One of the highlights at the Handbuilt Show in Austin, Texas was the a custom bike built by hosts Revival Cycles, which is called the Birdcage. You may have seen the Revival Birdcage making the rounds on custom sites. It is quite striking.
The bike features a large air-cooled boxer-twin engine (more on that in minute), with a web of titanium rods welded together to make the frame and basic body outline. It is a very minimalist approach, and it is designed to showcase the giant 1,800cc engine that is at the bike’s core. There is a good reason for that too.
The purpose of the Revival Birdcage is to help tease a new motorcycle model from BMW Motorrad, which will use this giant push-rod powered lump as the basis for a proper cruiser motorcycle, which will debut in 2020.
This little tidbit at the end has seemingly been missed by many, but it is a big, big deal – both literally and figuratively.
If this sounds familiar, then it should, as this was also the case with the Yuichi Yoshizawa and Yoshikazu Ueda of Custom Works Zon, who built the R18 custom that debuted at the end of last year.
“’The “Revival Birdcage’ turned out great and really showcases our Big Boxer perfectly”, said Timo Resch, Vice President Sales and Marketing BMW Motorrad. “Following the ‘Departed’ from CUSTOM WORKS ZON, this is the second fascinating custom bike built around the prototype of the BMW Motorrad Big Boxer.”
“We will also be showing a BMW Motorrad developed concept bike featuring this engine in the first half-year of 2019. BMW Motorrad will present a series production motorcycle with the Big Boxer for the Cruiser segment in the course of 2020.”
As the quote tells, all of this is part of BMW Motorrad’s guerilla-style marketing campaign for the new big-displacement bagger that we have been talking about for almost exactly two years now. The Asphalt & Rubber Bothan spy network is very strong.
The only thing more interesting than BMW’s approach to teasing this new motorcycle, is the bike they plan on creating itself.
The machine is set to go head-to-head with Harley-Davidson and other marques in the heritage cruiser class. BMW Motorrad is hoping that its air-cooled, push-rod, 1,800cc, boxer-engine will carry enough heritage and character to strike the fancy of cruiser riders.
The allure of course is tapping into the roughly quarter-million units per year market that Harley-Davidson currently leads in the motorcycle market.
Of course, Harley-Davidson itself is trying to get out of this business, and spread into other motorcycle segments, and perhaps this is where BMW and other brands see an opportunity.
If history teaches us anything though, it is that Harley-Davidson riders are only interested in riding one type of motorcycle: Harley-Davidsons. Good luck, BMW.
Photos of the Revival Birdcage Custom:
Source: BMW Motorrad