BMW finds a cheaper way to manufacture carbon-fiber
The HP4 is an exemplary showcase of cutting-edge technology, exotic materials, skilled craftsmanship, design, and creativity. This tells us all about the experience, skillset and state-of-the-art know-how the folks at BMW have that make them rise above and beyond. Alas, all of this asks a hefty $78,000 affordable by just 1% of mankind.
Now, the same folks bring you an affordable way for the rest of the 99% to get all that carbon-fiber on to your motorcycle. And doing so, they have just received the 2018 JEC Innovation Award in the Leisure & Sports category for the development and manufacture of a rear swinging arm made of carbon fiber.
Good morning and welcome to our April Fool’s Day round-up. It has already been two good days since we came under hoax news and stories from the motorcycle world playing practical jokes on us. Thanks to the close proximities of these pranks to the company’s products and impressions, they tricked us into believing their true existence.
Some were instantly rubbed off, while some seemed pretty convincing. Nonetheless, they all were pure April’s Fool pranks, and if you did not catch them all, we have got you covered. Participating in the Sunday’s jester were pranksters from BMW, Kawasaki, Triumph, Yamaha and a bunch of others including Lewis Hamilton.
Europe will mandates emergency SOS call system for motorcycles
Emergency call systems for cars have been around for a while, with brands like GM having OnStar that automatically dials emergency services if the device installed in the vehicle detects a crash or a break-in. This acts as a quick-response service in case of accidents and there is no one around the crash site to call in for help.
Christened as the “eCall”, this European initiative intended to bring rapid assistance to motorists involved in a collision will be mandatory in all new cars sold within the EU from April 2018. And a few industry sources say that this might come in handy when they mandate for motorcycles as well.
Automatic transmission is on the prowl
Automatic vs. Manual has been a hot debate for the four-wheeler segment ever since the first automatic car was born in 1940 by General Motors’ Cadillac. And now, it seems like it will create similar situations in the two-wheeler segment as well. Or would it?
Honda has been at the forefront of new technology and has heavily invested into bringing automatic transmission to everyday motorcycles. It has been a pioneer in developing new forms of gear and clutch designs and is vying to change the dimensions of free riding, starting with the scooters all the way to the mighty Gold-Wing.
Every other major player has their own versions of the same having different acronyms but ultimately does the same job. It seems the manual transmission is well on its slide into obsolescence within the automotive world. And the ones responsible are these folks:
BMW invests €200 million on its “Battery Cell Competence Centre”
You know things are actually getting serious when stalwarts like the BMW are putting their money and testing out electricity to power their future machines.
The new “Battery Cell Competence Centre” coming up in Munich, the brand’s headquarters, is BMW’s vision and commitment to developing the next generation of energy systems that will be powered by advanced battery cell technology.
The Bayerische Motoren Werke has been teasing us for months now. Since the release of the base-model R nineT, Beemer has had to scramble, if you will forgive the pun, to increase production to meet demand. Although this is a nice problem to have, I have to wonder if Beemer isn’t about to compound the issue now that the much-anticipated Scrambler is finally hitting showroom floors.
Based on the R nineT “Roadster,” the Scrambler comes set up for a more dirt-centric riding style for riders who like to swing both ways (giggety!), but in a more street-friendly package than, say, enduro models. Scramblers fall into the bevy of “retro” models we are seeing from nearly every quarter as of late, and I for one think it’s great, even though many are more faithful to the original concepts.
Continue reading for more information on the BMW R nineT Scrambler.
BMW of North America has put the recall clamps 2013 to 2015 models of the G650GS motorcycle and 2013 to 2014 models of the G650GS Sertao motorcycles over issues involving the motorcycles’ engine control unit. A total of 1,070 units of the G650GS and G650GS Sertao have been identified with the defects, specifically models of the G650GS built from March 8, 2013 to March 2, 2015 and models of the Sertao variant built from March 8, 2013 to May 23, 2014.
According to BMW, affected models are more than likely to stall when they are idling and the clutch lever is pulled in. This scenario poses a threat because the engine itself may stall completely, thus increasing the risk of the bike crashing. Owners of the G650GS and G650GS Sertao bikes are being advised to wait for the official notification to come from BMW. Once the notice arrives, owners are encouraged to bring their bikes to their respective dealers, which will then install a revised version of the ECU software at no cost to the owner. BMW has mode no official announcement on the start of the recall, opting only to say that it is “expected” to commence on October 16, 2015.
