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BMW Clearly Doesn’t Understand What’s Good About its Own Bikes

Boring blue bagger and expensive-paint R nineT may suggest German brand's focus is on other models

BMW announced this week that a number of its models will be receiving minor tweaks for the 2019 model year. By and large, there’s nothing terribly exciting or new coming our way (or, at least not yet), but I couldn’t help noticing the “bold new graphics” treatment being given to one of my favorite bikes, the R nineT.

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The paint scheme of the BMW Motorrad Spezial R nineT, which the manufacturer describes as “Option 719 Mars red metallic matt / Cosmic blue metallic matt,” is just a big, “Nope,” as far as I’m concerned. It looks like a bike that’s being targeted at 16 year olds. Where did we get the idea that painting big numbers on tanks is cool?

rninet
No likey

Triumph does it with its Tiger 1200, now BMW is doing it the R nineT. Except these numbers don’t make sense. Is this a bike targeted specifically at people living in southeastern Colorado (which uses the 719 area code)? Are there grown adults who want this? Grown adults with the kind of disposable income necessary to buy these bikes who want stylized numbers on the tanks of their bikes?

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I can’t help feeling BMW doesn’t quite get what’s great about the R nineT, nor what should be great about its K 1600 B, which is getting a super-dull looks-like-a-Triumph-Trophy-SE blue paint scheme for MY19.

k1600b.jpg
This dull paint scheme may be bad and/or ass, but not badass.

Meanwhile, most of the BMW line-up is receiving a similarly light makeover. New paint schemes, and most models getting a “dynamic brake light.” A few others will also be equipped with the oddly named “comfort turn indicators,” which self-cancel according to road speed rather than simply timing out.

Notably missing from the list of new paint recipients are all of the brand’s R 1200 bikes: GS, RT, R, and RS. Spy shots that hit the interwebs earlier this year suggest the RT is set to receive a pretty big makeover, with a boost in capacity and variable valve timing being among the rumored changes. It could be that all the R 1200 bikes are up for these updates.

awful
Also not a fan of the K 1600 GT’s new look.

If that’s the case, it would certainly eat up a lot of resources in terms of folks who would be available to think up new ideas for existing platforms. I mean ideas better than simply giving everything the Suzuki treatment (“OK, team, let’s give ’em more of the same!”).

I’m enjoying the summer, so I don’t want to hasten its end, but this has me looking forward to this autumn’s big shows – Intermot and EICMA.