DESIGN/MOTORCYCLE: The BMW „Concept Roadster
Last year BMW showed at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este with the BMW Concept Ninety, how classic and yet different the interpretation of the then boxer motorcycles on 90 years of BMW motorcycle construction can look. With the current BMW „Concept Roadster“ study, the Bavarian motorcycle manufacturer takes a massive step towards modernity. Edgar Heinrich, Head of BMW Motorrad Design explains it like this:
Modernity and the emotionality of the BMW Concept Roadster, on the other hand, show that motorcycling is much more than perfect function for BMW.“
Classic values, interpreted in a modern way.
The BMW Concept Roadster is a typical BMW roadster with a powerful two-cylinder boxer engine, single-sided swingarm with cardan drive and a lightweight trellis frame. It interprets these classic elements in their most modern and dynamic form. „The BMW Concept Roadster is exciting to look at and at least as exciting to ride,“ says Ola Stenegard, Head of Vehicle Design BMW Motorrad, about the BMW Concept Roadster.
The BMW Boxer engine has always stood for rich performance and superior power delivery across the entire rev range. In the latest generation, it produces 92 kW (125 hp) at 7,750 rpm from 1,170 cc and has a maximum torque of 125 Nm at 6,500 rpm. The engine also forms the visual centre of the BMW Concept Roadster. Around it, the compact proportions with low front and high rear form a wedge-shaped silhouette that visually accelerates the motorbike even when stationary. The crouched stance with a strong focus on the front wheel and the very short tail promise agile, light-footed handling. A coloured subdivision provides a visual separation of the dark engine area below and the light seat area with tank and rear bodywork above. The dark lower area brings the BMW Concept Roadster visually even closer to the road and emphasises the road-oriented driving experience. The light upper area conveys lightness and a low visual centre of gravity.
The front headlamp draws a modern and dynamic interpretation of the classic round headlamp. Matt light banks executed in full LED technology form the characterful „face“ of the BMW Concept Roadster and lend it an extremely technical appearance. Thanks to the LED technology, the headlamp mask is also particularly flat in the side view and appears very light. Behind it, a reduced instrument cluster makes all driving-relevant information available in a high-quality and exclusive manner.
Emotional surface play.
The interplay of tank, seat and radiator is drawn with a lot of movement and modelled to perfection by hand. The experienced hands of the BMW modellers give the surfaces an emotionality that no computer could create in this way. The surfaces reflect the character traits of the BMW Concept Roadster in detail: the sculpturally designed tank in Sparkling Lightwhite expresses the forward orientation and dynamism of the BMW Concept Roadster through the precisely modelled surfaces. At the same time, its shape provides the best ergonomic knee fit for optimum handling. A cover made of matt stainless steel adds a high-quality yet robust accent to the centre of the tank.
Light and filigree – the aluminium rear end.
A special highlight emerges from the tank: the steep rear section made of brightly milled aluminium. The self-supporting rear structure is machined from one piece and thus allows for a very reduced and filigree rear element. The deliberately visible milled marks create a raw, almost industrial look that contrasts with the painted and anodised surfaces. The expressively modelled surface work on the upper and lower sides of the hedge element translates the emotional aspirations of the BMW Concept Roadster down to the last detail. The integrated single seat takes its visual cues from racing and thus underlines the dynamic ambitions of the BMW Concept Roadster in a stylish interpretation. In addition, a neon yellow colour accent in the lower area of the seat cushion behind perforated Alcantara leather provides a bold colour contrast. Further colour accents in neon yellow are found on the valve covers as well as the cooling fins inside the air intakes of the side trim, further loosening up the image of the side. As a supporting element, the tubular trellis frame painted in Sparkling Racing Blue adds a visual highlight. This traditional element of a BMW roadster with a boxer engine is given a sporty modern touch by the expressive colour tone. The tank and frame are characterised by the interplay of the BMW Motorrad „house colour“ of white on the tank and the brilliant blue in an interpretation of the traditional BMW Motorrad colours that is as typical as it is contemporary.
High-quality milled aluminium parts.
In addition to the rear structure, further milled aluminium parts emphasise the technically sculptural look in the side. The side air intakes stand out prominently here. They, too, feature bare aluminium with milled marks and are clearly accentuated against the matt black surfaces of the radiator. They form a triangle open towards the front, which is formally inspired by the „gill“ elements of the BMW supersport motorbikes. They feed air to the radiator and emphasise the dynamic gesture of the side. The cooling lamellas in neon yellow only become apparent at second glance.
The valve covers milled from aluminium are a special detail: their three-dimensional design language continues the strong forward orientation of the surfaces of the tank and gives the BMW boxer engine a distinctly sporty appearance. In addition, a protective pad on the valve covers shows that the BMW Concept Roadster can and should be moved very obliquely around corners. Inspired by the kneepads of a racing suit, it gives the BMW Concept Roadster a touch of racing atmosphere. An accent in neon yellow further emphasises this radical element.
Innovation in form and function – the engine spoiler.
Form and function come together in an innovative way in the pioneering engine spoiler. In the BMW Concept Roadster, it not only performs an aerodynamic function, but also integrates the entire pre-silencer. Together with the short, steep tailpipe of the exhaust system, the engine spoiler concentrates form and function around the engine. In this way, it emphasises the compact, dynamic statement of the side and the short rear. In addition to the high-quality machined parts, the BMW Concept Roadster features only the highest-quality high-performance parts. The fork tubes, suspension strut and brakes stand out elegantly with their anodised colouring, giving the BMW Concept Roadster an exclusive, sporty touch.
virtualdesignmagazine Michael Hiller