BMW’s Low Rider draws nigh

Dailies -



This spy photo, snapped by German moto media giant Motorrad, shows a funky tracker/bobber/cafe type thing equipped with telescopic forks and based around the iconic boxer-twin. Where have we seen that before? Oh right, in 2008 with the BMW Lo Rider Concept. BMW’s play at showroom customization, corporate’s drive to produce it was allegedly responsible for designer David Robb’s departure from the company.

The idea behind the Low Rider is simple and proven. When a customer rides out of a Harley Dealer with a SoftBob XXL or whatever, he doesn’t do so on a stock bike, but on one fitted with thousands of dollars worth of conchos or tassels or chrome skulls or whatever. It’s a proven model for increasing the spend along with increasing the margin both for dealers and the parent company. By packaging in those accessories with a monthly finance payment, the price of said accessory can be massively inflated. BMW’s new bike is about doing the same thing, just with accessories and customization parts tailored to a slight different demographic. Think street tracker seats instead of airbrushed flames or high mount scrambler pipes instead of low slash cuts.

Look at all that margin!

According to reports, design chief Robb wasn’t happy with with this reduced utility, inflated price approach and boss Hendrik Von Kuenheim’s insistence on pursuing it was one of the reason’s Robb quit earlier this year.

Motorrad’s spy photos show a bike shockingly similar to the concept. The whacky headlight is gone, but the pairing of conventional forks with paralever single-sided shaft drive at the rear remains, as does the exposed subframe and shapely tank.

Predictably, a naked S1000RR appears to be on the way too. Expect a “tuned for torque” motor, flat bars and plastics that manage to be both minimal and ugly. Like a very stern Tuono.

Shot alongside a naked version of the S1000RR, it seems as if naked bikes will dominate BMW’s new model lineup for 2013 when they’re unveiled at Germany’s Intermot bike show in October.

  • robotribe

    The photo isn’t enough to go by, but I’d be interested to see what the geometry & ergos are like. Per the spy photo, it reads more Moto Guzzi Griso or Ducati SportClassic GT1000 Touring than a so-called “Bobber”. Again, it’s tough to see if the fork rake is steep or relaxed going by that photo. I’d prefer the former.

    Interest: peaked.

    • Campisi

      Yep, first thing I thought was “ugly Griso.” Still, more variety and all that.

    • zipp4


    • Racetrack Style

      Top spy photo + clip ons = cool streetbike. Those boxers can make a nice sound with the right exhaust, too. The 4th renderings from the top seem to have steeper geometry than the others. BMW could have a success here especially considering the # of boxer cafe builds on euro blogs. That motor hopefully will prompt Guzzi to put their big block into a v7 classic style bike

  • the_doctor

    It wouldn’t be a BMW without wacky headlights.

  • caferacer

    “The idea behind the Low Rider is simple and proven. When a customer rides out of a Harley Dealer with a SoftBob XXL or whatever, he doesn’t do so on a stock bike, but on one fitted with thousands of dollars worth of conchos or tassels or chrome skulls or whatever.”

    No chance the Low Rider is BMW’s foray in to some brave new world of 1,000% margin, one apparently, condescendingly, forged solely by cheezy H-D with a bunch of chrome tidbits. Show me a GS Adventure invoice without at least $3,000 of ADV survivalist BS tacked on and I’ll drink 20/50 for breakfast.

    Farkles are dead! Long live the farkle!

    • nick2ny

      Cases, a GPS, and a bashplate are not the same as tassles, chrome pipes, special bars, and neon lights.

      • BMW11GS

        That just the basics nick ;-). With the combined might of touratech, wunderliche, best rest, advmoto stuff, and twisted throttle, not to mention the BMW accessory catalog I can make a would be adventure swoon with the final farkle frontier.

      • Campisi

        They are if they never get used.

        • Joe

          Exactly what I was thinking

        • Ben


  • RWerksman


    That’s the old motor. I guess it isn’t getting the same one as the new “R1250GS”.


