BMW 500cc R5 concept
28th May 2016
Supercharged | 1936 | 500cc custom | 2016
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"This," according to Edgar Heinrich, Head of design at BMW Motorrad, "is one of the most beautiful motorcycles in the history of BMW.” But we've been looking at the pics for a while, and we think it looks nice, but it's not exactly original. In fact, it looks like this bike is closely following an old trend rather than establishing one. Based upon a heavily reworked and rebuilt 500cc Boxer engine, this 2016 supercharged concept bike from BMW is intended to get us all slavering and rushing for our chequebooks or VISA cards, mentally if not literally. But being a concept machine, it's not available yet and might never become available, neither in this form, nor watered down and made more viable for retail sale.
BMW calls it the R5 Hommage, and that is Hommage as opposed to "homage". This rolling tribute to the R5 of 1936 has just been shown at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este at Lake Como, northern Italy.
▲ Ola Stenegard with the BMW R90 concept. He's one of the driving forces behind the new supercharged R5. Check YouTube.
Much of the work has been attributed to Ronny and Benny Noren, Swedish custom bikes maestros who worked under close instruction from BMW's design team in Munich. The frame and forks are new and are intended to emulate the 1930s styling, albeit with modern springs and damping. The fuel tank and rear mudguard are original items, and much of the engine, including the supercharger, is also bespoke.
Ola Stenegard, BMW’s Head of Vehicle Design and Creative Director Heritage at BMW Motorrad has been quoted as saying: “It is easy to design a motorcycle with a lot of complexity. But it’s very complex to design simplicity into a machine," which sounds exactly like the kind of thing a creative director is obliged to say.
Stenegard continues, "We have transported the clarity and the aesthetic appeal of the R5 to the present day. This is a respectful combination of old school and high-tech with a dash of high performance.”
▲ BMW's Concept Path 22 of 2015. This was the flight of fancy that made it through to production as the RnineT. In fact, given how quick it made it onto the assembly line, full scale production was probably a done deal. This machine simply softened us up.
Try as we might, we just can't get excited over the R5 concept. If anything, the predictable styling simply underlines the fact that custom motorcycle design has largely stalled and has become stale. Moreover, this new factory concept marks 80 years since the 1936 R5 was launched, which makes this a pretty artificial anniversary.
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