Is Aprilia Working on a Shaft-Driven Tourer?

Adventure and touring bikes are currently the big growth market for motorcycle manufacturers, especially in the US and Europe and just about every company is looking to replicate BMW’s success with their GS series of adventure bikes. For some, any consideration of a bike other than the 1200 GS necessitates a shaft-drive transmission and new patents from Aprilia indicate they may very well be planning on doing just that.

The majority of the patent, titled ‘Homokinetic Motorcycle Transmission and Motorcycle Comprising Said Transmission’ is in Japanese, but the limited amount of the document which is in English is as follows:

A motorcycle transmission (4) comprising a swingarm (8) which extends from one hinging end (12) to a motorcycle chassis, defining an oscillation axis (X-X), at one connection end (16) to a wheel (20), a homokinetic joint (36) arranged on the side of the hinging end (12), and a a geared coupling (40) positioned on the side of the connection end (16), wherein the homokinetic joint (36) kinematically reciprocally connects a first end (44) of an input shaft (48), connected to a power take-off, and a second end (52) of an output shaft (56) mechanically connected to the geared coupling (40), and wherein the geared coupling (40) transmits the motion to the wheel (20). The homokinetic joint (36) performs an instantaneously constant transmission ratio between the first and the second end (44, 52), the homokinetic joint (36) is offset to the hinging end (12) of the swingarm (8), in a vertical direction (Y-Y) perpendicular to the support surface (P) of the wheel (20) and permits an oscillation of the output shaft (56) between a stroke start and a stroke end, parallel to the oscillation axis (X-X).

Now, we’re not overly literate when it comes to the mechanical side of shaft drives, nor are we all that good at comprehending the wording used in patents (which makes legal documents comprehensible by comparison), so if anyone out there decipher whether this is a fairly run of the mill shaft-drive system or something else, we’d greatly appreciate it.

Regardless, perhaps Aprilia feels like they need to do more to boost sales, given how sales of their Caponord range of bikes really don’t reflect how good they are.

Is Aprilia Working on a Shaft-Driven Tourer?

Let’s Talk – Honda, BMW and Yamaha to Colloborate on Motorcycle Connectvity

Three of the biggest players in the motorcycle world, BMW Motorrad, Honda and Yamaha have announced a joint initiative – called the Connected Motorcycle Consortium – that will work towards enhancing what is known as Cooperative-Intelligent Transportation Systems (C-ITS) for use in motorcycles.

According to the European Telecommunications Standards Institute, with C-ITS vehicles communicate with each other and/or with roadside infrastructure, greatly increasing the quality and reliability of information available about the vehicles, their location and the road environment.

Basic applications of ITS currently exist in GPS navigation systems, where real-time traffic information is provided such as rerouting advice based on traffic jams ahead. For road transport in particular, interoperable networked wireless communication between vehicles can enable road users to make coordinated and informed decisions about their route as well as allowing safer maneuvering in busy urban environments.


According to the three partners for this announcement, ITS systems designed for cars cannot simply be transferred to motorcycles. Due to the limited space available, electronic systems have to be smaller and be resilient to water, dust and vibration. Since motorcycles exhibit different driving dynamics, software development and algorithms need to consider special requirements.

“Our aim is to promote a timely and comprehensive use of cooperative ITS systems in powered-two wheelers offering the potential to improve safety. We therefore encourage other companies to join us,” explains Prof. Dr. Karl Viktor Schaller, Executive Vice President Development BMW Motorrad.

The plan is for all three manufacturers to feature C-ITS systems on their bikes by 2020.

Let's Talk - Honda, BMW and Yamaha to Colloborate on Motorcycle Connectvity





Registrations Now Open for 2016 BMW GS Trophy

After Africa, South America and Canada, the BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy goes to the continent of Asia in spring 2016 for the first time. BMW Motorrad has organised the International GS Trophy every two years since 2008 – an adventure rally in which BMW GS riders from numerous countries come together to engage in sporting competition with each other not just on a motorcycle but in a wide range of other disciplines, too. The event started with five teams in Tunisia in 2008 and has seen swift growth ever since.

Ten teams participated in southern Africa in 2010. At the third competition in Chile and Argentina in 2012, 15 teams took to the track on their GS bikes, while in North America in 2014 there were as many as 16. The GS Trophy now expands further in 2016 in response to strong international demand: 18 national teams will represent their countries – and there’ll be one special team in addition.

