Boxer's Demise & a new Honda?

Discussion in 'General Discussion / News / Information' started by Rhodie, Sep 5, 2007.

  1. 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?
    the timeline suggests a Paris show announcement.
  2. It seems likethe Japanese started and almost won the horsepower race, or shall I say "war"...
    These days it's not enough to have a bike with less than 100 hp. It's gotta be a Hayabusa or a Kawa ZX14R. Much is good, more is better, most is the best. Never mind that Joe Average simply can't handle 150+ hp. Personally I'm fed up with all these "american" superlatives, and I'm not embarrassed that my dream bike for Thailand would be a 250 - either an Enduro or a twin cylinder sport bike. That's enough for me on Thai roads. (I had a ZX9R in the U.S.)
    That said, an air-cooled pushrod opposed twin with "only" two valves that puts out 90 horses and a lot of torque shouldn't be axed from BMW's line because it's too difficult to sell. But it looks that we with our greed for top performance dictate the MC makers what is productive for them and what not. And that way we may well have to accept that in the near future the GS will come only with a parallel twin.
  3. Having owned Boxer BMW's, prallel twins, v-twins, V-4's, inline 4's, and singles, the boxer motor did indeed have the most character. But sadly was also the most useless motor of them all. Maybe I'm too pragmatic, but after grinding and rewelding the valve covers on my ole boxer for more ground clearance I can't imagine one that hangs out even more. Feeling the motor lunge to the right when blipping the throttle was only interesting to me for the first week of ownership.

    Hopefully BMW can manipulate its following with perfected marketing acumen onto another design...or just keep producing substandard bikes.

    Klaus not all bikes need 160 BHP but like Rhodie stated, less wieght would be appreciated. A barge like GS1200 as an adventure bike???? I just don't get it.

    Rhodie thanks for the informative post and get your bum back to changers for some fun and laughs.

    I'm obviously not a huge BMW fan but applaud them for attempting engineering feats and designs that are outside the norm. The same reason I enjoy Porsche.
  4. For an engine that was designed during WW I for use in aeroplanes the ol' boxer has done quite a good job. That's where BMW logo derived from - it's supposed to be a rotating propeller; the colors are off the Bavarian flag, blue and white. Just in case you didn't know.
    People in the States often commented on my K-bike: "Didn't know BMW makes bikes!" They know only BMW cars. Did you know that BMW put motorcycle engines in little cars when germans couldn't afford big cars after losing WW II ? Yes, that aeroplane engine powered motorcycles and cars, bored out to 700cc, in the rear like a Beetle. Anybody know the name of that little BMW bubble car with a 300cc single? Chain drive onto one wheel!
    Anyways, there are some similarities between Harley and BMW. Both built air-cooled, two valve pushrod engines at the beginning of the century and put them in motorcycles. But BMW tried to develope their engine, applying lots of changes and upgrades (like shorter and lighter pushrods, bigger bore/shorter stroke a.s.o.) whenever possible. Harley redesigned their engine maybe once a decade, and then did only minor upgrades. Okay, they had their Shovelheads and Knuckleheads but those were only changes on the valve drive. Don't know if it's true, but someone told me that you could trace a few parts of a '98 engine back to 1936. Then Harley came out in 1999 with a totally new engine, with shorter stroke, bigger bore and larger cooling fins. - Interestingly enough the success of the boxer is that it improved during the decades, while Harley's success is that it kept its old-fashioned long-stroker the way it was.
    Big&Tall, funny you mentioned Porsche (they started out with an air-cooled flat 4) - that very german company was supposedly involved in designing the cylinder heads of the watercooled VRSC (V-ROD) series.
  5. Like you Klaus I have an appreciation for alternative engineering and can relate to BMW's past and its achievement with its Boxer design. I've owned BMW flat twins, VW flat fours and raced for a bit older Porsche Turbo (930) aircooled flat fours.

    Producing BMW GS1200's and the rest of the Boxer line is fantastic. People seem to enjoy them immensly. marketing them as a modern adventure bike seems a stretch though from my biased eyes. They are like my ole 930. Great at what they were designed for years ago but modern engineering has passed them by long ago for them to compete on an even playing field. From a sales perspective though they are a success and I guess thats what counts.
  6. Klaus here you go.........

    Thought I would jump in before Hiko........
  7. Way to go, tropical John-o!
    There's still a little detail I thought someone might have stumbled upon, but maybe HIKO hasn't read this thread yet...
  8. I believe Hiko may be still be away in Cambodia, hence I was able to 'get in before him'.

