BMW Concept Roadster First Look

May 23, 2014
Bart Madson
By Bart Madson
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Bashing away at the MotoUSA keyboard for nine years now, Madson lends his scribbling and editorial input on everything from bike reviews to industry analysis and motorcycle racing reports.

BMW Motorrad once again chose the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este to debut a Boxer-powered motorcycle concept. The historic car show, hosted at the Grand Hotel Villa d’Este by the shores of Lake Como, saw BMW pull the wraps off its Concept Roadster.

Last year’s Concorso entry from BMW was the retro-themed Concept Ninety, which the Bavarian marque designed and built in partnership with Roland Sands Design. This year das Motorrad crew went a completely different direction with the Concept Roadster sporting a more contemporary, high-performance aesthetic.


The more modern bent starts with the powerplant, as this year’s Concept sources the water-cooled Boxer Twin. BMW claims the familiar 125 horsepower/92 lb-ft torque power numbers from the Water Boxer, which has migrated from the 2013 R1200GS onto the 2014 GS Adventure and R1200RT. But the iconic Boxer engine is perhaps the least visually engaging element on this new Roadster, and that’s saying something considering the prominent neon yellow R stamped on the valve covers.

Overall the profile of the bike is quite aggressive, with BMW touting the Roasters crouched posture from its low-in-front/tall-in-back styling lines. The rear section of the bike is the most attention-grabbing. Milled from a single piece of aluminum, BMW press materials state “the deliberately visible milling marks create a rough, almost industrial look which contrasts with the painted and anodized surfaces.”

Integrated into the rear section is a racing inspired seat. It continues the neon yellow accent, with the color underlying the perforated leather surface. The seat is surrounded by its metallic base, and also melds with a stainless steel stripe which runs down the center of the Beemer’s sculpted tank.

Further metallic accents are the aluminum air intakes, flanking the black radiators. Like the seat, the intake is underscored with those neon yellow accents. More sleek-looking metal bits incorporate the instrumentation and headlight assembly. Speaking of which, the LED headlamp array is full-bore futurist in its design – a headlight that doesn’t look anything like a light.

Somehow the tubular frame stands out amidst everything else going on visually, courtesy of its triangular shape and bright blue color (BMW dubs it Sparkling Racing Blue). Another eye-catching element is the engine spoiler. BMW claims aerodynamic benefit from the spoiler, which also routes the exhaust headers that terminate into the dramatically upswept right-side tailpipe.

The high-performance element is cemented with the Roadster’s top-shelf Brembo radial-mount stoppers up front. Similar high-spec Ohlins suspension bits are also sourced, with the outer fork tubes anodized black. Concept bikes are a fun distraction, because it always invites the obvious question of whether there’s a production bike in the works. This Beemer seems more design study than assembly line-bound, by this author’s reckoning anyway. But the Boxer-powered R nineT reached production as a 2014 model, and is an amalgam, of sorts, of previous concept models – like the Lo Rider and aforementioned Concept Ninety. But those concepts and subsequent NineT are far more traditional designs than the brash-looking Roadster.

A pipes and slippers bike this is not! 



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