Owners are also being advised to contact BMW’s customer service through phone (1-800-525-7417) or e-mail (CustomerRelations@bmwusa.com) to learn more about the incoming recall.
Continue reading to read more about BMW’s recall of its G650GS and G650GS Sertao motorcycles.
BMW has been on a sales roll the last few years and that momentum has continued in the first half of 2015 as the Motorrad was able to sell 78,418 motorcycles. That figure represents a 10.5% sales growth compared to the volume of motorcycles sold in the first half of 2014. In other words, BMW just scooped up a new first half sales record for itself.
You know the company is doing really well selling motorcycles when its head of sales and marketing, Heiner Faust, was quoted as saying that BMW has “never supplied this many vehicles to customers” in a six-month period of time.
Run through BMW Motorrad’s current bike lineup and you’ll see a lot of models that have contributed to this record haul. The R1200GS remains the king of the sales hill with 14,099 units sold in the opening six months of the year. Not far behind is the Adventure version with 10,429 units sold, followed by the R1200RT at 6,417 units, and the R nineT with 5,686 units sold.
The big boy BMW bikes are definitely pulling their own weight, but the manufacturer’s inline-four models aren’t doing too bad either. The S1000RR, in particular, sold 5,654 units in the first half of 2015 while its less powerful brethren, the S1000R, accounted for 4,134 sold units.
Moving forward, BMW Motorrad is already looking at another record sales run in the latter half of the year. With the ever increasing popularity of BMW’s collection of motorcycles, coupled with new models like the S1000RX on tap, I wouldn’t be surprised if we all come back here six months from now with new praises for the German motorcycle brand.
Continue reading to read more about BMW Motorrad’s record-setting sales run in the first half of 2015.
BMW is putting its car technology to good use by adding dynamic brake lights to its motorcycle line-up after the technology had only been available to its automobiles. It’s a fresh approach to technology-sharing between the company’s car and motorcycle divisions, thus allowing a handful of the latter’s products to benefit from what the car division cooked up in its R&D department.
For those who are unfamiliar with dynamic brake lights, the system was developed to make the rear brake lights flash during deceleration, allowing a car equipped with the technology to get noticed quicker by other vehicles. These brake lights flash at a frequency of 5Hz when a motorcycle brakes while traveling at speeds above 31 mph. As soon as the speed drops below 9 mph, the rear turn signals spring into action, flashing like hazard lights until the motorcycle picks up speed of at least 12 mph.
The system will be put in a number of BMW motorcycles as an added option, including the R1200GS, R1200GS Adventure, and the S1000XR. On account of it being the top-of-the-line BMW motorcycle line, the K1600GT, GTL, and GTL Exclusive will all receive the dynamic brake light system as standard equipment.
For now, the dynamic brake light system will only be offered in the European market. BMW has made no indication on whether or not it plans to offer the technology to the US market. That’s still up in the air since BMW might still have to get clearance from regulatory bodies like the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration before taking any action.
Continue reading to read more about BMW’s decision to adopt dynamic brake lights into its motorcycle division.
BMW Motorrad’s continued sales success has extended to May 2015 after the company announced a 6.5% increase in global sales of motorcycles and maxi scooters compared to its sales figures from May 2014.
All in all, BMW sold 15,004 units of motorcycles and maxi scooters, a steady bump from the 14,088 units it sold in the same time period last year. The company also posted record sales in the first five months of 2015, selling 62,928 units compared to the 59,151 units it sold in the first five months of 2014. FYI: that’s a 6.4% increase, further validating the steady sales growth BMW Motorrad has experienced this year.
As has been the case for the better part of 2015, BMW has relied on a steady diet of successful existing models with newer ones that have been selling like hot pancakes since they’re release. The new R 1200 RS belongs in the latter category and has been a popular model since its release on May 16, 2015. BMW’s resident superbike, the S 1000 RR, has also been selling like hot pancakes and demand for the bike is still going strong as we speak.
BMW Motorrad’s increased global presence has also had a hand in triggering this record sales run. According to Heiner Faust, BMW Motorrad’s head of sales and marketing, Europe and Asia continue to make up most of the sales of BMW motorcycles and scooters. Faust singled out China as the fastest growing market for the company with sales of bikes and scooters growing close to 100% compared to last year’s totals. The overall sales number is still just over 1,100 units, but China’s a fascinating case of the tally not being as important as the sales trajectory of the company. Should this trajectory continue to point north, China will soon become one of BMW’s biggest markets for motorcycles and scooters, further boosting up its already robust sales numbers. Over in Europe, BMW pointed to its home market of Germany as being a catalyst in the impressive sales increase with more than 1,000 units being sold in May 2015 compared to the previous year.