    Friend in the UK had an Isetta, was a bit weird getting in through the front, and you certainly felt very vunerable when coming up behind a truck, as for the passenger literally nothing but a flimsy windscreen in front of you.
  9. Actually the Vrod engine is made by Porsche and shipped to USA for assembly,it was designed by porsche for Harley
  10. How's that for American Iron? - In a pinch it always pays to turn to them germans when it comes to smart engineering...
    Porsche should build its own bikes, maybe with a light and small (1000cc?) version of VW's VR5 engine... -
    I still remember driving in an Isetta, my uncle had one when I was pre-school boy. It was kinda like those octopus-joyrides on a fair - you open the gate, there's a bench for two, then close the gate, or door. The Isetta was called "pothole-search-machine" because it had four tracks, a very narrow one in the back. It was better to hit the potholes with the front wheels than with the back. Being driven on only one wheel, fast turns made for interesting driving. - There were other interesting vehicles on the road in those days, the Loyd 175 with 175cc two-stroke engine, and the famous Messerschmidt 200 with a glas-bubble off an aitplane as a roof...
    Back to the topic: the Boxer-Dilemma is actually not that big of a problem since those clever Bavarians will sooner or later find the solution, as I already did. Keep the boxer, have no problems in turns? It's actually simpler than you might think: Just hang the engine into the frame on hinges; install a small computer-controlled electric motor that keeps the engine always parallel to the surface. You can lean all you want, the boxer stays horizontal. Talk about a low center of gravity! Isolates against vibrations, too! A world's first, wait until the Japanese are going to copy it. They never copied the old "flying brick" K motor, though, I wonder why...
  11. Klaus,, Bridgestone made a version of the Boxer engine in the 1940s and 1950s before they stopped making bikes and concentrated on tyres , the other Japanese factories would not make a Boxer as its too simple, Honda Gold wind is a super UBER boxer though.
  12. Well, I meant copying my idea of a permanently horizontal engine. And copying the old K-series engine. Why they called the new "japanese style" 1200cc engine 'K', I don't know. They should have left the 'K' for the flying brick, and called the new engine 'M' or whatever.
    Marusho went down the tubes because they welded steel balls to the end of the pushrods which came off after some time with surprising results. It's not that easy to come up with a good concept - and some can't even copy it successfully! The russian copy isn't a hit, either.
  13. HI KLAUS

    Yes John was right I was in Cambodia or Laos at that time but now I am back. The thread is a little whindling since it started with boxers and then it turned into one cylinder BMW:s but anyhow.... Klaus was not satisfied with Johns answer for some reason. Maybe he wanted to hear Three Wheeled Isettas. The original BMW version of the Italian Isetta was a four wheel version.This one had an enclosed duplex chain to the two rubber shaft driven rear wheels. The three wheelers had the chain driven the single rear wheel. The Isetta 300 3 wheeler was assembled in England at some rail workers factory but BMW Isetta 300 3 wheeler was made in Munich. One version of the three wheeler was the Swiss model which had two wheel rims tightened together to give a four wheel image. The reason for making three wheelers were taxbased and driving license based.

    The question of the boxers future is an interesting one. First of all BMW:s dilemma is not about a boxer but about an air cooled twin boxer. Most of the BMW owners are old fashioned, anti high tech,anti innovative "old bears" who cannot accept any changes before they are proven good 200%. I remember that when the R69S got its Us model telescopic front fork in 1970 old beemers were screaming "give back our earls fork". When the R75 models were introduced in 1972 old beemers shouted "cam shaft must be sprocket driven" etc. etc. In the late 1980 BMW was about to abandom
    the Boxers but due to markets response (as it is called) they continued and developed new boxer models.
    Now maybe the old boxer has come to its end but the boxer will live. Just look at the developments at Subaru and Fuji Heavy Industries.

  14. HIKO, I was very satisfied with TJ's response, and the link he posted. And I didn't want to hear 3-wheeled-Isetta because it is new to me that they exist(ed). I've only seen them with two wheels in the rear, close together. Made in England, possible, those Brits are known to have a wheel missing sometimes. (That was a german attempt at humor.) But made in Munich?
    When BMW considered doing away with the boxer in the early eighties already, they developed the K-series, which came out in 1983 in the US. Quite innovative, you could overhaul the entire engine without taking it out of the frame; the valves are on the left, the crank is on the right. Funny that this alternative isn't being built anymore while the boxer is still running...
    Saw in a BMW magazine a boxer with home-made watercooling; interesting was that it had a circuit per cylinder, a small radiator on top and no pump. It circulated by itself through heating / cooling.
    And as long as the conversation stays civilized, I don't mind if the topics change from boxers to bubble cars...
  15. Is this Rhodie's new Honda - a Transalp 680?
    A 52 degree v-twin. Eight valves -- four per cylinder, based on the Honda Deauville model.
    Now I fantasize if there will be an Africa Twin model?

    Watch the 2007 Paris Motorcycle Show
    for more news & Info

    It's also coming up for "Motorcycle Show Season"
    and I found this site
    helpful with a list of events.
  16. Wow, Great Bike. That is what we want here!!! Specially if it goes as good as it looks!!!
    Cheers Ian.
  17. Looks a bit too road orientated for me... same same Suzuki VStrom...

    As DFl said already, hopefully there will will be an Africa Twin Model

  18. I can't agree with that more, and with the remark that most Americans can't handle the horsepower they buy. I've got 2 friends with modified Ninja 250's who can out-run anybody, except on the interstate. But doing 150mph on the flats isn't skill; picking a line through a set of curves is. I often end up on rides with guys on Harleys, and it's painful to watch them on the turns. But hey, as my mechanic says: If you're having fun, that's all that matters.
  19. The SoftTails are the Bad Handling ones, bounce in the Middle when cornering. I saw Gang Members Racing Harleys in the Bears Racing at Manfield in New Zealand and they were doing Bloody Well some even had Big Ape Hangers, Bloody Funny to see!!! All depends on what you want to do or are Happy to do. All Bikes are designed to serve a Purpose. I myself am considering Buying a Harley for Cruising. If i had enough Money i would have a Fleet of Bikes for every Purpose. But Alas i am just a Broken Arse!!!
    Cheers Ian.
  20. I tuned a 1996 evo Softail custom here 3 years ago got 86bhp on the castrol dyno and fitted some decent rear underslung progressive shocks , the thing reaced 120mph and actually hanled quiet well considering its length , and it was comfy,and the sound was awesome with tuned drag pipes it sounded like armageddon.Completely different from the Ducati but fun , I want another one as a 2nd bike.
  21. The HP2 Sport...
  22. daewoo - of course it it road-oriented! What would you want to do with a heavy, two cylinder bike with little ground clearance in the dirt anyway? Even a 650 single is limited already because of its weight.

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