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BMW boxes bigger with R20 concept

BMW R20

BMW’s big booming R18 cruiser range features a massive 1802cc air-cooled flat twin motor. It’s a huge old lump of torque but, if that’s not quite enough, the manufacturer is teasing us with the idea of an even more ginormous boxer twin in a new concept bike.

Unveiled at the posh Villa d’Este motor show at Lake Como in Italy last week, the R20 concept is a roadster which BMW says ‘impresses with a powerful appearance in a casual gentleman style…’.

Whatever that may mean, the chassis is completely new with a frame constructed from chrome-molybdenum steel tubes. Wheels are traditional 17” items front and rear, with classic spokes up front and a blacked out disc over the rear to give the impression of being hewn from solid metal. The R18’s exposed driveshaft is repurposed on the concept, albeit shortened in light of the R20’s much more compact wheelbase.

The suspension set up also enters new ground for BMW. Öhlins’ Blackline catalogue has been raided to provide a fully adjustable set-up front and rear, with the traditional twin-shock arrangement at the rear breaking from BMW’s normal monoshock Paralever system. Huge radially mounted brake calipers come from another Swedish company, ISR, and should offer plenty of stopping power, as well as looking great.

The look of the concept bike is dominated by the flat and wide handlebars, huge aluminium fuel tank and the lurid hot pink colour scheme (or hotter than pink, as BMW dub it). The minimalist back end is tidy, with a single saddle upholstered in quilted black Alcantara and fine-grain leather. It looks like a subtly modified custom bike, with plenty of scope for the owner to take in the direction of their desire. Of course, the biggest talking point is that huge air/oil-cooled boxer twin, which has been punched out to a staggering one litre per cylinder. BMW are being a bit shy about the technical aspects of the engine, other than saying new cylinder head covers, cambelt cover and oil cooler were developed, mainly for aesthetic reasons. Indeed, the huge engine is understandably a dominating design element of the bike, with items like the megaphone exhaust system and throttle bodies all made to look good as well as to deliver their functional job.

“The R20 concept is a bold interpretation of the BMW Motorrad DNA,” says Alexander Buckan, Head of Design BMW Motorrad. “It combines modern technical elements with a classic roadster design. Its oversized proportions and minimalistic aesthetic make it an unmistakable character.”

While very much trailed as a concept bike for now, BMW’s Villa d’Este specials have had a habit of evolving into full production machines in the years that follow. Could an R20 roadster be on the cards? It certainly shouldn’t be out of the question.

Bike News, Inside Bikes

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