The way things are going, it’s not hard to imagine BMW Motorrad continuing this impressive pace, especially with the Chinese market’s growing interest in its bikes and scooters. If BMW’s sales pace holds form in the second half of the year, 2015 could go down as the biggest selling year for the company in recent memory.
Continue reading to read more about BMW Motorrad’s impressive sales growth in May 2015.
The past few days have been pretty heavy on bad and sometimes, emotional news. Don’t you think we all need a little break from that to get our days started in a better tone? Fortunately, YouTube user Royal Jordanian is here to do just that, sharing with us a new way to make popcorn that uses nothing more than a BMW S1000R.
From what I can tell, no ovens and microwaves were harmed in the making of this nonsensical but admittedly hilarious video. Royal Jordanian did have plenty of use for the aforementioned S1000R and if you follow the step-by-step guide on how to make popcorn with a sportsbike, you might just be able to replicate the act, even though I strongly advise against it.
In any case, the video clearly illustrates that if you want to get the kernels popped just right, you’re going to have to set the bike’s engine to a “medium to high temperature.” A few revs of the throttle did the trick and as soon as the exhaust was in its proper temperature, Royal Jordanian proceeded to dump a whole lot of kernels inside the exhaust where, believe it or not, they actually popped into real popcorns.
You could call it a success but I don’t think it’s the best way to make popcorn for the obvious sanitary reasons. Also, I don’t know if this is how you should be treating your BMW S1000R. The bike is expensive enough on its own, but to use it as replacement microwave? That’s foolish with a capital ‘F.’
Still, the video is hilarious and I don’t think Royal Jordanian would want anybody to actually do something like this. All he had in mind was to show everyone how versatile the S1000R can be. Top-class motorcycle? Yep. Popcorn-maker? Apparently so.
Anybody who is familiar with Dr. Henning Butzow knows that this is a man who can all look up to. Dr. Butzow is a motorcycle aficionado and he’s literally traveled all over the world via motorcycle, all in the spirit of enjoying the world on two wheels. But Dr. Butzow isn’t just a bike nut; he’s also a philanthropist at heart, having done numerous motorcycle events for charitable purposes, including the upcoming Ride of Smiles, a 50,000-mile motorcycle journey around the world that begins in New York City on May 1, 2015.
During the course of his global joy ride, Dr. Butzow will be asking for donations from all of his stops with the hope of collecting €50,000 ($56,020), which he plans to give to four-reputable aid projects, specifically the Doctors Without Frontiers, Christian Blind Mission, United For Africa and the Bayerischer Rundfunk’s ‘Sternstunden’.
It’s a nice gesture from Dr. Butzow, but it’s also not surprising. Remember, he’s the same man who participated in a similar long-distance charity run back in 2008. It’s been seven years since the Ride of Change event, but from the looks of things Dr. Butzow’s heart and intentions are still in the right place.
For it’s part, BMW is once again throwing its support to Dr. Butzow by donating an R1200GS Adventure that the doctor will use as he travels across North, Central and South America, into Australia and New Zealand.
Continue reading to read more about Dr. Henning Butzow’s Ride of Smiles charity ride.
BMW Motorrad has partnered with Alpinestars to develop a new airbag-equipped jacket that will provide riders with new layers of safety and convenience. If this kind of partnership sounds familiar, it’s because other motorcycle companies have ventured into similar collaborations with apparel makers. Dainese actually has two similar partnerships in place, one with Ducati and another one with Peugeot.
But the BMW-Alpinestars alliance hopes to take the technology to the next level with a product that makes full use of the latter’s patented Tech-Air technology. A BMW Motorrad jacket will be the first fruit of this collaboration, followed by a waistcoat containing Alpinestars’ Tech-Air airbag technology. More items are expected to follow suit although an announcement on what they’re going to be has yet to be made.
The new products will also use Alpinestars’ integrated computer systems so instead of linking the jacket to the motorcycle’s system, the rider can just put on the jacket and get on the bike without having to worry about any manually syncing the jacket to the bike.
This is a smart business move for BMW, even though it puts into question a similar arrangement it has with Dainese. From how it looks, though, BMW appears to be leaving behind Dainese and moving forward with Alpinestars as its new safety tech partner. The inclusion of the word "exclusive" in the BMW press release is a good indication of this particular scenario.
