A possible new BMW engine, in the company’s traditional air-cooled flat twin format, has broken cover in a Japanese built custom bike, shown at an event in Yokohama last week.
Custom motorcycle shop Custom Works Zon built the bike, which was commissioned by the German factory and developed around the prototype of an all-new engine.
The low profile of the bike is inspired by German motorcycle racer Ernst Henne’s record-breaking machines of the late 1920s and 1930s. The fuel tank, seat and front mudguard are all hand beaten from sheet steel, while the large wheels (21” front and 26” rear) are machined from solid aluminum and fitted with skinny Metzeler Marathon tyres. The girder style front fork is also made of solid aluminium, while the rear swinging arm is fashioned from steel pipe and attached to a trellis frame, with the rear suspension cleverly hidden to create a hardtail look.
Unsurprisingly the bike won ‘Best in Show’ and while the machine itself is a work of art, it is the huge engine that dominated the look of the bike and attracted the most attention.
Flat twins, also known as ‘boxers’ because of the way the pistons punch horizontally in the engine, have become a BMW trademark since appearing on the BMW R32 of 1923, the company’s first motorcycle. The configuration has been a constant in BMW’s range over the year, gaining watercooling and even variable valve timing on the latest R1250 models.
Details of the new engine are virtually non-existent, although BMW has stated that it will release further details at a later date.
What we do know is that the huge barrels suggest a large capacity, most likely in the 1700-1800cc range of Harley-Davidson’s big cruisers, with traditional pushrod operated valvetrain and air/oil cooling. With big torque, low revs and a chrome plated powerplant that’s high on the bling factor, the prototype engine suggests that BMW has a new range of classic cruisers coming our way in the not too distant future.
Yuichi Yoshizawa of Custom Works Zon was thrilled to collaborate with BMW Motorrad but also gave little away with regards to what may well be on the horizon. He said: “It was a great honour and a challenge to be able to build a motorcycle around the prototype of such a spectacular new boxer engine for one of the most tradition-steeped manufacturers.”
BMW has a track record of teasing upcoming new models at trendy bike shows. Models like the R nineT, K1600B and C Evolution were all preceded with concepts, and it’s hard to believe that the company would go to the massive time and expense of developing a prototype if it wasn’t planning to put such an engine into production at a later date.
Watch this space!
Get BMW bike insurance through Carole Nash