They were considered ugly and even a little twee, yet I’ve ridden them and found they handled quite well with loads of cornering clearance. They are now even considered a coveted collector’s item.
Fingers burnt, the Munich manufacturer has repeatedly rejected a return to cruisers ever since.
However, it now looks like they might be courting the idea as cruisers are selling well in so many markets.
But BMW has never built conventional engines – look at the boxer twin, K-series flat four and three “bricks” and the K 1600 transverse off-set slant six – so their version of a cruiser could feature a W-3, according to recent patent documents unveiled by American Motorcyclist magazine.
The main problem with the boxer twin R 1200 C was that it just didn’t look right in a cruiser format. Cruisers are traditionally V-twins, or maybe parallel twins (Triumph).
BMW’s answer to a new-generation cruiser is likely to not religiously follow the trend, but find a radical variant, so the W-3 design makes sense for them.