One thing has definitely been missing from past events: female GS riders! In the past, only male participants qualified for the three-strong national teams but this time there is a unique opportunity for talented female off-road riders:

A special qualifying event is due to be held from September 9th – 16th 2015. From all applications worldwide, a jury will select ten women to be invited to South Africa. There, the jury will assess riding performance, skills and teamwork capacity. The best three out of the ten qualifying participants will then make up the international female team and battle it out for victory at the 2016 BMW Motorrad GS Trophy.

If you’re keen, head to for details on the application process.

Registrations Now Open for 2016 BMW GS Trophy

BMW ‘Concept 101’ – A Preview of the Upcoming K1600 Bagger

We know from spy shots and leaked reports that BMW Motorrad is working on a bagger based on the K1600 tourer. Now BMW has given us a preview of the final production version of this machine in the form of the ‘Concept 101’ – 101 referring to the roughly 101 cubic inches of cylinder capacity. But given its prominent fairings, calling this motorcycle a bagger probably isn’t the most appropriate description.

Baggers are derived from a standard cruiser, stripped of as much of the fairings as practical and with hard and low-slung luggage attached to give the bike a low slung stance. The 101 concept meets the criteria of the two latter characteristics but its prominent front cowl and side fairings put it into a class of its own.

Despite this, BMW intends to market it as a bagger. Baggers are big in the US market where Harley-Davidson dominates the segment and where Honda has tried its best to make inroads using the Gold Wing derived F6B. BMW Motorrad describes the Concept 101 as having drop-shaped silhouette that is typical of baggers, reaching the highest point at the front trim with two integrated side cases adding the final touch of a quintessential bagger.

Interestingly, the Concept 101 was made in collaboration with Roland Sands. In a recent interview, BMW CEO Stephan Schaller stated that Roland Sands and BMW would work together even more closely going forward. “He creates these wonderful motorcycles in terms of styling and flair, but they actually work, they are functional” said Schaller. “They are not like so many other custom bikes that are just nice to look at, but you wouldn’t want to ride one.”

While the final production model will obviously use less bespoke parts and finishes, its likely that the shape that you see here is what you will be able to buy when the bike is officially unveiled at the end of this year. You can read the full press release below.



Every year, the most impressive representatives of the mobile past and future on both two and four wheels assemble at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este for a very special get-together on the shores of Lake Como. Amid this extraordinary blend of the traditional and the contemporary, BMW Motorrad once again presents a breathtaking concept study: the BMW Motorrad “Concept 101”.

“The Concept 101 opens up a new chapter in the history of our concept bikes. It is the BMW Motorrad interpretation of endless highways and the dream of freedom and independence – the perfect embodiment of “American touring”. Designing this big touring bike study was amazingly exciting for us because we haven’t been involved with a motorcycle concept like this before. To me, the Concept 101 is the epitome of elegance, power and luxury on two wheels,” says Edgar Heinrich, Head of BMW Motorrad Design, describing the character of the concept bike.

The epitome of power and exclusivity.

The name “Concept 101” indicates the capacity of the concept bike, which has its roots in the USA. The capacity of the six cylinders is 1,649 cc – approximately equivalent to 101 cubic inches, which is the American unit of measurement for cylinder capacity. So the “Concept 101” moves into a sphere that goes beyond mere horsepower and acceleration figures – all that counts is the remarkable riding experience full of power and tranquillity. The enormous torque of the in-line 6-cylinder engine generates extraordinary pulling power in every situation on the road.

The number 101 also stands for the place where the vehicle came into being. It was not far from Highway 101, at the design studios of the BMW Group subsidiary Designworks in Newbury Park, California, that the BMW Motorrad designers got together with their Designworks colleagues to create a truly special motorcycle that would extend the limits of quality and exclusivity and reflect a whole new touring philosophy: “We had a clear vision when we were designing the bike: under the motto “The Spirit of the Open Road” we wanted to build a high-performance, emotional and highly exclusive 6-cylinder vehicle that would make every ride a special experience. A bike that would make the moment so special, you would forget your destination,” explains Ola Stenegard, Head of Vehicle Design BMW Motorrad.

