Should BMW Bring Back a Cruiser?

Motorrad | February 9th, 2016 by 3
bmw r1200c 1999 5 750x500

From the year 1997 to 2004, BMW Motorrad produced a cruiser called the R 1200 C. For a shorter period of time, the company also …

From the year 1997 to 2004, BMW Motorrad produced a cruiser called the R 1200 C. For a shorter period of time, the company also made an R 850 C. There was also a CL model which had more fairings, placing more emphasis on its usability for touring. However, these vehicles had no successor. With the popularity of cruisers, particularly among the growing American market, should BMW bring back a cruiser to its plethora of offerings?

2000 BMW R1200Cd 750x554

One of the reasons why BMW didn’t replace its cruisers at the time was that its engines were too small for the segment. The trend in the segment at the time was an engine displacement exceeding 1400cc. However, Dr. Herbert Diess, then President of BMW Motorrad, said at the time, “This does not mean that we are turning away from the cruising philosophy with BMW motorcycles once and for all. On the contrary, it would be quite conceivable for us to re-interpret this theme.” Yet, to this day, the closest thing we’ve seen to a new cruiser from the Bavarians was the Concept 101.

bmw motorrad concept 101 images 1900x1200 25 750x500

The cruisers, the 1200 and 850 combined, sold quite well for the company with more than 40,000 units finding homes. Still, the cruisers were, at the time, considered to be outside of BMW’s proverbial wheelhouse, having been quite different from the company’s previous products. Product placement in the 1997 James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies, helped to bring attention to BMW’s new vehicle, a strategy which is still implemented today.

Though, based upon the the Concept 101, it appears that the company is considering reintroducing a cruiser to its lineup, the 101 wasn’t a typical cruiser. Often referred to as ‘the Bavarian bagger,’ the 101 was also quite an opulent machine based on the materials utilized on it. However, if it were to become a production model, one thing that would likely remain would be its 1,649cc power plant. The concept utilized the same engine which powers the K 1600 GT and GTL tourers.

As BMW looks to reach its target of 200,000 units per annum by 2020, it cannot ignore the massive commercial opportunity which a cruiser offers. With that being said, with brands like Harley-Davidson largely dominating this segment, trying to re-enter the market after such a long hiatus could prove to be a difficult task. Yet, one of BMW Motorrad’s competitors is also entering the premium cruiser segment with its XDiavel. Hopefully, BMW won’t wait too much longer before introducing a premium cruiser of its own.

3 responses to “Should BMW Bring Back a Cruiser?”

  1. Mike Johnson says:

    Do you recall this machine from GG-Teknik? I test rode the 1200C and liked it but felt the bike was too low at the rear and really wanted to try this but the exchange on the Swissie was too high. We also want to be careful with the wheel choices especially in 2016. The running characteristics of the 1200C were very good and low end is now more important than years ago. Styling was very offbeat for the time and over chromed IMO. What kind of engine would be best? Many years ago due to failure prone HD many put Hon and Kaw 4 cylinders in Harley frames as money was scarce and these engines were available used. The Tri Rocket looks like a racing tractor – not good. Big V-twins have been done to death with HD still pre-eminent though the engines are really no longer appropriate at 1800 cc and Indian has this too.
    ^^ There is that Gurney engine with moment cancelling counter rotating crankshafts- this might be adequately horny/terrifying and is compact too.
    More important are the engines with the right torque levels like the 1600 Tri twin whose failure is kind of inexplicable in a cruiser.
    What do we note about modern engines? Normal aspiration means head are usually titanic and this throws off proportions for engines that are visible. See Polaris Victory engine- it looks like a 2 headed Englishman. On other engines we see that the cylinders barely clear the crankcase -Honda V-4- and the V is almost all head. Of course if an engine were designed for low end power AND supercharging at the right pressure the heads might be very compact especially if the Kompressor was within the V. One might accommodate longer stroke this way with pressure as stroke for a cruiser should be 86-96 mm like a Pick-Up Truck of the big block US type. Americans are very, very lazy and wish to avoid shifting hence the preference for low torque engines that chug like locomotives so that they can ride as if the bike had an automatic transmission with the throttle only. They actually want AT but do not wish to admit it and many HD crankshaft problems are caused this way when the 800 lb bike with 500 lbs of riders and baggage attempts to pass from a slow speed by winding the throttle wide open. With performance enhancements and all the weight in 5th or 6th gear and a wide open throttle the crankshaft may twist. Study this problem very closely as it is largely caused by ignorance and indolence. A car would automatically select the passing gear allowing Mr. and Mrs. Bacon-Burrito to zoom ahead insensibly.
    You see the point here. Mr. USA will NOT learn to use a manual transmission properly but does not want to be seen as lazy and incompetent so the engine must simulate this.
    The V-Rod failed for this reason as the HP was higher in the RPM range and Mr. Triple Cheese-Burger knows nothing of this, wants to shift to 6th right after the on-ramp and go back to sleep.
    Write if you want more insights!

  2. jason bourne says:


  3. Mike Johnson says:

    You might check Banks Performance for Diesel ideas and here I am thinking of another long stroke design with pulse width influencing performance and direct injection.

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