  • jonoabq

    I’m politely sayin’ “no thank you” to a shaft drive version of anything. The RR might take hooliganism to a previously unrealized levels…alas the price point may just put it out of reach for most of us. I’ll keep my triple, it’s ugly but I love it.

    • BMW11GS

      I think your price check needs a refresh.

      • jonoabq

        Sooo, what will it be all pretty and optioned up?

        • BMW11GS

          14.5-16K is my estimate. Get a year old one for 9K

    • Cheese302 [Street Triple R]

      i find this odd, i LOVE shaft drive, change final drive oil, ensure no leaks, ride forever. it was hard for me to go chain on my triple.

      • Kevin

        Not so sure on the “forever” part. Lurk around some BMW forums.

        • BMW11GS

          125k of BMW riding with no final drive problems over here

  • Chris

    I think many other manufacturers do it, caferacer pointed out the adv example, also consider ducati & the termigoni tack on for $1800 + that many people add on to their purchase. the poster of choices above looks like this idea may have potential.

    • stempere

      Pipes have always been here. The closest exemple would be ducati with their monster side panels & back cover packs, but beeing able to choose a bobber-style one up seat, a cafe round back, high or low mount exhaust, etc. right from the manufacturer, that’s indeed HD level customization.

      The resulting bike could be nice, the price, not so much…

  • ike6116

    Naked S1000 is a long time coming

    • Mark D [EX500]

      I’d be way more interested in a sport touring S1000. But I guess that’s why god made helirisers and zero gravity windscreens, Bubba…

  • Glenngineer

    ‘Naked’ S1000 bums me out. Stern Tuono is right on the money, I was hoping for a faster and lighter KR.

  • dux [87 CBR600, 95 XR600R]

    Yuck – is it supposed to have the stance of a “me too” Diavel, just without the power, or was that a coincidence?

  • je

    Your all a bunch of negative nancy’s. While not perfect out of the box I think it has a great base look. No says you have to buy a bunch of bullshit from the manufacture but I cannot blame them for taking advantage of the sheeple when then can. Personally if this can pull a certain % from the HD crowd then I’m all for it.

    single sided swing arm for the win <3 u BMW for this venture into new area.

    • jp182

      well said. If people are going to go for the HD style, at least give them an alternative so I can stop seeing the same old crap around the Northeast.

  • filly-fuzz

    I Think I love it!

    Twin disc, modern mumbo, Sporty geometry and ye olde looks?

    That’s a win in my book

  • paulo

    Yep I’m all for it, a bit of variety in bike design is welcome in an age where it can be hard to distinguish one brand from another in a same same world. Exactly why I love the Griso and Nuda beauty is in the eye of the beholder and if it doesn’t excite you then don’t buy it. Got my attention.

  • BigRooster

    Im all for it. Not a lot to go by in the photo but it looks alright to me. The renderings are ok, but Id prefer a more traditional tail section. Some of the variations are ok, but I dont care for the solo seat versions. Never been a fan of the little platform hanging in space look that has become the in-look of many renderings recently.

  • Cheese302 [Street Triple R]

    i have been a huge fan of the lo rider since it was introduced in 2008. now i have an issue that i want to buy one but just got my beautiful striple. i am glad work is going on but saddened that it took almost 4 full years just to see another test shot. I am just hoping that the base version is fairly affordable. Nakes s1000? i like it, but is it needed?

  • M

    i like it. i like everything that has a lower entry cost with the expectation of accessorizing the price into profitability. bone stock is my raison d’etre.

  • Devin

    That bike is a funky monkey. I’m sure it’ll make some people feel like a million bucks riding that thing so it’s probably a good deal.

  • AHA

    Interesting idea that’s why Robb quit. If that was the disagreement, I think maybe both he & HVK were right probably. That’s Design vs Profit. HFL can just cut & paste last year’s discussion strings about the Diavel’s rear rubber. Ducati is blushing all the way to the bank.

  • Skratz

    David Robb was right to quit. This will be another BMW=fail model. They won’t make one penny of profit on this…cause you have to sell them to make profit.