MotorcycleDaily.com – Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

YouTube Video Reveals BMW’s New Boxer Motor With “Shiftcam”


As we previously reported, BMW’s 2019 large displacement GS should be getting a new 1,254cc Boxer engine. The rumor indicated variable valve timing was part of the package, and a new BMW video posted on the internet seems to confirm this.

Called “Shiftcam”, as the video below illustrates, two separate cam lobes are available, and chosen based on throttle opening.  Full throttle leads to a higher lift cam.

According to the video, the new, big GS will be a very fast adventure bike . . . making a claimed 136 HP and 105 foot/pounds of torque. Take a look at the video:


See more of MD’s great photography:

Instagram


92 Comments

  1. paul says:

    To everyone who has mentioned the GS’s prowess or its lack of it, I found this little video a hilarious look at it… language warning.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xDOOT-T2gKo

  2. Skybullet says:

    I think the future Sweet Spot will be mid-range 800-900cc, lighter weight, high tech suspension, variable seat/suspension height, turbocharged Adventure and Sport Tourer bikes. Yamaha and KTM are trending that way with their latest models. Remember, you heard it here first.
    For now,BMW and other mfgs first priority is building bikes that SELL. Ya gotta have a gimmick to motivate buyers to “move up.” Right now big, tall adventure bikes are the hot sellers. Give the customers what they want. They will move up (or down) again when they see something better.

  3. Anonymous says:

    BMW and other mfgs first priority is building bikes that SELL. Ya gotta have a gimmick to motivate buyers to “move up.” Right now big, tall adventure bikes are the hot sellers. Give the customers what they want.
    I think the future Sweet Spot will be mid-range 800-900cc, lighter weight, high tech suspension, variable seat/suspension height, turbocharged Adventure and Sport Tourer bikes. Yamaha and KTM are trending that way with their latest models. Remember, you heard it here first.

    • Anonymous says:

      Turbos are irrelivant IMO, and OEMs would just be wasting money developing them for short term gains. Everyone knows electric is the future. Many countries have already banned sales of internal combustion engines past a certain date.

      A smart company would start selling electric bikes prior to the bans, so that customers would become familiar with the bikes and choose that brand over the companies that wait until it’s mandatory.

      • regan says:

        Motorcycle makers are in business to make money hence they don’t make electric motorcycles. Its a stupid idea to make an electric motorcycle in this day and age. Who wants to lose money. Would a turbocharged motorcycle sell, probably if its done right.

        I enjoy riding my 2strokes they have fun powerbands and are easy to keep running. There still out there available for reasonable prices.

        • Anonymous says:

          Even Harley Davidson, the most reluctant to change manufacturer of all time, is developing electric bikes. That alone should tell you something.

          England,China, France, Germany,India, Ireland, Isreal, Netherlands, Taiwan, Madrid in Spain, Rome Italy, Mexico City, All have laws restricting internal combustion engine sales. So, basically every major market except the US will be electric only by around 2030.

          • Tom K. says:

            Anon, Your prediction on vehicle electrification is definitely popular right now, but I still think there is a chance we’re going to be surprised by the future. Electric cars only comprise 1% of the U.S. market currently and demand isn’t rising fast enough to justify putting all our eggs into that one basket. There could be, for instance, future breakthroughs in carbon-neutral synthetic fuel production (say, from algae) that outpaces improvements in battery technology. All of the energy on earth is born in the sun, it’s just a matter of how we harvest it. I think it’s too early to pick winners and losers, other than we should agree to stop oxidizing sunshine that was sequestered into hydrocarbons fifty million years ago, and if possible, reverse the trend. Bottom line, there may be a whole range of “winners” in the future, not just one.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            Honestly, I think the greatest threat to electric vehicles is still gasoline and the internal combustion engine. If fuel efficiency can show a significant increase through technologies such as the camless valvetrains posted earlier, the ICE could still be considered a very attractive alternative for both consumers and governments.

            Not to say that electric vehicles don’t have a future… I certainly believe they do and will present very large market share in the future. Regardless of any ICE improvements, electrics make a lot of sense for a lot of people, particularly in metro areas, even today. Price is still an issue that has yet to be resolved, and it will take more than economies of scale to fix.

            That said, the way motorcycles are typically used in the US, it is difficult to see battery technology getting to a point in the near future where electric motorcycles can be used for anything other than commuting or some off-road stuff. I follow the technology closely, and most of the so called leaps in tech on the horizon showcased in the media border on science fiction considering what we currently know about chemistry. A breakthrough could happen tomorrow, but I certainly wouldn’t count on it.

