However well resolved this prototype looks, a production version is unlikely to break cover until 2016.
BMW head of motorcycles Stephan Schaller previously told MCN: “In terms of the sub-500cc bikes we are still some years away from these models being on sale as that is how long it takes to develop something completely new and these are bikes that are being developed by both BMW and TVS. There is no difference from any other BMW in the way they are being designed. They will be sold in Europe as well as the developing market. Having entry-level bikes like this is important.”
Images: BMH Images