Pricing details haven’t been released, too, but I suspect an announcement to come shortly.
Continue reading to read more about BMW’s technology partnership with Alpinestars.
BMW Motorrad Japan’s Ignite Straight Six customization project has yielded some pretty incredible work from some of Japan’s best custom builders. Following up on the success of the four R nineT custom projects, Beamer has now unveiled two more custom builds with both being based on the K 1600 GTL.
The pair of highly modified and reinterpreted K 1600 GTL’s are the works of Kenji Nagai of Ken’s Factory and Keiji Kawakita of Hot-Dock Custom-Cycles, to leading Japanese customizers who evidently know their way around the luxurious tourer. Nagai and Kawakita had dramatically different interpretations of what they thought a modified K 1600 GTL should look like.
For his build, Nagai wanted to make the K 1600 GTL more prominent to look at it. So instead of simply turning the tourer into a bagger, which was his original plan, he called an audible and opted to take the digger route, an approach he says would bring out the aggressive and menacing side of the K 1600 GTL. It also seems fitting that Nagai would name his masterpiece “Ken’s Factory Special” because the work he put into infusing his own style and ideas into the bike was evident in its final look.
In some ways, Kawakita had a similar idea in mind. He was looking to showcase the K 1600 GTL as a bike that could be used as a weapon of intimidation, a dark and brooding machine that may lacked in minimalism but more than made up for it with its unapologetic masculinity. Apparently, subtlety isn’t one of Kawakita’s strong suits and that became evident when he unveiled his creation, appropriately called “Juggernaut”.
There’s no denying that both Nagai and Kawakita more than lived up to BMW Motorrad’s expectations. Each builder did such a masterful job on their respective builds that it’s hard to imagine that “Ken’s Factory Special” and “Juggernaut” were once K 1600 GTL models now operating under different and more controversial guises.
Looks like BMW Motorrad Japan enlisted the right people to work on these projects and see them through.
Continue reading to read more about the two heavily modified K 1600 GTL models.
BMW Motorrad has been around for 90 years and yet, it has never had a sales period quite like the one it had in the first quarter of 2015. Sales of BMW Motorrad bikes flew like hot pancakes in the period from January 1, 2015 to March 31, 2015, resulting in the best quarterly sales run the company has had in history.
In the first three months of the year, BMW Motorrad reported selling 31,370 bikes and scooters, 9.2 percent better than the 28,719 units it sold in the same period last year. March is usually one of the biggest sales months of BMW Motorrad’s sales calendar and this year’s haul was no different as BMW sold 15,912 units for the month, more than half of the company’s quarterly total. That number also represents a 4.8-percent increase compared to the 15,183 units sold in March 2014.
BMW Motorrad Head of Sales and Marketing Heiner Faust commented that the company’s record-setting sales growth covered all corners of the world. Southern Europe saw the biggest sales increase, particularly Portugal and Spain where the company’s sales numbers grew 46 percent and 24 percent, respectively.
As far as overall volume is concerned, BMW Motorrad’s home market of Germany led the way with 5,369 units sold, followed by the USA (3,229 units), France (3,155 units), Italy (2,936 units), and Great Britain.
Of all of BMW’s bikes, the R1200GS and R1200GS Adventure continued their reign atop the sales perch, accounting for a third of the company’s sales total with more than 10,000 units sold in the first quarter of the year. Not surprisingly, another R1200 variant - the R1200RT, earned the third step on the podium with 2,681 units sold, followed closely by the S1000RR with 2,574 units sold.
Continue reading to read more about BMW Motorrad’s best sales quarter of all time.
Consumer Reports has released the results of a poll it took from motorcycle owners as part of the publication’s assessment on the value of different motorcycle brands as far as how their customers felt about the bikes they owned.
Japanese motorcycle brands took in top honors in reliability, something that shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. Of all the brands named in the survey, Japan’s four top brands - Yamaha, Suzuki, Honda, and Kawasaki - were all head and shoulders above the rest of the field, beating out the likes of Victory and Harley-Davidson. On the bottom end of the reliability list are brands like Triumph, Ducati, BMW, and Can-Am.
Can-Am, in particular, finished dead last on the list, and I’m guessing that it’s recent issues may have played a big part in seeing their spot on this list.
Victory Motorcycles may have ended up in the middle of the pack in the reliability survey, but as far as making customers happy with their bikes, the American brand stood victorious with 80 percent of Victory owners saying that they wouldn’t mind buying a Victory model again. Turns out, having a fairly reliable motorcycle and having positive dealer interactions and good customer service are important elements in gaining the trust of your customers. Who knew!
