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BMW R20 concept motorcycle: Sculpted cruiser emphasizes power and refinement

BMW R20 Concept combines refined modern mechanics with stunning design

BMW Motorrad BMW R20 Concept motorcycle front right three-quarter view on dark stage setting.
BMW Motorrad Design / BMW Motorrad Design

BMW Motorrad recently exhibited the BMW R20 concept, a stunning work of motorcycle art. The R20 concept honors the firm’s historic Big Boxer engine. Presented at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este at Lake Como, an international event celebrating historically significant vehicles, the R20 concept represents the past and future of BMW motorcycles. BMW Motorrad launches new motorcycle series regularly, but the R20 concept has distinct ties to the company’s history with boxer motorcycle engines.

Why the BMW R20 concept matters

BMW Motorrad BMW R20 Concept motorcycle right profile view parked on a dark brown surface against a black background.
BMW Motorrad Design / BMW Motorrad

Even more than automobiles, motorcycles become lifestyle icons. A Vespa parked by a lake, a motocross bike taking air, V-twin cruisers outside a bar, or a Honda Goldwing on the interstate. Each bike represents a two-wheel lifestyle, even if only for an afternoon, often with powerful emotional identification. For many motorcyclists, the BMW R series motorcycle with its boxer engine is a powerful icon.

BMW did not invent the boxer engine. Karl Benz did that in 1897. BMW began producing boxer engines for other companies in 1920. BMW began producing the R 32 motorcycle —  the “R” stands for “roadster” — in 1923. BMW Motorrad still sells BMW R series motorcycles.

BMW Motorrad designers and engineers created the R20 Concept to blend the elegant and powerful essence of 100 years of BMW boxer motorcycle history with modern technologies.

What the BMW Motorrad designers and engineers did

In creating the R20 Concept, BMW Motorrad designers emphasized the 2,000cc Big Boxer engine as a center point with a jewel-like “hotter than pink” painted tank mounted above. Most of the bike is blacked out with other parts in gunmetal finish to frame the bright, shiny engine, drive train, and megaphone-style open exhaust pipes. The R20 concept depicts the power and grace of this thoroughly modern incarnation of a century-old design.

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Bruce Brown
Digital Trends Contributing Editor Bruce Brown is a member of the Smart Homes and Cars teams. He also writes technology news…
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