Ah, BMW, how you tease us. The brand sometime accused of being Boring Motor Werks has been working hard to shake its staid image in recent years, and the new Concept Roadster is the latest velocity delivery system designed to tempt younger, urban-dwelling riders who’ve outgrown their Vespas.
While still a concept bike according to a BMW press release, the Concept Roadster seems to be following the path of the recent R Nine T, another simplified boxer twin aimed at the hipster customization crowd who are drawing decent paychecks.
While the R Nine T harkens back to BMW’s legacy of “toaster” bikes from the ’60s and ’70s, the Concept Roadster looks more like it came from the hard drives of designers who watched Tron: Legacy every night for a few weeks.
The overall theme is one of lightness blended with a black hole of engine mass right behind the front wheel, the better to wheelie with, my dear. Rear drive is via a single-sided Paralever shaft and Brembo brakes all around should provide ample stopping power.
If the Roadster ever comes to showrooms, it’s doubtful it will be wearing the near-race-spec (albeit conventional) Ohlins suspension front and rear at the base price level, but we can only imagine the sweetness of their performance while riding this most minimal of minimalist Beemers.
Other trick bits include a techno Halloween mask of an LED headlight array riding below a billet-enclosed LCD instrument panel, R-spec rocker covers on the liquid-cooled boxer’s cylinder heads, LED indicators tucked up under the full-aluminum seat section (sorry, no pillion on this hooligan), and a blue triangular spaceframe showing off all the nothingness behind the engine.
Below the 1,170cc 125hp twin, a somewhat stylized exhaust collector ends in an upswept single megaphone that will most certainly not pass any urban sound-level test on the planet, except maybe in Somalia. Or the Arctic.
Viewed from the front in BMW’s press photos, the Roadster appears crouched and ready to attack, but it’s also much wider and more burly than its potential competition, namely the lithe Ducati Streetfighter.
Most BMWs err on the side of comfort and competence rather than stoking the speed lust of young urbanite gearheads (S1000RR excepted), so it would be a genuine treat for BMW to add something as socially questionable as the Concept Roadster to the stable. I just hope they make that nutso exhaust an option — track only, of course. Wink wink, nudge nudge.