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.
Ultimately, I think we are going to come back to this story several times over the next few weeks, as there is so much going on here, from such a simple thing, that one story just won’t do it all justice.
To start things off though, let’s look at the basics…as the BMW Group recently hosted what it called the BMW Group Digital Day 2018, which was basically a showcase for all the cool technologies that the Bavarians are using to create a digital frontier that will reshape the human condition.
Most of the technology concerns BMW’s automotive business, but there was one little tidbit that could be of interest for motorcycle fans: the 3D printed frame for a BMW S1000RR superbike.
If you needed a bigger sign that the current zeitgeist of vehicle transportation is electric, look no further than BMW’s recent investment of €200 million for what the German brand is calling a “battery cell competence centre.”
The rather large capital expenditure, based in Munich, centers around the German brand’s commitment to electric vehicles, and its desire to develop next-generation electric drivetrains.
Specifically, the battery cell facility will allow BMW to explore new battery cell designs, chemistries, and technologies, so it can better work with battery cell manufacturers for the automotive company’s growing needs.
Not so easy is also improving upon the BMW S1000RR superbike – a machine that tops the lists of many motorcycle publications, near and far. When you ride the BMW S1000RR, it is easy to see why the Bavarian Bullet is so popular.
The BMW S1000RR is beating the Japanese brands at their own game, offering a 1,000cc inline-four superbike with near-200hp peak horsepower figures, anemic measurements on the scale, and a full-suite of electronics…all with aggressive pricing.
How do you improve on this design? Well, a carbon fiber chassis is certainly one way to start; a WorldSBK-spec 212hp engine certainly helps; and factory-set electronics don’t hurt nothin’ either. In other words, you make the BMW HP4 Race.
There are so many reasons why we should heap praise on BMW Motorrad for building the 2017 BMW HP4 Race, but instead we are just going to let this video from the German brand do the talking.
Does anyone know what the 3asy pricing on the HP4 Race is looking like? What if I use my kidney as a down payment? No, seriously…asking for friend.
The BMW HP4 Race has finally dropped, the Bavarian brand’s extreme superbike offering that drips in carbon fiber pieces. A track-only liter-bike for true enthusiasts, the BMW HP4 Race sees a potent 212hp engine packed into featherweight 377 lbs wet body.
Of course to hit those weight goals, BMW Motorrad employed extensive use of composite materials to shed weight from the already robust BMW S1000RR superbike. As such, the frame, bodywork, and wheels are made from carbon fiber, including the self-supporting tail section.
BMW doesn’t reveal too much on how it has boosted the power from the 199hp found on the S1000RR’s inline-four power plant, though the result is an increased redline to 14,500 rpm (up from 14,200 rpm).
Keeping inline with its ~$85,000 price tag though (BMW Motorrad hasn’t released pricing figures yet, unfortunately), the BMW HP4 Race comes with top-of-the-line brakes and suspension pieces. It also has a robust electronics package that features the usual suspects of three-letter acronyms.
There is plenty to drool over on the BMW HP4 Race, so we have 64 high-resolution photos of the machine, waiting for you after the jump. Enjoy!
As we predicted, the BMW HP4 Race carbon fiber superbike debuted today in China, at the Auto Shanghai 2017 expo. This is the production version of the prototype that BMW Motorrad teased at last year’s EIMCA show in Milan.
Details were scarce in Italy, but now BMW is ready to tell us all about its halo bike. The numbers? Only 750 units of the BMW HP4 Race will be produced. Each one will make 212hp, and weigh 377 lbs when fully fueled and ready to ride – which is lighter than BMW’s WorldSBK-spec S1000RR racing machine.
Of course the main feature of the BMW HP4 Race is that it drips in carbon fiber. The bodywork, main frame, and wheels are made of this composite material, with the tail section being a self-supporting carbon fiber unit.
BMW Motorrad has interestingly chosen an aluminum swingarm for the HP4 Race though, a departure from the show bike, likely for rigidity/handling reasons.
BMW Motorrad looks to have 2017 off to a strong start, with the German brand reporting a 5.5% increase in sales so far this year.
Selling 35,636 motorcycles thus far, BMW’s first quarter results were reinforced by the brand’s strong March, with over half of this year’s units sold last month (18,265 two-wheelers in all) for a 10.9% increase over March 2016.
Rever, the popular motorcycle route tracking app for smartphones, just got a serious boost today. The news sees BMW’s investing arm, BMW i Ventures, investing in the social media company, while BMW Motorrad will form a strategic partnership with Rever as well.
Details about the deal are a bit vague beyond the aforementioned, though one can logically deduce that BMW will be able to use the Rever platform for its riders, adding a connected social element for BMW Motorrad.
Of course for Rever, this means the startup has the backing of one of the strongest motorcycle brands in the world, along with a strategic investment – a two-fer for the Colorado company.
Today is “pass off old news as new news” day in the motorcycle industry. In addition to re-discovering that Dainese is working on a space suit design (circa 2014), another story from 2011 is getting some play: BMW’s laser headlight technology.
The rehashing of this story comes about as BMW Motorrad is at the Consumer Electronics Shows (CES) today, showing its laser headlight technology now on a motorcycle. Cue your Austin Powers jokes, now.
Laser-powered headlights are already available on BMW cars, with the 7 Series and i8 electric car featuring the technology. Thus, the logical progression was to add the frickin’ laser beams to BMW Motorrad’s flagship model, the BMW K1600GTL, which is showing at CES.
Selling 42,259 units in Q2 2014, BMW Motorrad sales are up 5.1%, with revenue up 11.2% to €528 million (€55 million EBIT). This sales volume represents an all-time second-quarter high for BMW motorcycles sales.
The news also makes the first half of 2014 the best six-month period, in the 90 years of BMW Motorrad’s history, of BMW motorcycle sales, with revenue up 9.8% to €1 billion, and unit sales up 9.3% to 70,978 units.
This week marks a milestone for BMW Motorrad, as the company rolled its 500,000th boxer-twin GS series off the production line, fittingly a BMW R1200GS.
Designed to be the perfect blend of an off-road and street bike with everyday drivability, the top-selling GS series has captured the hearts and minds of adventure enthusiasts for the past 34 years.