          • Anonymous says:

            The problem for motorcyclists, and the industry in general, is that electric has already proven itself to be completely feasable for cars. Once emissions standards allow for zero tailpipe emissions, the ICE will be history. We may see some really cool and innovative bikes between now and then, but manufacturers are not gonna have much incentive to develop technologies for an ever-shrinking market.

          • Anonymous says:

            I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for pneumatic valves and other crazy expensive formula 1 tech to hit production bikes either. Surely Ferrari, McLaren, or Yamaha would have put them on a production vehicle by now if it was possible. Even the Honda RC 213VS has a traditional valvetrain, and that bike is as close to a MotoGP bike as you can get. Ducati Desmosedici RR has traditional valvetrain too.

            Maintenance schedules for pneumatic valves would make 250F motocrossers look like trail bikes.. No thanks.

            Edit: I think the Mercedes Project 1 has pneumatic valves, but it costs $2.7 Million dollars.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            Pure pneumatics will likely never be feasible. I’m not waiting for those.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            The feasibility of the electric car is independent from that of an electric motorcycle. An electric car can go a lot further on a charge than a motorcycle can since weight is not an issue. Most riders I know couldn’t do with a motorcycle than can only run for a hour or so a highway speeds. We tend to use the bikes recreationally.

          • Anonymous says:

            I feel like the next big breakthrough in electric vehicles will be lowering the time necessary for a full recharge. Lower recharge times, and multiple quick-charge stations in every town will erase many of the current issues with electric powerplants.

            I like gas engines, especially two strokes, but the writting is on the wall with countries banning gas engines outright. It might not be so bad, I heard electric bikes have massive amounts of torque.. I might have to take up hillclimbing or something.

          • Anonymous says:

            Edit: Submitted by Tom K., forgot that part!
            Jeremy, as typical, your thinking is spot-on. Even with Tesla-level battery technology, cost will have to come down significantly before electric cars crack even ten percent of the market, especially in cold climates. I’ve heard PHEV’s described as “The worst of both worlds”, but battery tech. is going to have to get a lot better/cheaper before the IC market fades completely. I’m no expert, but think that electric vehicles with a smaller amount of less-costly batteries and a purpose-built IC range extender to bridge the gap to be a better design, time will tell. And I don’t believe Anon’s prediction of zero-emission tailpipe legislation, the voters write the laws through the politicians they elect. Someone who just bought a $70K F150 would be willing to vote for Trump as Dictator for Life to prevent that legislation from happening, unless there are viable, comparable-cost alternatives available. And as of yet, there are none.

          • Anonymous says:

            Gas engines which are sold prior to the bans will definitely be ‘grandfathered’ in, and still legal to operate. The bans will only effect sales of new vehicles. How well recieved new electric vehicles are, and how long gas stations stay in operation remains to be seen.

            And it’s not just politicians and lobbyists who are gonna decide this issue. If technology advances rapidly, or if the cost of electric vehicles drops, people are going to buy electric, even if it’s not mandated.

          • Anonymous says:

            Anon, if my Aunt had balls she’d be my Uncle.

            Again, I’m not anti-electric, I just realize that for the vast majority of people, electric cars, and especially electric motorcycles, are just not ready for prime time yet, but are getting better with each generation. And, the idea of “zero tailpipe emissions” is a fantasy until all electric power is renewable, and we’re still a long, long way from that. And if you count in “emissions” the nasty stuff produced from battery manufacturing and disposal, we’re even further out.

            But with technology changing so rapidly, that situation may change in the next ten-to-twenty years, and honestly, I hope it does. We’ll see.

            Bottom line, the principal of “If wishes and buts were candy and nuts….” is not a desirable approach for engineering departments to take. Sorry if pragmatism offends, but MD is not a Certified Safe Place.

          • Tom K. says:

            Sorry, Anonymous at 1:42 was me.

          • Anonymous says:

            “If wishes and buts were candy and nuts.” Could also apply to the cost of fuel. What if gasoline is 5 dollars a gallon? Suddenly that feeble little electric car isn’t such a horrible idea.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            Raising the price of fuel through taxation is one way to drive demand for electric vehicles. But frankly, it’s been $5 per gallon before. It costs roughly that much or more in Europe, and there hasn’t been a large demand increase for electric vehicles. In the US, we’d probably just do as the Europeans – drive more fuel efficient vehicles – though I’m sure we’d also have more electric cars on the road too.

  4. Tdmer says:

    While it’s certainly interesting technology it seems like one more thing to possibly fail at the most opportune time.

  5. RichBinAZ says:

    Is it just me or is the video of the combustion cycle way off???

