Singapore/Munich – Bike makers are seeing growth in two areas: new riders and new markets. They solve this by offering new models that are smaller in capacity, easier to handle and maintain and, most importantly, are less expensive.
BMW has announced that its own line of smaller bikes will be launched globally in 2015. BMW Motorrad’s head man, Stephan Schaller, has been quoted in Motorcycle News as saying that a new range of small-capacity BMWs will be on sale next year. The bikes will be produced in conjunction with Indian firm TVS, and it’s believed the machines will be around 300cc in capacity, with three body styles to be made including an enduro-styled GS-a-like, a naked roadster and a sports bike. This move isn’t a big surprise, as other bike companies have done similar: KTM builds its small-capacity Duke and RC390 range with Bajaj in India, while Harley-Davidson made a similar move with its 500cc and 750cc models produced at an Indian subsidiary.
While there’s no details as yet on those new bikes, Singapore’s BMW motorrad line-up for 2015 has already been confirmed. And those looking to get into riding with their first ‘big’ bike, or established riders, need look no further than the accomodating F 800 R, which has received significant updates. Also launching this year are the R 1200 RS sport tourer, the new version of the S 1000 RR superbike, and the S 1000 XR sport/adventure tourer.
BMW’s friendly naked (that sounds wrong) roadster gets a considerable raft of improvements. With the old headlights it looked like a de-dirtified F 700 GS which left it a bit bland looking, but the new bike is more future-warrior than a off-road-less GS now, quite a departure from before. Besides the new headlight unit there’s also different side panels. It doesn’t just look more purposeful though, as it gets a few equipment upgrades: The front forks are now upside down units with radial brakes, there’s a power increased from 87 to 90bhp now, as well as shorter first and second gears for more accelerative poke. It’s got a lower seat too (790mm from 800mm) and new stability control and electronic suspension adjustment as options. As BMW’s official photos suggest, that makes it even better for those new to riding, or who just want a easy-to-manage bike – it only weighs 202kg with fluids, sans rider. Fuel economy, like the rest of the 800 series parallel twin range, should also be excellent.
R 1200 RS
BMW’s on a huge roll, posting one record sales year after another. That’s partly down to its constantly expanding model line-up, which feature new bikes as well as resurrected old favourites. The R 1200 RS is a sport tourer, and a new version of the cult classic, the R 1200 S, which featured the BMW signature boxer engine and shaft drive, but with a sporty half-fairing. There used to be an R 1200 RS from the 1970s, but we’re too young to remember it! Jokes aside, the new RS has the usual complement of advanced aids (riding modes, traction control, ABS) and should offer a sportier experience for those who still want a comfy, capable boxer-powered tourer.
S 1000 XR
The adventure touring segment has, like SUVs with cars, really exploded in the past five years and we’re seeing the same kind of model proliferation on two-wheels as we have on four. The S 1000 XR is a key example – and should be a very interesting entry for BMW here. Take the 160bhp, 1.0-litre engine from the neck-straining S 1000 R supernaked, add even more features and an upright riding position, plus long-travel suspension and you get the XR. Like all of BMW’s S range, it packs electronic aids such as stability control, electronic suspension adjustment and optional Dynamic Traction Contrl and ABS Pro, plus Pro riding modes which increase your choices from two to four. ABS Pro, like the system seen on the KTM 1290 Adventure, enables you to use the front brake safely while cornering. Local spec should be very generous, with additional touring kit (windscreen, larger tank, luggage) available too. The XR and F 800 R should be in Singapore within the first half of the year, along with the revised S 1000 RR superbike.