The BMW R NineT Lac Rose Concept Might Be Coming, But Would It Be Any Good ?
Edgard Heinrich, the Head of Design at BMW Motorrad has been making great headway with custom motorcycle builders who have created some very interesting and actually incredible BMW R NineT builds over the past couple of years. He as also spearheaded the development of some great in-house projects with the motorcycle, creations such as the new R NineT Racer and the R NineT Scrambler that debuted at last year’s EICMA motor show. Now for the 2016 edition of EICMA, Asphalt and Rubber indicate that the BMW Lac Rose Concept that Heinrich created will to be put to production for 2017. This is great news, except for those who are looking for a proper off-roading small-G/S type machine.
The BMW R NineT Lac Rose Concept was created by Edgard and team for the 2016 edition (5th edition) of Wheels and Waves festival back in June at Biarritz, France. The concept was an reminiscent of the 1985 Paris-Dakar Rally winning BMW G/S laid over the current BMW R NineT. Due to the modular construction of the current BMW, making such variations is a relative breeze, which is also the exact purpose with with the R NineT has been designed and developed. While we might have to wait to know further if the BMW Lac Rose Concept R NineT confirms production at this year’s EICMA motor show which starts on November 10.
There is no doubting that the BMW Lac Rose Concept R NineT looks great. It has got the hardcore rallying looks no matter which angle you view it from. The high mudguard, large fuel tank, short rally seat and a headlight cowl with windscreen are proper reminiscent of the 80-Dakar BMW motorcycles. But it’s the way that BMW has put the whole package together that makes it more of a chilled out, laid-back everyday roadster than a dedicated motorcycle to go off-road. Sure, there are long travel suspensions and a few bits here and there that would give it the the capability of a regular scrambler, but thats going to be it. And it seems like this is very much what we would be getting in the final production version of the motorcycle too. If BMW want to keep the costs relative with the rest of the R NineT model line anyways.
If you compare the BMW Lac Rose Concept to the BMW R 80 G/S there are evident holes that BMW can’t be expected to address in their final production version. With the concept, BMW clearly stated that the motorcycle is a “cool”, laid back machine instead of a true dual purpose machine, and that is the trend they are likely to follow for the production version too. While the original R 80 G/S by itself was no hardcore off-roader, it offered the best of both worlds, where the motorcycle was set up to be equally capable on the road as well as off it. The Lac Rose however, won’t be that in most probability. It will not have the needed suspension travel for making it a great off road motorcycle. Neither would it have the re-tuned air-cooled boxer engine that would give it better low-end torque, or a lighter clutch and fly wheel for quicker throttle response. What it would be rather, is a mix and match of pre-existing parts from BMW’s parts bin, added with a few “lightly” modified parts that present a great off-road stance without actually giving the functionality.
And that is the problem with the “Heritage” motorcycles made by companies themselves today. Instead of creating a motorcycle truly represents and betters on the functionality and capability of the original motorcycle from back in the day, the new “Heritage” lineup is more of a prop than an actual usable product. The reason is that these so called 70s-inspired machines have to appeal to a crowd lost in time and ready to spend to re-create the era’s culture. But culture doesn’t always have to be technical and is good to do with scratching-the-surface sort of machinery that replicates the by-gone era. What this leaves us behind is a machine that is half-baked at best really. While it looks the part, it isn’t actually all that great with the real purpose it looks to be built for. The same issue is with the BMW R NineT Racer as well. While the motorcycle sports a gorgeous cafe racer look, the brakes and suspensions have been compromised, creating a gap between the motorcycle actually handling as great as it actually looks.
Don’t get me wrong. I love “Heritage” -styled motorcycles myself and admire the direction in which the companies are going. It’s just that if I was looking to buy a modern motorcycle with not-so-modern technical aspects, why would I want to put my money on an expensive company replica-of-the-past instead of buying the actual old motorcycle that started it all. They are available dime a dozen on eBay and other market places for a fraction of the price, they are relatively simple in function and provide better real-world usability than the ones that appear to be mere body-kits of the original.
Simply put, the new “Heritage” motorcycles that are being created by manufacturers today are more about the “Go-Faster” looks than actually going fast. But I guess thats what the world of bearded and tattooed gents want.