BMW's motorcycles - Past, present and electric future

NOV 11, 2015 - German Motorcycle manufacturer BMW Motorrad is certainly switching up into top gear for innovating and expanding its range, in a variety of different ways.

The historic company looks back to some its early successes to offer a new opportunity in a segment ignored until now with the release of its single cylinder G 310 R. The motorcycle manufacturer will expand its successful model the R nineT. Finally, BMW Motorrad appears to be showing its hand in the world of electric motorcycles.

Clutch and Chrome covered some of this when reporting on a press release detailing BMW Motorrad’s ride into the segment of smaller horsepower motorcycles with its G 310 R.

Intended for motorcycle markets in Europe, Asia and South America the G 310 R features a completely newly developed 313 cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder engine with four valves and two overhead camshafts together with electronic fuel injection.

And this is where BMW Motorrad has looked back to ride forward.

“When you think back to the BMW R 39, the first BMW motorcycle with a one-cylinder engine developed 90 years ago, or the R 25 models of the post-war era, or the F 650 series launched in the 1990s – the key characteristics of BMW Motorrad’s one-cylinder models have always been the same: easy handling, inspiring driving dynamics, and high efficiency,” Stefan Schaller, President BMW Motorrad said in a press conference on Wednesday 11th of November.

“BMW Motorrad is now continuing this tradition with the 300 Roadster in a new and contemporary form,” Schaller continued discussing the introduction of the G 310 R.

In an effort to not only produce the model affordably but most likely to counter various tariffs and import taxes, BMW Motorrad have entered into a long-term cooperation agreement with TVS Motor Company, India’s third-largest motorcycle manufacturer with a total production volume of some 2.5 million units annually. Although BMW stressed the new model was developed entirely at their site in Munich, the 300 Roadster series will be produced in cooperation with TVS, allowing for ‘competitive costs in this new segment’.

The new single cylinder BMW G 310 R - Source BMW Motorrad

At the same press conference, BMW executives continued their love affair with the R nineT

“Even before its official presentation, the nineT made hearts beat faster: signature BMW elements combined with state-of-the-art technology as well as the possibility of customizing – this combination immediately was a huge hit with motorcyclists,” Stefan Schaller, President BMW Motorrad said in the press conference, “Our production was, and still is, booked out for months ahead.”

Based on the nineT backbone, BMW Motorrad are going to create a new family of air-cooled boxers, in a similar fashion seen with other model in the motorcycle line up. One of the reasons for this focus, great potential, in the U.S. market in particular as well as growth opportunities for the cruiser segment.

The first incarnation for this nineT series is the R nineT Scrambler which will be revealed at EICMA Show, called the biggest event in the world dedicated to 2 Wheels, taking place in Italy starting next week.

“The new Scrambler basically revives an entire era of motorcycling,” noted Schaller, “As the expression of a certain lifestyle, it is a pure manifestation of our motto, ‘Make Life a Ride.’ Just like the nineT, the new Scrambler is ‘Ready to customize’.”

The final wrinkle to come out the various press releases from BMW today leans heavily into the curve of electric motorcycles. In the long term plans discussed in the aforementioned Clutch and Chrome report, BMW Motorrad are looking to an electric scooter for the segment being referred to as ‘urban transportation’.

The BMW R nineT, the company's future - Source BMW Motorrad

However, BMW Motorrad also released details around its experimental vehicle eRR, an electric powered supersport motorcycle.

The experimental vehicle eRR, created as a project with the Technical University of Munich, embodies an idea of an electric powered supersport motorcycle made by BMW Motorrad.

“With presenting the experimental vehicle eRR BMW Motorrad goes one step forward and shows the possibilities of an all-electric drive in a supersport motorcycle,” Stephan Schaller, Head of BMW Motorrad said, “Regarding design and chassis technology the eRR leans on the supersport motorcycle S 1000 RR, however using an all-electric drive.”

This continuing ride down the electric road puts BMW Motorrad in league with Harley-Davidson who has yet committed to a full production electric motorcycle and Victory which has. Of course, Zero Motorcycles successfully produces a complete line of electric motorcycles.

BMW Motorrad's eRR - Source BMW Motorrad

Whether BMW feels they can take the leap from experimental to full production is cryptic at best.

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