BMW R20 Concept: Neon Pink Inspired by the Iconic Pirelli Calendar

May 29, 2024
3 mins read

Markus Flasch is already shaking up things at BMW Motorrad. The former BMW M CEO joined the company last year and he has already axed or delayed a few projects. But a new one was born already under his reign. The BMW R20 Concept was introduced at the 2024 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este and it has stunned the audience with its design and bold color choice.

In an interview with media, Flasch highlighted the R20’s distinctive design, emphasizing BMW’s unique identity rather than imitating competitors. The project aimed to create something quintessentially BMW. The most iconic feature identified was the silhouette of the boxer engine, leading to the development of a larger, 2-liter version.

Alexander Buckan, Head of Design BMW Motorrad, and his team rapidly developed the R20, moving from sketches to a metal prototype in about three months. The intention was to gauge public reaction before deciding on production. “There is not a segment that we are trying to get [with the R20, Flasch adds. “It’s just a gut feeling that we think that that’s cool. It’s unique and the reaction of the of the audience will decide whether we put it into production.”

Inspiration from the Pirelli Calendar

The neon pink color of the R20 was inspired by the 2024 Pirelli Calendar, which Markus Flasch received as a gift. This color choice was intended to make the bike’s simple tank design stand out against the expressive engine, achieving a balance between modern and historical elements. Buckan and Flasch said that the neon pink not only captures attention but also symbolizes a blend of past and present, resonating with a younger audience.

If the R20 moves into production, it will be an additional model rather than replacing any existing ones. If I would pick one bike and if I could wish for a bike then this would be it,” Flasch says. “In other words, there’s the motivation as well. It’s my personal dream,” he added. But don’t get your hopes up yet. If the bike does get through the board, then a development period of a few years lays ahead.

The BMW Motorrad leaders wish for the the R20 bike to maintain its minimalist aesthetic despite necessary additions like catalytic converters and mufflers. They both anticipate that customers will customize their R20s, similar to the trend seen with the R NineT. The R20 features a minimalist design, emphasizing the boxer engine and a simple yet striking tank. The headlamp and pipes are designed to evoke a retro yet futuristic feel. The integration of modern technology, such as a 3D-printed LED headlamp, underscores the bike’s blend of tradition and innovation.

Electric Bikes

We also learned that Markus Flasch’s approach involves a careful analysis of market demands and technological capabilities. BMW Motorrad has decided to focus its electric mobility efforts on urban environments, where electric vehicles are most practical and in demand. While BMW Motorrad has a strong presence in the electric scooter market, the company is cautious about expanding too quickly into electric motorcycles. Flasch highlighted that the existing infrastructure and the current state of battery technology do not yet meet the needs of long-distance riders. There is also, of course, the emotional component.

Introduced in June 2019, this BMW Motorrad Vision DC Roadster served as a window into the future of an electric motorcycle. In February 2024, that future still hasn’t arrived, and it looks as though we’re in for a long wait. That’s because BMW’s two-wheeled division has recently decided to postpone the launch of an electric motorcycle.

“We own 77% of the total electric bike market globally with our CE 02 for the electric scooter market and the other 23% split between all of the companies that are doing electric motorcycles,” Flasch said. “So why would I invest BMW money to build the [electric] motorbike to sneak into the remaining 23%?”

MotoGP and BMW

“We consider ourselves number one and there is a Champions League of racing and the Champions League is MotoGP,” Flasch starts. He emphasizes that he is seriously considering joining the MotoGP, but they are still in the early stages of this process. “I think with with the presence that MotoGP will receive even more so in future with Liberty Media taking over and when we see what happened to Formula One, when Liberty Media took took over Formula One, I see this significance of relevance of MotoGP even rising,” Flasch told us.

“These are the arguments but I said we seriously consider it, we have to consider consider going there. But what we have not done yet is making any decision,” he added.

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