News: BMW To Launch Smaller Bikes

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BMW TVS Concept

BMW Motorrad has signed an agreement with Indian motorcycle manufacturer TVS to together make a new range of smaller motorcycles, which will be under 500cc that will be distributed and sold around the world.

BMW currently has a line-up of 19 motorcycles and scooters in the 650cc – 1600cc but until now has not had any representation in the smaller capacity motorcycle segment. The partnership with TVS, which is India’s fourth largest motorcycle manufacturer, would allow BMW to manufacture bikes on the sub-continent and export them to other markets including the U.S.

This move will also give BMW a foothold in India, which is the second fastest growing motorcycle market in the world behind China, and saw sales of motorcycles in the over 150cc segment more than double in 2012 – 2013 from 206,386 units to 447,266.

BMW TVS Concept

BMW will be joining Harley-Davidson, KTM and Honda who currently manufacture bikes in India along with Triumph Motorcycles that announced plans on setting up a new factory in Karnataka, near Bangalore in 2012 that the company says will eventually allow it to produce 250,000 bikes a year.

While all of the new, smaller engine capacity BMW motorcycles will built at TVS production facilities in Chennai, India, there will be distinct BMW and TVS derivatives that will be sold through each company’s own distribution networks. TVS’s current line-up consists predominantly of scooters and 125cc commuter style motorcycles.

At present there is no word on what type of motorcycles any of these could be, or when the first motorcycle from this joint venture will be launched. However, in February TVS debuted a single-cylinder 250cc concept naked bike called the Draken at the New Delhi Auto Expo.

BMW TVS Concept

India’s motorcycle media is currently speculating that that the BMW-TVS tie-up could see a 300cc naked version as the first bike to be launched, followed by an adventure style bike – similar in looks to the GS models – but with all versions sharing the same frame and sub-500cc engine.

BMW and TVS have neither confirmed any of these details but have said there will be several small capacity motorcycles built in India that will be launched within the next three years.

  • Doug Herbert

    A sub-500cc adventure bike along the lines of the GS? Sounds a lot like a CB500X to me. It’s great to see this market segment come alive again. The big names need to make bikes like this that are acceptable for learning on, but remain relevant as a rider grows. If BMW and Triumph can grab new riders and get them brand loyal, it could pay off for decades to come. I’m on my fourth bike, and third manufacturer, so they missed me.

    • BobasBounty

      I haven’t tried the CB500X (have the F) but from a few ADV riding friends I’ve heard the bike is pretty lackluster for off road. I love the F and the engine is great for tarmac, but it seems to be too little with too much weight for real ADV riding. That said, I can’t imagine a 300 being suitable for it, which would leave it to someone who doesn’t do off road but wants the look…. I personally have never met someone like that though :p

      • Doug Herbert

        I recently bought a CB500X to complement my touring bike, and it is certainly not a dual sport or anything like that. I have not been an off-road rider, but I’m signed up to take a two day adventure riding class with the X, so I guess I will find out how capable it is. In preparing the bike to do some fire road and similar duty, I’ve added aluminum cases, GPS, engine and tank bars, a radiator guard, a fender extender, and a taller screen. The biggest concern I have is with the tires, I’m trying to find a good 75% street, 25% off road tire for the thing, but with a 120/70-R17 front and 160/60-R17 rear, I’m having trouble finding a set of tires. The instructor for the course told me the stock Pirelli’s would be OK, but I have my doubts.

        As far as engine, I think the engine will be just fine for the task. It doesn’t have gobs of torque, but it has enough, and it is geared well for it. The fuel economy is pretty good, getting about 200 miles per tank.

        • Jason

          I put a set of Avon Distanzias on my BMW R1150R. They worked fine for me when I decided I wanted to explore national forest fire roads.

        • BobasBounty

          Yea, I personally can’t speak to ADV bikes as the only off roading I’ve done is on dirt bikes. It just seems to me that, for the price, of either the CB500X or the speculative BMW 300 (similarly price to the cb I’d wager) someone interested in ADV with a decent amount of dirt would be better served just getting a KLR.

