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all from moto-usa-

The motorcycle world has long been waiting for BMW to step outside its stodgy personality and build a top-level sportbike that could rival the raciest competition from Japan and Italy. Rumors have even fluttered about BMW's entry into the vaunted MotoGP racing prototype class.

Well, the German company has recently released information about a new development program that appears to substantiate those rumors.

In a press release issued on February 6, BMW Motorrad introduced a special new bike in development, "a technology bearer for highly dynamic systems." BMW intends this "research vehicle" to expand its knowledge base by exploring the limits of motorcycle design.

"As part of research activities on future regulation systems, a motorcycle test vehicle has been created under the umbrella of BMW Group research and technology," reads the PR. "This vehicle has a very high engine output and lightweight construction technology and is designed to test highly dynamic processes in engine and driving dynamics management under extreme conditions."

Could the motorcycle pictured here be a precursor to a factory-entered MotoGP machine? Well, the timing seems to be right, as the premier roadracing class will enter a new era in 2007 with the advent of 800cc engines replacing the monstrous 990cc mills currently in use, putting everyone on level pegging. And, as every four-wheel fan knows, BMW makes some of the most technologically advanced engines for its Formula 1 team.

"The close networking of all research and development activities with the BMW Group is a competitive advantage and a key element of the strategic orientation of our entire motorcycle development operation," says Director of BMW Motorrad, Dr. Herbert Diess, somewhat cryptically.

A key focus of the project, according to the release, is in engine management and electronics. BMW says its engineers benefit from the expertise derived from Formula 1 and BMW's technology leadership in the field of electronics. Also to be studied in this project are lightweight construction methods and aerodynamics, "which are also to be subjected to research at threshold level."

To us, it sounds like research at the threshold level involves racing. But the PR spin-meisters prefer to point the topic in the direction of production bikes.

"Regulation systems for longitudinal dynamics such as drive-slip control will be introduced for powerful motorcycles in serial production in the years to come," adds Diess. "In addition to ABS, they will form part of an integrated concept to increase active safety."

Safety schmafety! Traction control is now a huge part of being a successful powerplant in MotoGP, as it is in F1.

This nameless development mule has thus far only seen the light of day on BMW's own tracks, but Diess says it will make appearances at public race circuits in the future.

"Functional tests under the widest possible range of realistic conditions provide the best feedback on the interplay between engine, chassis and electronic components. The comparative data thus obtained serves to provide a comprehensive assessment of the capabilities of this technology research vehicle and of the development status of the components in question."

In a different press release, BMW says: "Insights from this project will feed into the future serial development of motorcycles (that) will become visible in future years."

Reading between the lines best we can, a fertile mind might see BMW's debut in the 2007 MotoGP season, followed by a street version as the first authentic MotoGP replica.

If so, it will be a daunting task, even for a company with a wealth of technological might such as BMW.

"The dynamics of powerful motorcycles operating at the physical limits are among the most complex phenomena in the field at the current time," explains BMW Head of Development, Prof. Burkhard G"schel. "For our engineers this is a highly sophisticated and, at the same time, fascinating task."
 

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Believe it when I see it :shrug
 

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joel647 said:
I just have to chuckle that it has conventional forks,a beam frame,conventional swingarm and chain drive.
Do you also chuckle at the lack of V-Tec on Hondas MotoGP effort?
 

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Forks look like the gas-charged Ohlins
 

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SprintST said:
Do you also chuckle at the lack of V-Tec on Hondas MotoGP effort?
No,as Honda builds the VFR primarily to answer the BMW question:eek:verweight,techie solutions to problems that don't really exist. BMW has preached innovation in chassis design for 20 years now but when it comes to competing with the Japanese on an equal,competetive footing,this is closer to a 1987 Japanese streetbike than anything they've ever built.I'd like to see them race and win however they could,and built a streetbike I'd be interested in buying.*

ETA: I shouldn't have said conventional as that generally means non-USD telescopic forks.I intended it to mean non-Telelever/Hassock/ELF/RADD/girder/Motoczysz etc alternative to telescopic forks.


*uh,yeah I do own a BMW streetbike but it isn't a "real" BMW.
 
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