This vision is expressed in the BMW interpretation of a “bagger” – an exclusive type of custom bike especially popular in the USA. The very elongated and streamlined silhouette is especially striking from a distance. Unlike the low front section and the high rear of supersports motorcycles, the BMW Motorrad “Concept 101” has a drop-shaped silhouette that is typical of baggers, reaching the highest point at the front trim. Below this, the large front wheel appears to pull the flat, stretched silhouette behind it. At the same time, the characteristic styling of the bike visually suggests a forward urge. Two side cases integrated in streamlined form add the final touch of a quintessential bagger.

Precision and emotion.

The consistent flow of the lines from the front to the rear symbolises the riding experience offered by the “Concept 101”. Within the flowing silhouette, clear lines and elaborately modelled surfaces shape an athletic body. This creates a dynamic contrast between flowing movements and clearly defined lines that further emphasises the bike’s character. The horizontal subdivision into two areas of colour lends greater emphasis to the overall impression of flatness. While the lower section – the powerful mechanical unit – is dark, the upper area has been deliberately designed in lighter colours so as to reflect elegance and finesse.

The dynamically designed front trim in brushed aluminium is flatly integrated into the flow of the styling. The integrated headlamp with striking double circular appearance gives the front section a distinct and highly expressive look. It also provides the point of departure for the characteristic split face which runs across the entire bike through to the rear in the form of a brushed aluminium trim section. Two striking side panels encase the front trim almost like a suit of armour, thereby creating a broad shoulder section which further highlights the power of the “Concept 101”. Tailpipes on both sides, each with three outlets, visualise the number of cylinders and therefore the supreme performance and high torque of the engine. They also ensure the appropriate sound, making the potential of the 6-cylinder engine audible.

The rear view harmoniously rounds off the bike’s overall visual impression. A particular highlight is the unusual rear light cluster. It provides a frame for the dark-coloured rear section in the form of two LED bands. The design of the lights is formally reminiscent of former road cruisers. At the same time the expressive appearance grants a fascinating technical and aesthetic style.

High performance, high tech, high value.

The entire design of the “Concept 101” right through to the colours and materials used reflects power, contemporary flair and exclusive appeal. The side trim parts and cases feature an elaborate two-colour finish: a light silver surrounds the surface while the inner section is a somewhat darker silver with more of a metallic effect. The two areas are separated by a line marking applied by hand. The paint finish also includes a shadow effect which gives the manually applied line marking greater depth towards the inside. The dynamic front trim adds a touch of cool, technical style with its unpainted, brushed aluminium. The aluminium’s modern, technological statement is supplemented in the bike’s lower section by means of generous carbon surfaces with a silky gloss.

Amid silver paint surfaces, brushed aluminium and carbon, there are dark wood elements that add a warm, exclusive counterpoint. The elaborately milled wood, only treated with oil, emphasises the horizontal gesture of the side sections with its discreet grain. The model designation is integrated in the wood surfaces as an elaborate aluminium insert and badge. On the seat, two leather qualities further reflect the bike’s exclusive character: the fine-grain black leather of the side sections adds a touch of elegance to complement the perforated black leather of the seat area itself. A brown leather strip separates these two distinct sections.

In cooperation with Roland Sands Design.

The concept bike took concrete shape on the premises of Roland Sands – just under an hour away from Newbury Park amid the heartland of the Los Angeles custom bike scene. In close collaboration with the BMW Motorrad design team, Roland Sands assembled the exclusive parts of the “Concept 101” at his own workshops. BMW Motorrad and the custom bike specialist have worked together successfully for several years, having completed inspiring projects such as the Concept Ninety, for example. Roland Sands’ familiarity with the scene and enormous expertise in custom building combined with the possibilities and history offered by BMW Motorrad make for an exciting partnership. Sands put together the many parts of the BMW Motorrad “Concept 101” in his workshop, elaborately producing individual elements exclusively by hand. As a result, signature machine parts such as the clutch cover, timing chain cover and wheels all bear his logo, discreetly bearing witness to a collaboration that has proved successful for many years. The material finish and technical design are state-of-the-art, thereby reflecting in detail the fundamental BMW Motorrad statement: precision and emotion.