  • LS650

    More choice is a good thing; I just have a hard time seeing BMW being price-competitive against the well-established Japanese 4. If they can only afford to bring in a few models to North America, I can’t see BMW even trying. They did bring in that G450X dualie single to Canada, and it only lasted for a year or two.

    • BobasBounty

      Exactly. How many $9k 500cc bikes are they going to sell?

    • Luke

      Maybe they will brand them MINI (ha!). At least that’s how they got into the small car market… :)

      • BobasBounty

        Seriously, this sounds like Ferrari getting into the sub compact market…. Sure, it’s a Ferrari, but paying 35k for a fiat 500 competitor might get you laughed at!

    • Benjamin Reynolds

      I would say the S1000R is priced pretty good compared to the Z1000 and CB1000R.

      • Stuki

        No kidding. The Yen’s been no friend of low cost Japanese manufacture for the last decade or so.

    • Stuki

      KTM’s India bikes are very much price competitive with Big 4 competitors. As long as BMW eschews shafts/belts, telelevers, cruise control and heated everything on these bikes, they shouldn’t be all that much more expensive to produce than other bikes.

  • Nathan Haley

    R500GS anyone? F350RT? Hmmm…

  • notfishing

    Geez can we get away from the 1980′s Voltron styling please? It looks like a bike styled with origami.

    • eddi

      All I see is a load of plastic to get broken in a parking lot tip over. Simplify, simplify. A bare bike that is bare. Engine tucked into the frame, foot pegs the widest point on the machine, flat side covers if necessary, lights front and rear faired in is OK.

    • Flying Couch

      I think it looks alright. I just can’t understand the last half-decade’s obsession with radiator shrouds. The shrouds on the new CB650F look alright, because they flow well with the headlight, but other than that, the only time I think it’s looked good is on the older ER6-N, but that was only because they integrated the turn signals into them.

    • LS650

      Except for those goofy plastic ‘fangs’ hanging off the front end of the fuel tank, I don’t think it’s such a bad looking machine.
      It certainly looks a lot better than a full-fairing sportbike with neon racer boy graphics and billboard advertising!

  • Piglet2010

    How about a BMW S400RR with 80-HP and 320 pounds wet weight? Please!

    • Nemosufu Namecheck

      This looks like those new Hero releases – It must be the hot style in India.

    • Daniel

      One can dream…considering my F800s has 85hp and weighs 130lbs more!

    • Justin McClintock

      They can do 400cc and 320 lbs. They can do 400cc and 80 hp. They might even be able to do 400cc and 320 lbs, although I’m thinking probably not if its street legal. 400cc, 320 lbs., and 80 hp? I can pretty much guarantee that’s not happening.

      • Piglet2010

        The 600cc supersports are pushing 110-HP at the rear wheel these days, so an even shorter stroke I-4 should rev high enough to get to 80-HP. Using the same level of components as the HP4 along with 16-inch wheels makes the 320 pound weight achievable.

        I would pay $15K for one.

        • Justin McClintock

          Yes, but those 600cc supersports are all in the 420 lb. range. And much of the equipment on them, you MAY be able to downsize, but you’re not getting rid of as its what makes them street legal. You might get down into the 380 lb. range with a 80 hp 400cc bike, but don’t bet on it getting any lower than that and remaining street legal. The only street legal bikes sold in the weight range you’re talking about are some dual sports and some cruisers, all of which are putting down maybe 30 hp from a single cylinder.

          • Piglet2010

            OK, the 320 pounds is a bit optimistic, but 370 pounds should be attainable.

  • yakimushi

    After the continual KTM 390 tease I’ll believe it when I see it.

  • KC

    Nice. I’m still waiting for the KTM RC390.

  • jlxn

    Gee, I followed the link to read all the complaints about reprinting motorcycle press releases. Where are they?