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BMW R 20 Stuns Crowds At The Concorso d’Eleganza

Image source: BMW

BMW has worked hard to shed its rather staid image in the past 15 years. First, there was the S 1000 RR in 2009, followed by the positively playful R nineT in 2014 and the excess-all-areas R 18 in 2020.

When other manufacturers showcase concept bikes, there is always the sneaking suspicion that we’ll never see anything like it in showrooms a year or two down the line. When BMW reveals a ‘concept,’ however, the chances are that BMW is already far down the ‘productionising’ route with the machine, the R nineT and the R 18 being two cases in point.

Image source: BMW

The Concorso d’Eleganza, one of the world’s richest concours competitions, taking place annually on the shores of Lake Como in Italy, has long been a shop window for futuristic concepts from all manner of car and motorcycle manufacturers and this year was no different, with the arrival of the rather bonkers BMW R 20.

Image source: BMW

The number gives the first clue, even though it is scarcely believable; that’s right, this is a 2,000cc version of the R 18 boxer motor! With that in mind, you might expect it to be housed in another gargantuan cruiser chassis but nothing could be further from the truth.

What you are looking at, is BMW’s response to the Triumph Rocket 3 or, perhaps, the Ducati X Diavel. In profile, it looks exactly like an R nineT or, more accurately, an R 12 nineT, the current model.

Image source: BMW

No doubt the engine is a development of that found in the R 18, but the chassis is all-new and the most striking feature is the new swing-arm. For the first time in who knows how many years, BMW is using a double-sided Paralever swing arm with an exposed drive shaft, just like the R 18.

Image source: BMW

The rear wheel is a 17-inch disc, while the front wheel is a 17-inch spoked affair. Suspension is Ohlins upside down at the front and a single Ohlins shock at the rear. Brakes are unusual in being from Swedish company ISR, with twin six-piston callipers at the front and a four-piston calliper at the rear.

Image source: BMW

If the petrol tank is not far removed from that on the R 12 nineT, then the paint colour is like nothing BMW has ever applied to a tank; hot pink! When last did you write BMW and ‘hot pink’ in the same sentence…?

Image source: BMW

While the R 18 hasn’t exactly set the world’s markets alight, BMW obviously believes in the super-large boxer engine concept and, should the R 20 make it into production, will be hoping that it finds a more ready reception. On the basis of these pictures, we’d have to say that they might be right.

Image source: BMW
Harry Fisher
Harry Fisher
From an early age, Harry was obsessed with anything that moved under its own steam, particularly cars and motorcycles. For reasons of a financial nature, his stable of fine automobiles failed to materialise, at which point he realised that motorcycles were far more affordable and so he started his two wheel career, owning, riding, building and fixing many classic bikes. Then came the day when he converted his love of bikes into a living, writing, filming and talking about them endlessly. The passion for four wheels never left him, however, and he has now converted his writing skills into singing the praises of cars in all their infinite variety. Bikes are still his favourite means of getting around but the car in its modern form is reaching a level of perfection that is hard to resist. And they're warmer in winter....
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