By Dennis Chung
Earlier this month, BMW and Japanese builder Custom Works Zon presented a rather industrial-looking retro-styled roadster at the 27th annual Mooneyes Show in Yokohama, Japan. The bike itself, christened the “Departed” by builders Yuichi Yoshizawa and Yoshikazu Ueda, was an interesting combination of vintage styling and modern production, making use of a lot of milled aluminum, steel piping and sheet metal and drawing inspiration from the bikes ridden by racer and landspeed record holder Ernst Henne in the ’20s and ’30s.
But what really drew people’s attention was the engine, a brand new, gigantic prototype air/oil-cooled Boxer engine from BMW. Like the rest of the Departed, the engine drew elements from the past in the push rods on the top side of the opposed cylinders, a familiar sight on BMW bikes built up until the late ’60s.
BMW provided few technical information about the engine, though we surmise a displacement of about 1800cc from the “R18” printed on the back of the seat. We do know BMW has plans for this new engine, which the company makes clear is a prototype. BMW says it will have further details about the engine and what it could be used for at a later date.
The R18 is a clue that the prototype engine displaces around 1800cc. The K1600B in the background may another clue that the engine may eventually be used in a line of heavyweight cruisers and tourers.
The obvious use for a nearly two-liter Twin engine (albeit a Boxer instead of a V configuration) is for a new heavyweight cruiser or touring motorcycle. That BMW left a K1600B casually standing in the background of some of the photos in the press kit is unlikely to be a coincidence. The K1600 models have served as BMW’s heavyweight touring models for quite …read more