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BMW bet big on going small

Published: 09 October 2015

Updated: 06 October 2015

While the new R nineT range isn’t breaking dramatically new ground for the German firm, their decision to move into the sub-500cc is a radical departure. The first fruit of their collaboration with Indian giant TVS is expected to debut next month at the Milan show in the form of a naked roadster, before following the same platform direction as all of BMW’s other chassis and engine packages, by spawning further models. The firm have built their massive recent success on having three to five models based on every platform, currently meaning a five-bike R-series range for the liquid-cooled motor, three-bike S1000 series, and so on down the range. An anticipated five-bike R nineT range will be in existence within the next two years, while we expect this new 310 roadster to be followed by two further versions.

It's likely that the roadster will be joined by a version that apes the R1200GS, while a third version is rumoured to be a retro-focussed street bike.

The only official nod to any of these small capacity bikes is the stunt concept shown by the company in Brazil this week, so firm technical details are scant.

What we do know is that the new models will use a liquid-cooled 310cc double overhead cam single cylinder engine, mounted in a steel frame. The cylinder head is reversed and canted backwards to allow the intake to sit at the front, while the exhaust exits at the rear. The full exhaust system appears to be around 2 feet long, with the muffler mounted vertically between the back of the engine and the conventional monoshock – pointing directly at the ground. While this is clearly visible on the stunt bike, we expect the roadster will need more effective silencing and emissions control, which will result in a large collector box/muffler filling that space. For newbies and urbanites, it’s a great solution that makes the bike very narrow, and minimises expensive damage in the event of a spill. 

There’s no word on price or availability yet, but we expect it to arrive in dealers in Spring 2016 at sub-£4000 as a strong competitor for Yamaha’s new MT-03 and Kawasaki’s Z300.

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