BMW Concept C coming stateside next year

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Speaking to us at dinner this evening, BMW Motorrad marketing manager Todd Andersen confirmed that a production maxi scooter based on the BMW Concept C will be entering the US market sometime after being unveiled at this fall’s bike shows. BMW’s second scooter will attempt to take on the worldwide maxi scooter segment leader, the Yamaha TMAX.

BMW is also announcing that all its models in the US will be equipped, as standard, with ABS starting next year. It’s not currently clear how that will affect pricing — the non-ABS S1000RR starts at $13,950 to the ABS and DTC-equipped model’s $15,880, but we’ll find out first thing in the morning.

Update: BMW will just drop that base, non-ABS S1000RR and only sell the $15,880 model.

Unveiled at EICMA last year, the Concept C is an aggressively designed concept scooter that features terribly unrealistic details like blue tires and six-piston radial brake calipers. Don’t expect to see that level of spec when a production model based on it is revealed this fall, but the bike will likely adopt some of the concept’s aggressive styling cues.

Todd suggested that, with annual worldwide sales of the TMAX topping 30,000 units, the maxi scooter market is simply one BMW can’t afford to ignore. You can see his point, total worldwide sales for BMW Motorrad in 2010 were just 98,047 motorcycles.

We’re in the North Georgia mountains for the launch of the BMW K1600GT and BMW K1600GTL, bikes which, despite their huge discrepancy in price and capacity, provide some hint as to how BMW will enter the maxi scooter market. These tourers add a level of styling, performance, handling and feature content hitherto unheard of in the staid big tourer market. The production version of the Concept C will likely attempt something similar, adding to the already uber convenient maxi scooter concept with electronic whizz bang features intended to clearly mark BMW as a leader in the segment. BMW talks of being able to sell people on an expensive product they don’t need by making such a product extremely desirable.

The big question mark will be price. Where the K1600s are relying on big production numbers to provide reasonable costs — the K1600GTL is just $1 more than the 2012 Honda Goldwing, yet provides an all-new platform and a ton more features — the potential volume of a BMW maxi scooter could be limited. Just 3,000 scooters displacing 400cc or greater are sold in the US each year. If BMW needs to come in a a price point significantly greater than that of the $8,590 TMAX, will swiveling headlights, a luxury badge and Bluetooth integration be able to sell them?

  • Stephen

    whats with the HFL Tatoo on the guys face in the drawing near the end of the set?

    • Sean Smith

      That’s a cartoon drawing of Tom Selleck as snake from metal gear solid. The HFL tattoo makes him look extra tough.

  • Sasha Pave

    I welcome these flamboyant beasts. The maxi-scoots have already become commonplace in Europe, and in the SF Bay area I’m seeing many more on my morning commute over the Bay Bridge.

    If you’re going to ride a scoot, minus well make it as formidable as possible. At least your legs will stay dry.

  • stempere

    In march there was an “event” in paris (you know the kind) to show it (and a K16GTL). Apparently the pricetag is supposed to be close to the tmax’s (in europe at least) with the front’s design a bit more simple, the video mirrors taken out and most of the gizmos optional (GPS, ABS, heated grips, electric windshield etc.).
    Should be dropping here around november.

  • michael uhlarik

    Unless BMW bent over and pays Yamaha for the numerous patents that make the T-Max head and shoulders above the rest, you will be able to add it to the pile of Maxi-Scooter casualties. Aprilia (Atlantic), Gilera (GP800), Honda (Forza, among others) and Suzuki have all tried, and all ended up scooter foot notes.

    The T-Max is not a scooter, but an automatic motorcycle, which one back to back test ride clearly reveals. The secret, among other things, is that the motor is in-frame, instead of on the swing arm. More performance, more toys, features, or brand equity won’t stack up if the unsprung weight of the rear wheel/suspension is high like a traditional scooter.

    Either way, Yamaha gains.


    • Ax

      The TMAX isn’t the only — and wasn’t the first — maxi-scooter with a frame-mounted engine. And while the TMAX is pretty impressive, it IS still a scooter (CVT, under-seat storage, “step-through” frame, etc.).

  • David

    Forget the scooter, I want those tires!

  • dan

    Aprilia Mana 850

  • the_doctor

    Some time ago i saw a stretched ‘busa with yellow tires. These tires, by contrast, are not gag-inducing. Pretty cool concept, but yeah, we will not get that in production.

  • Brammofan

    12/50 – David Spade?
    Oh, and when are we “go” for the “Where’s HFL?” BMW contest?

  • Cheese302

    beautiful concept, i would like to see what this will be like in production form. that said, i still want to know who i can pay off to get the BMW BCC concept from 2008. Sorry, sore subject in my book.

  • Sasha Pave
  • Liquidogged

    Meh. BMW piles a bunch of their already existing technology into a fat scooter to entice buyers of fat scooters to buy their fat scooters.

    It actually looks really good and I’m sure it will function well. I guess it’s just hard to get excited about futuristic looking bikes from big manufacturers that are based on ICE, while startups like Brammo and Zero are making futuristic looking bikes based on electric drivetrains. In the car world, everyone and their cat has an electric/hybrid concept, many of which are in production or are nearing production. Yet with bikes, NONE of the big manufacturers seem to have anything to offer in the segment. Stone cold silence. And now BMW offers a scooter that looks like it’s from 2078… but still ICE. A fine bike and a good article… just kind of disappointed with the big manufacturers right now. They need to think beyond “let’s sell more units next year”.