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BMW’s Big Boxer Gets BIGGER | Meet the R 20 concept

Is this the next big twin-cylinder boxer BMW?

red motorbike over water

BMW already lays claim to producing the biggest boxer twin in the world with the engine nestled between the frame of the R 18 family, but appears the Bavarians are thinking bigger is better with their latest concept pushing the 2-litre mark.

Unveiled in front of the picturesque background of Villa d'Este at Lake Como, BMW Motorrad’s BMW R20 concept offers a sneak peek at what the brand could have up the pipeline for its big boxer project. 

While it looks a little cartoonish with its oversized features, it somehow looks like it could almost slot right into the production line alongside BMW’s other crop of R bikes, particularly the new R 12.

BMW motorbike concept

As part of the design, BMW slapped a new aluminium tank onto the R 20  which is coated in what BMW called a “progressive” colour - called "hotter than pink" from the 1970s. The R20 concept also features colour-coordinated cylinder head covers, belt cover and air intake funnels made of polished and anodised aluminium, as well as the Paralever strut, footrest system and the ISR brake calipers in gunmetal.

The taillight has been cleverly integrated into the single seat, which is upholstered with quilted black Alcantara and fine-grain leather. According to BMW, this emphasizes the dynamic roadster appearance with its compact rear. The modern LED headlight is presented in the form of a 3D-printed aluminium ring with an integrated daytime running light. The main headlight appears to float optically in the middle of this daytime running light ring.

“The R20 concept is a bold interpretation of the BMW Motorrad DNA,” says Alexander Buckan, Head of Design BMW Motorrad.

“It combines modern technical elements with a classic roadster design. Its oversized proportions and minimalistic aesthetic make it an unmistakable character.”

Setting the R 20 apart from the BMW cruiser family, the new concept places a larger capacity version of the Big Boxer engine into a roadster chassis for the first time with the R 20 straddling the line between BMW’s heritage and its future with premium components mixed with a very recognisable silhouette.

The chassis of the R 20 features a black double-loop main frame made of chrome-molybdenum steel tubes to hold the Big Boxer in pride of place.

BMW led headlight

At the front, suspension duties are performed by a traditional fork supplied by Öhlins rather than the telelever setup BMW favours on its touring bikes, while at the rear the R 20 sticks to the script with a Paralever setup executed in a new two-arm style. The new Paralever sees the swingarm made of chrome-molybdenum steel with a Paralever strut made of aluminium. The new design has the goal of completely balancing the drive torque from that massive twin-cylinder boxer engine. 

Drive makes its way from the engine via an exposed drive shaft much like the one used on the R 18, however, due to the roadster design of the R 20 its unit is shorter than the unit on the cruisers.

In a somewhat odd move, BMW opted not to match the design of the rolling stock, with an aluminium rear wheel matched up with a spoked alloy unit at the front. The rear wheel measures in with a 17x6.25 inch sizing wrapped in meaty 200/55R17 rubber, while at the front a 17" spoked wheel with black spokes and a more common 120/70 sizing handles steering duties. 

BMW concept bike

Pulling the hefty beamer concept to a halt is a set of radially mounted brake calipers from ISR at both the front and rear – with six pistons at the front and four pistons per brake caliper at the rear. 

For the concept bike, BMW has used new cylinder head covers, a new belt cover and a new oil cooler which were all developed specifically for the R 20, in order to be able to mount the oil pipes partially hidden.

Keeping to the minimalistic aesthetic, the exhaust system keeps things simple with the 2-in-2 exhaust system seeing the exhaust exit via two large pipes which BMW says delivers the appropriate sound character befitting the 2-litre boxer twin.

While BMW hasn’t yet confirmed whether the R 20 will see production, they are certainly proud of their efforts with BMW Motorrad’s big boss, Markus Flasch, even chipping in to comment.

"The BMW R20 concept is a mechanical masterpiece, with the Big Boxer in its centre. Distinctly BMW Motorrad."


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