300 cc BMW ‘K03’ Spotted Testing in Germany

British motorcycle tabloid MCN has gotten hold of some photos of the motorcycle that will spearhead BMW Motorrad’s big push into the small displacement market. Code named K03, the motorcycle is being developed as a partnership between BMW and Indian motorcycle company, TVS. The agreement between BMW and TVS began in 2013 and was entered into to help BMW develop smaller capacity machines for the western market and TVS to make larger capacity machines for their markets.

The agreement set out plans for the two firms to develop machines in the sub 500 cc class, so its no surprise that the first machine they jointly collaborate on will be one for the increasingly heated circa 300 cc market.

Based on the photos, it’s a single cylinder water cooled engine – just like the Honda CBR300R. Forks at the front are inverted and look like the same forks from the TVS Draken (a concept bike shown at the Indian Auto Show last year) and straightforward shock absorber at the rear – nothing unexpected for what will need to be a keenly priced bike in India. While it can’t be seen in the pictures, ABS for any bikes sold by BMW will obviously be standard but perhaps not for TVS sold machines.

Given however that BMW has strong intentions to sell these entry level machines in western markets, we wouldn’t be surprised to see some enhancements in certain areas of the bike like suspension before it goes on sale here though.

MCN also suggests that in addition to the naked bike caught in the pictures here, BMW will also release sportsbike and GS style adventure bike on the same platform.g shipped from Europe to Bangalore for testing in India. It’s expected the first of these motorcycles will be officially unveiled at Intermot later this year.



2015 BMW S 1000 XR Specifications and Price

Today the much rumored new “adventure sport” motorcycle from BMW Motorrad has been released – the brand 2015 BMW S 1000 XR. It shares the same DNA as the S 1000 RR superbike and S 1000 R naked. That means it features the same brilliant straight-four-cylinder engine, great handling and some of the best technology available today. And all that with what will be the most comfortable ergonomics of the three bikes.

The engine is straight from the BMW S 1000 R. That means it’s slightly detuned from the S 1000 RR, but still has makes a potent 118 kW (160 hp) at 11,000 rpm and generates maximum torque of 112 Nm (83 lb-ft) at 9,250 rpm. Just like the naked bike from BMW, that equates to a more usable engine on the road as opposed to the track.

Like just about all BMW motorcycles, the BMW S 1000 XR comes with riding modes, being “Rain” and “Road” modes. However, in what is becoming a worrying trend, BMW is looking to upsell additional riding modes as an added extra, being a “Pro” option which includes the additional riding modes “Dynamic” and “Dynamic Pro” along with Dynamic Traction Control (DTC) and ABS Pro. BMW is king of added extras in their cars and it’s disappointing to see that they’re willing to leave out electronic safety aids from their bikes in the name of extra profits – especially so seeing that BMW Motorrad has long been a pioneer of bringing new motorcycle technology to the market to improve rider safety.

Obviously, while the engine of the S 1000 XR remains unchanged from the S 1000 R, the chassis has undergone a major rework to properly deliver an adventure style feel and handling. Wheel suspension at the front and rear is handled by an adjustable upside-down fork and a double-sided swing arm with adjustable central spring strut respectively. The chassis geometry has been completely redesigned in order to cater to the specific requirements of the XR.

Also available as an option is electronic suspension adjustment, or what BMW Motorrad calls Dymanic ESA. According to BMW, Dynamic ESA provides just the right level of damping at the spring elements in any riding situation assuming that the load has been set correctly. In addition to this, riders are able to adjust the spring preload to the bike load as desired at the push of a button, independently of the damping.

No confirmation on release dates or pricing at this stage, but we’ll update the article accordingly.

Enginewater-cooled four-cylinder in-line engine, 80x49.7
Power118 kW (160 hp) @ 11,000 rpm
Torque112 Nm @ 9,250 rpm
Gear BoxConstant mesh 6-speed gearbox
Front BrakesTwin-disc brake, floating brake discs,
Ø 320 mm, radial four-piston brake callipers
Rear BrakesSingle-disc brake, Ø 265 mm, twin-piston floating calliper
Front SuspensionUpside-down telescopic fork, stanchion diameter 46 mm
Rear SuspensionAluminium double-strut swing arm with central spring strut
Front Tire120/70 ZR17
Rear Tire190/55 ZR17
Wet Weight228 kg
Tank Capacity20 liters