Coming up second on that list was Harley-Davidson, which received a 72-percent approval rating, followed by Honda at 70 percent. Interestingly enough, these three brands were the only ones to get approval ratings north of 70 percent.
Consumer Reports also discovered that motorcycle riders preferred “comfort” of all the things they look for in a bike. Not surprisingly, Victory scored the highest rating in this category while Ducati, Kawasaki, Suzuki, and Triumph taking up the rear in this particular category.
Other satisfaction categories, including styling, fun, acceleration, and handling saw across-the-board ratings, signifying that a customer’s taste in these areas vary depending on what their requirements for a bike are. The only manufacturer that fell flat on its face in the handling category is Can-Am, adding more fuel to the growing assumption that its three-wheelers aren’t worth the money you spend to buy them.
Continue reading to read more about the results of Consumer Reports’ motorcycle poll.
The saga surrounding BMW’s recall issues has taken another turn now that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has gotten involved. Turns out, the German brand does have a lot of problems on its hand, especially in the US where 43,426 of its motorcycles are being called back because of issues that could potentially lead to motorcycle crashes.
According to the NHTSA, BMW’s scooters, specifically its K Series and R Series models, are bearing the brunt of this recall, which specifically involves problems with the rear wheel mounting flange of these bikes. Apparently, these things have the possibility of cracking if the mounted bolts that put them in place are attached with too much torque. In the event this happens, the rear wheel could loosen without the rider knowing about it, increasing the probability of a crash happening and, well, we all know what happens after that.
Of the 43,426 models affected in the US, a little over a quarter of them (11,991 units) are 2005 to 2010 models of the R1200GS. Not to be outdone, 5,238 units of the R1200GS Adventure from 2006 to 2010 are affected, as well as 3,866 units of the K1200S from 2005 to 2008, and 3,057 units of the K1200GT from 2006 to 2008.
Other models affected include the 2006 BMW HP2 Enduro (364 units), 2008-2009 HP2 Megamoto (93 units), 2006-2008 K1200R (1,373 units), 2007 K1200R Sport (488 units), 2009-2010 K1300GT (1,148 units), 2010-2011 K1300R (4 units), 2009-2011 K1300S (1,289 units), 2007-2010 R1200R (1,920 units) 2007 R1200S (477 units), and the 2005-2007 R1200ST (555 units).
The NHTSA’s official recall announcement comes after months of testing and inspection from BMW on certain bikes that have reportedly exhibit these problems. It’s unclear why BMW took this long to formally acquiesce to a recall, but the important things is that some thing is already being done to fix these issues.
As is always the case, I advise anybody owning any of the affected models to contact their local dealerships so that the bike’s can be sorted out and, if necessary, get fixed.
Continue reading to read more about the recall of these BMW models.
While it doesn’t exactly match the level of extravagance of the Dupai Police department, the Barcelona Police Department was the recipient of 30 BMW C Evolution maxi scooters from the German automaker, making it the first time the local police force in the Spanish city would be using electrically powered vehicles.
This is important for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is giving officers of the Barcelona PD an alternative vehicle to use for their everyday duties. That is an alternative that has had an increased importance in recent years because of the city’s growing acceptance of eco-friendly vehicles.
You can already see the transformation towards an more environment-friendly way of living throughout the city. The use of these electric scooters is just the latest step towards an environmental urban progression. It’s unclear how many of these electric maxi scooters BMW will end up delivering to the Barcelona police department, but I wouldn’t be surprised if more of these scooters are delivered to the police department in the coming months or years. After all, when you’re talking about a city as big as Barcelona, I reckon that you’re going to need more than 30 electric maxi scooters to patrol its busy streets.
BMW’s delivery of these bikes isn’t the only positive development coming out of Bavaria. On the business end, BMW Motorrad scored another impressive sales growth in the month of February. During that time, the German firm reported selling 9,195 motorcycles and scooters. That’s an impressive increase of 13.5 percent compared to the same time period a year ago. It’s a nice haul for BMW as it continues its sales ascendancy in 2015. In fact, the company’s sales volume for the first two months of the year has already hit 13,536 units, a number that according to the company’s head of sales and marketing Heiner Faust represents a 14.2 percent growth in sales volume in the first two months of 2015.
Click "continue reading" to read more about BMW’s delivery of electric scooters to the Barcelona PD and its Feb. 2015 sales results.