Since its inception in 1921, BMW Motorrad has come a long way and carries a strong motorcycle history. The first boxer-twin motor integrated motorcycle was BMW R 32.
Till date, BMW Motorrad continues to use the agile and robust boxer-twin engine in their motorcycles.
Apart from the boxer twin BMW Motorrad is also responsible for building different motors. While history is strong, we are eager to look at BMW Motorrad’s future.
Dr Ralf Rodepeter, Head of Brand and Product BMW Motorrad
And to answer our questions, we have Dr Ralf Rodepeter, Head of Brand and Product BMW Motorrad.
- How do you start your day?
Dr Ralf: Whenever it is possible I start the day together with my children and my wife, to spend as much time as possible together in the morning before I start my way to the office, usually with my R 1250 GS Adventure.
- What is your favourite bike?
Dr Ralf: Since I recently bought myself an R 1250 GS Adventure, this motorcycle is my personal favourite.
Of the many motorcycles I’ve ridden in my life, for me, the GS Adventure manages best to always feel perfect on the bike, no matter where I am on or off the road. And I like the rough and robust design of GS Adventure.
- What are your favourite roads to ride?
Dr Ralf: I ride a lot, in nearly all weather conditions, even in winter and on very different roads and I am also a big fan of offroad riding. Therefore I do not have the one clear favourite, but I like curvy mountain passes or challenging off-road passages.
- Do let us know about your current projects/work?
Dr Ralf: Being responsible for the product offer of BMW Motorrad, my team and I are, of course working on the product portfolio of tomorrow. You certainly understand that I do not want to go into detail.
From a brand management perspective, we consistently continue our strategy of giving the BMW Motorrad brand significantly more emotion, passion and dynamism.
The harmonious combination of healthy, authentic products and a worldwide end-to-end communication based on experiences and interaction with customers and fans with our brand approach “Make Life a Ride” will bring us to step by step further on the way to increase the desire for our brand worldwide.
Whoever stops working on his brand stops working on his future.
- MotoGP or WSBK? and Why?
Dr Ralf: At WorldSBK, there is a direct link to the serial product and allows for corresponding synergies, e.g. in development.
MotoGP, on the other hand, is a championship in which the racers are in the foreground.
Furthermore, the cost of the WorldSBK is significantly more efficient for BMW Motorrad than racing motorcycles which come explicitly developed for use just in MotoGP.
- BMW Motorrad always has an emotional connection with motorcycle enthusiasts through Concept Link or Vision DC Roadster. Do let us know when do we see these on the roads?
Dr Ralf: November 2020, we presented the BMW Motorrad Definition CE04. It is a near-series teaser bike founded on the Concept Link study.
We will present the technical details of the series vehicle this year.
Looking further ahead, our Vision DC Roadster stands for our understanding of emotional, inspiring and authentic e-mobility in the motorcycle sector in the future.
The essential prerequisite for bringing e-mobility to motorcycles being used predominantly in leisure time and often on longer trips away from the city is an evolving battery cell technology and a future, increasing density of charging stations.
- In India BMW Motorrad in collaboration with TVS has given motorcycle enthusiasts three great motorcycles – the BMW G 310 R and the BMW G 310 GS and TVS Apache RR 310. Do we see more coming from this collaboration?
Dr Ralf: Our collaboration with TVS is long-term – so be surprised what else will come….
- In 2019, BMW Motorrad had filed a patent on a turbocharger. How soon do we see this technology used in BMW Motorcycles?
Dr Ralf: We are not considering a compressor model from BMW Motorrad. I think we do not lack power in our engines. Of course, we have examined this, but we have not seen any positive benefits here so far.
- What are your racing plans? Right now, BMW Motorrad is active in WSBK. Do we see BMW Motorrad in MotoGP?
Dr Ralf: MotoGP is not an option for us.
- With almost 80,000 units sold our boxer engine bikes are very successful. The motorcycle world very well accepts the R18. How was the idea conceived?
Dr Ralf: Yes, we are selling about 80,000 units of Boxer engine bikes per year. That is why we believe in the strength and future of this engine concept.
But before we took this massive step with the unique R 18, did many laps until we were sure to meet our customers’ wishes both technically and in terms of design.
- At the end of 2019, we saw BMW E-Power Roadster, which was work in progress. How soon do we see the E-Power Roadster in production?
Dr Ralf: Electric mobility will also play an essential role in the motorcycle sector if we look further ahead.
And as I said before, the prerequisite for this, especially in motorcycles being used predominantly in leisure time and often on longer trips away from the city, is an evolving battery cell technology and a future, increasing density of charging stations.
- Like the C400X, does BMW Motorrad have any plans to bring lower displacement scooters below 300cc or so?
Dr Ralf: We have no plan for this. But for us, it is clear: all our coming products for urban mobility will be fully electric.
- We have seen the successful inception of moto e and formula e by providing fast, exciting racing and showcasing new technology do we see BMW Motorrad exploring these new technologies? Something like other forms of powering motorcycles or rather an alternate power?
Dr Ralf: We are convinced that e-mobility will come very strongly in the first step in the urban area, and we are now focusing on this. Activities towards moto e are not currently in our plan.
- Post-Covid what changes do you observe in the motorcycle market?
Dr Ralf: I don’t think the Covid 19 is affecting the motorcycle market of the future.
We all hope that this is only a temporary event and that we will continue to spend our favourite hobby with joy and many fascinating motorcycles in the future.
- What are your plans for EICMA this year?
Dr Ralf: The traditional commitments at the Motorshow like the EICMA in Milan, which were previously organised centrally by BMW Motorrad, will no longer apply.
Our own existing and new live events in a brilliant combination with digital formats will increasingly take the place of traditional trade fair appearances at BMW Motorrad in the future.
- How do we see BMW Motorrad five years from now?
Dr Ralf: Our goal for the coming years is clear: to become number 1 in the premium motorcycle market.
Therefore we need further development of BMW Motorrad into a strong experience brand, expansion of product portfolio in all segments, expansion of the range of urban e-mobility and entry into the field of electric motorcycles.
- How do you spend your leisure time?
Dr Ralf: The best leisure time is being with the family and friends or being on a motorcycle.
To conclude we at LivingWithGravity look forward to more technology-enabled motorcycles from BMW Motorrad.