BMW's naked revolution

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BMW revealed this stunning, hardcore boxer-engined roadster in Italy last weekend with bosses promising the production version will be on sale within a year.

The Concept Roadster is a vision of the future development of the boxer engine in a naked bike. It takes the engine and some of the running gear from the best-selling R1200GS, but grafts on superbike-spec brakes and suspension to give the roadster a complete image change in pursuit of younger buyers.

Of course that solid aluminium billet seat unit won’t be making production, nor the underbelly exhaust collector milled from three pieces of solid stainless steel, but what this bike signals is a new direction for one side of the boxer roadster family.

Boss of BMW Motorrad, Stephan Schaller said: “This is a pure and sporty boxer concept bike that we wanted to be young, fresh and pure. This bike is very concentrated in terms of design but there are elements you will see taken from this bike that will appear on a production bike next year.

“Our target was to aim the boxer roadster at a younger audience than the R1200R, which will still exist. We want to widen the BMW image; not just change it.”

At the heart of the design is the water-cooled 1170cc boxer twin first seen in the 2013 R1200GS, and now also the GS Adventure model and R1200RT. This new engine boasts 125bhp, compared to the 110bhp of the previous air-cooled variant, along with a corresponding lift in peak torque to 92ftlb.

The Concept Roadster weighs a full 45kg less than the adventure-bike R1200GS it shares an engine with, which will make for much increased performance and lighter handling. That weight loss even includes the heavy items like the billet seat and subframe, along with the heavy stainless steel exhaust collector and bellypan.

While BMW will not confirm its exact plans, it would appear this Concept Roadster will spawn a second roadster to sit in the R-model range alongside the GS adventure bikes, the RT and the R. The R1200R has never been a particular success in the UK motorcycle market but it remains popular in Europe and sells in reasonable numbers in the USA too. The new R1200R has already been spied undergoing testing and is looking almost certain for an official launch at one of the European shows this winter. We know this bike ditches the Duolever suspension of previous versions in favour of a traditional fork, and it will have the water-cooled motor for much enhanced performance.

This more extreme roadster is appealing to a younger audience who want the modern styling but don’t need the insane performance of the BMW S1000R or KTM 1290 Super Duke R. The production version of this bike would be more aimed at taking on the Ducati Monster 1200, which has a similar power figure.

Andy Downes

By Andy Downes

Former MCN Senior Reporter