The swanky Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, held on Italy’s Lake Como, is traditionally a classic car event, but that hasn’t stopped BMW’s motorbike division from using it to show off what’s inside their minds when it comes to future model developments.
In 2015 the German giant showcased Concept 101, which one year later morphed into the K1600B, while previous years have seen the unveiling of RnineT concepts.
This year’s event took place at the weekend and BMW’s showcase was the 9cento, Italian for 900, which potentially sees the company breathe new life into the dying sports touring sector.
According to BMW Motorrad’s Head of Design, Edgar Heinrich “The BMW Motorrad Concept 9cento is our interpretation of a modern all-rounder for the new mid-range segment. Functional properties such as touring capability, storage space and wind/weather protection are relevant to most motorcyclists but they’re rarely included in the design of a concept vehicle. In this year’s concept bike we’re demonstrating that all these rational aspects can be coupled with a dynamic design to create something really exciting and highly emotional.”
While the parallel twin motor appears to be shared with the current F850 models, it’s the styling that really stands out, in particular an innovative ‘convertible’ rear end that transforms the bike from a middleweight streetfighter to a practical sports tourer. The front retains traditional BMW styling cues, not dissimilar to the S1000XR, but the rear section can be removed to create a short and stubby look, much like the KTM Duke 800.
With the rear section added the pillion provision is extended. It also contains a powerful electromagnet, which appears to secure the small panniers. It’s all clever stuff and gives a glimpse into what BMW may be coming up with in the future.
It’s all a far cry from Honda Deauvilles and BMW’s own F800GT. It’s probably unlikely that the 9cento will make it into production as shown in Italy, but don’t be surprised to see a more conventional F800GT replacement emerge in 2019 – perhaps featuring some of the design cues showcased in the concept bike
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