Are BMW’s Heritage Models Finally Done?

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Has BMW Motorrad called it quits for its heritage lineup of motorcycles? That is the rumor at least, and there is some good evidence to support the notion.

This is because buried on the 60th turn of BMW’s 260-page annual report for 2017 is the headline: “R nineT family now complete” – a nod that the German brand’s lineup of air-cooled retro-styled motorcycles has reached its zenith and logical conclusion.

That makes sense, since there isn’t really a category left of the R nineT family to explore. It has a roadster, a standard, a scrambler, an adventure bike, and a café racer model all in the lineup. No hipster stone has been left unturned.

The post-authentic styling trend is over. It’s dead. BMW called it, right? Well…Not so fast.

While “BMW Motorrad completed the R nineT product family line-up in 2017” – so says the annual report – we talked to a few BMW insiders at the Americas GP, and found out that’s not quite the case.

From those conversations, if anything it seems that BMW is gearing up to move more heritage-based models in the coming model years. 

Taking a page from Triumph Motorcycles, BMW hopes to flood the space with post-authentic options.

So how do we square these two notions? How can the R nineT be done, but at the same time BMW is set to release even more vintage-styled machines?

The answer seems simple enough: BMW will continue producing heritage-focused motorcycles, but they won’t be based off the R nineT platform.

Whether that means a new platform will debut, with a new engine and chassis, or instead BMW Motorrad will once again simply repurpose its air-cooled boxer-twin into a new chassis design remains to be seen.

There does seem to be a percolation in the industry away from the heritage trend though, with bikes from the 1980s and 1990s starting to come into vogue with designers and builders.

Perhaps, this is what BMW’s new “vintage” will look like. As always, time will tell.

Source: BMW Group & Bothan Spies