BMW has unveiled a couple of new motorcycles this year, including the small and agile G 310R as well as the retro styled R nineT Scrambler. The company has also had a record year, in terms of sales. As 2016 nears, I thought it would be fun to assess what should be next. Keep in mind, this is what I think they should bring forth but not necessarily what I think we should anticipate in the near future. That being said, there are two bikes that I think would particularly compliment the existing range, one which would lead the brand into a new sub-segment of the premium motorcycle market.
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BMW’s most popular selling machines tend to be among the more expensive and larger displacement bikes in its lineup. These bikes also carry the greatest profit margins. With that in mind and also with the knowledge that the Bavarian brand has had much success with its S 1000RR sportbike, I think it’s time for BMW to overhaul its flagship sportbike, the K 1300S.
A very exclusive motorcycle which many are unfamiliar with, it has a top speed nearing 200mph as well as many of the luxury features associated with premium bikes, like electronically adjustable suspension and heated hand grips, it is truly the cream of the crop in the brand’s sport offerings.
However, the bike has largely remained the same for the past decade. Based largely still upon its predecessor, the K 1200S which was introduced in 2005, the 1300S remains an absolute beast. With its heft and raw power, the K 1300S is right at home on the drag strip outrunning almost everything it might encounter. A completely new 1300S would build upon the brand’s recent success among premium sportbike consumers as well as serving as a proper ‘halo’ bike, it would build upon BMW Motorrad’s existing brand prestige. It certainly wouldn’t hurt if it were also the fastest production motorcycle in the world, a premium alternative to bikes like the renowned Suzuki Hayabusa and earth shattering Kawasaki H2. Ideally, this new K 1300S would draw much inspiration from BMW Motorrad’s Concept 6.
The other bike which I think would benefit the brand is an entirely new model. Something which, if available today, would stand alone without competition in the premium motorcycle market. I’ll refer to it as the S 650RR. The S 650RR would be a premium middleweight sportbike, a smaller sibling to the S 1000RR. I propose such a bike for multiple reasons; one of them being that it is highly likely that one of BMW’s biggest competitors, KTM, will introduce something into the premium middleweight sportbike segment in the future. KTM currently offers its RC 390, RC 8 and soon will also offer its RC 16. A middleweight is glaringly absent from KTM’s sportbike lineup.
However, the Austrians have already built the necessary power plant, which currently drives its 690 Duke naked-standard bike. Though I don’t think that BMW should compete in every segment which its competitors enter into, I often contend not doing so is prudent, this particular segment could offer many opportunities for the brand. An S 650RR could too help to draw more riders to the brand whilst also not negatively affecting brand equity. For a premium brand in particular, being able to expand the brand’s reach without decreasing the regard in which the brand is perceived is of great importance. It’s currently an untouched sub-segment in the premium bike market but in the non-premium market, middleweight sportbikes sell quite well. As far as costs are concerned, BMW already utilizes a 650cc motor which is made in China to power its G 650GS, so merely adapting that engine for use in a sportbike would keep engine development costs to a bare minimum.
BMW may or may not be intending to bring one or both of the bikes I mentioned in this story to market. Regardless of whether they do or do not, if 2015 is a useful indicator, we will have very much to look forward to from BMW’s motorcycle division in the new year approaching.