BMW has shown a second cruiser concept bike based around an 1800cc pushrod boxer twin engine and has now confirmed the company will show one more concept bike and then the full production bike later in 2019.
The ‘Revival Birdcage’ concept bike (pictured) was shown at the recent Handbuilt Show in Austin, Texas and was built by Revival Cycles. This concept bike featured the 1800cc boxer twin motor in a very minimally-designed trellis frame; clearly aimed at showing off the engine as the centre point of the design.
Timo Resch, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, BMW Motorrad said: “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.”
This BMW Motorrad developed concept will undoubtedly be shown at the prestigious Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este event in Italy which is a BMW-sponsored event and has been used to show off concept cars and motorcycles for nearly a decade.
The Revival Birdcage concept follows the Custom Works Zon ‘Departed’ concept that was shown earlier this year in Japan where the engine was referred to as the R18; thereby giving a clue as to the capacity of the engine being 1800cc.
WHAT CAN WE EXPECT TO SEE ON THE PRODUCTION BIKE?
BMW is, of course, revealing almost nothing about the actual production bike but before this concept bike was shown, top bosses and designers have explained the difficulties presented by BMW re-entering the cruiser class.
Now BMW’s boss Resch has confirmed it will be in production in 2020, this means we will almost certainly be seeing the fully-finished production bike in late 2019 and on sale in 2020.
The key concern is how the German company can ensure it comes across as ‘authentic’ and sits with the cruiser class that’s dominated by the American bikes from Harley-Davidson and, more recently, Indian.
A firm design clue to the direction BMW is aiming with the design can almost certainly be seen with the 2016 BMW R5 Hommage bike that was presented at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este show.
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This 2016 concept bike was the exact opposite of the latest design as it used an old 500cc boxer engine from a 1920s BMW, but had it fitted in a newly-designed frame.
To get a clear idea of where BMW is headed, take the frame design of the 2016 R5 Hommage with the engine of the two R18 concept bikes from this year and that should give a clear idea of how this new cruiser will look.
BMW has previously been honest about the need of the firm to re-enter the cruiser class in an effort to try and increase sales across lucrative markets like North America where bikes with the ‘feet forward’ riding position are dominant.
BMW hasn’t sold an all-out cruiser since the demise of the R1200C in 2004. Despite being ridden by James Bond in the 1997 movie Tomorrow Never Dies, the quirky custom never really took off and was quietly shuffled out of the BMW range after seven years in production.
That lack of success was partially down to the slightly odd styling but it was also not helped by the Boxer engine design, which puts a pair of cylinder heads precisely where riders needed to put their feet.
In the rather macho US market, the lack of cubic capacity of ‘only’ 1170cc compared to the much larger capacity bikes on offer from Harley-Davidson were also an impediment to sales for the R1200C. Despite retaining the classic BMW boxer layout, the new cruiser certainly won’t be lacking in cubes. Expect a whole host of accessories and option packages for the new bike too, allowing buyers to modify and customise their machines to their heart’s content.
BMW Motorrad has also come a long way in the past decade, transforming its image from old fashioned, touring focussed and very Germanic, to a cutting edge brand with class leading bikes in many more sectors, so it will be interesting to see how the rather conservative cruiser buyer views Motorrad’s offering.