Saw this on Raptors & Rockets and thought it may be of interest to those steering the Bavarian Barges around the country: Poor old Bayerische Motoren Werk is right now in its biggest struggle both internally and externally. The Boxer engine is perhaps an even more characteristic trademark than Harley's V45. After a long and exclusive conversation with Markus Biebricher at the BMW-Motorrad factory we know that BMW have several options to replace the air-cooled Boxer engine. But inside the 100.000 motorcycles a year firm, the opinion is divided. To make the current 1200cc Boxer engine compliant with future emission and noise regulations it will have to be dropped from the line-up for a completely new design. If BMW are to continue with its traditional Boxer design there are several problems. The major problem is that a liquid cooled DOHC version of the Boxer engine would simply be too wide! You wouldn't be able to corner such a motorcycle without ploughing up the tarmac with the cylinder heads. 'It would be too wide and would not corner properly', Markus said. BMW also stated in our phone interview that without the Boxer engine BMW are afraid it will loose some of its uniqueness and be left with engines that are more similar to other manufacturers. As we all know BMW have their in-line four, parallell twin and single cylinder engines in addition to the Boxer. So one of the alternatives to replace the Boxer line-up would be to use parallell twin engines rather than the Boxer. But then again, that would change dramatically how a BMW GS would look like for instance. Can you imagine a BMW R1200GS without the two cylinder heads sticking out on each side? No, neither can we and this is a big dilemma for the BMW engineers at the moment. The Boxer engine is the jewel in the crown and center of attention for BMW. Biebricher said that 1 or 2 years is not enough for BMW to find a solution and that there are not even drawings of such a replacement for the R-series. At the same time, BMW is a company in growth and a huge changing process is taking place right now. BMW are sharpening its image with more and more sporty models. But the company is still finding its way in a market bound to change dramatically. Harley-Davidson, Buell, Moto Guzzi and Ducati are in the same situation. Who will find the best solutions? BMW will participate in the Le Mans endurance race again with a race prepped R1200S. BMW told us that this bike could make the basis for a new HP2 model. BMW are also at the very end of development on the current 1200cc Boxer engine and openly admits that there are not much more to get from the engine. This might be an argument against such a HP2 model. The R1200S is powerful enough, but perhaps it can be lightened? New Honda Is that a 21" spoked wheel peeking from beneath the cammo net? Also seen on Honda's Scandi website a countdown for the launch of what could be their new Afrika Twin? http://www.hondamc.se/ the timeline suggests a Paris show announcement.