    At 1:00 in, the Inlet valve is closing near TDC, which will give very little compression and most of the air has been pumped back out of the cylinder thru the inlet tract.
    The exhaust valve closes well before TDC also and the inlet should be opening almost immediately, but it isn’t

    At 1:42 in (full power) the same story – the valve timing is completely wrong.

    As for the shifting pin, it’s going to shear off at some point. Toyota has a better variable valve lift system in their ECO engine (Valvematic). They should have copied/licensed that.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RHNXbGGvOdc

  6. Marty says:

    Never owned a BMW, but applaud their technilogical efforts. The GS, and a number of their other models, are priced way outside of my maximum expenditure point. I can only watch from the sidelines. Sucks to be me, but I know that there are many others like me.

  7. Mike Johnson says:

    https://newatlas.com/bmw-autonomous-motorcycle-r1200gs/56293/

    BMW KNOWS you cannot handle their products- they KNOW they are pursuing a dead end

  8. Mike Johnson says:

    From a peak of 1.2M about 12 years ago bike sales have fallen by a SOLID 58%. There must be many reasons but certainly one if the production of HUGE hulking ego boosters that most people cannot and will never be able to exploit.

    Even if 21K is a good price for you- Hell you buy for cash- you cannot handle this machine, right? So for at least 50 years bike writers have pumped the market to today’s Hindenburg proportions.

    Maybe you will stumble around on your version of Dear Elephant at 25 mph on a gravel road but NO WAY you handle 134 HP especially off pavement or a well maintained Freeway. NO WAY you handle 67 HP any where near wide open

    What do I mean? Imagine a well tuned 67 HP bike about 450 lbs and a 31 saddle height. We set up a winding 60 mile PAVED street run. You have to keep the BIKE wide open all the way meaning as fast as IT can go with a pro grade rider who will ride with you on an exact bike copy.

    You and I will quit in 15 minutes if we even last that long. We are in 60 miles over our heads.

    So where is the sense in producing huge blimp like machines no one can handle- who will buy them? If bought will most be parked with 10K on the clock 10 years from now?
    How does this promote the industry? Are we having fun yet?

    Now new possible bikers might read this site and I am writing for THEM as they might JOIN up and MIGHT stay with biking. If this site does anything to convince them that REAL bikers choose 580 lb, 135 hp, 35 inch saddle heights the Industry, the interest, LOSES.

    Bikes have to be fun useful machines that average healthy energetic athletic people can enjoy or the Industry is finished

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      There were plenty of very expensive and very high performance bikes 12 years ago as well during the motorcycle sales peak you refer to.

      There is nothing wrong with bikes sold today. There is an excellent variety on hand from small to large, cheap to pricey. Small and midsize bikes today are better than they ever were before. Period. So the idea that large and expenses motorcycles are killing the industry is just flawed in my opinion with such excellent small bikes available. And heck, big adventure bikes are huge sellers where I live, so they are actually a huge boon to the industry.

      And it doesn’t make any difference whatsoever whether a rider can use only a fraction of a bikes potential or every bit of it. The only thing that matters is that they enjoy using whatever fraction that is. Nobody needs 135 hp or even 67 hp all the time. But it is great fun to use all that power some of the time, a feat any average rider is capable of doing. And fun is the whole point.

    • Jason says:

      Do you also complain that most Ford F150 Raptors aren’t used to race Baja?

      You seem to be completely missing the point of the BMW GS. They aren’t dirt bikes. BMW knows the typical buyer won’t every take a GS on anything more technical than a graded gravel road and many won’t do even that. They make excellent touring bikes. The extra suspension travel soaks up bumps on today’s poor roads and the extra legroom makes for comfortable touring on pavement.

      GS riders enjoy their bikes just fine and GS sales are through the roof.

    • Bob K says:

      Who buys these things? I do and many others on AdvRider. It’s a very off-highway capable 2 wheeled SUV. If you don’t think people can handle all that weight and HP on a bike that big, tell it to everyone who is buying the even more powerful KTM 1290 Super Adv in spades.
      .
      Case in point, I took a “big Hindenburg GS from Houston to as close as I could possibly get to the Nunavut border, which was still about 200 miles away (as the loonie flys) as I needed to make sure I could get back. Fully loaded with all the gear for a 4 week trip and a bunch of extra fuel. 200 miles was as close as I could safely get. But It took thousands of miles of pavement, so-called dirt roads and cow paths to get there. I’m not the only one to try and get there on a GS. Is there a better bike to do this? Not really. You need a lightweight 250 cc dirt bike with a 50 gallon fuel tank. Doesn’t exist. And even if it did, I wouldn’t ride the couple thousand miles of pavement on it at 75 mph. All in all, that portion and all the way back to Pruhoe Bay and into more wilderness and back to Houston was a 12,000 mile trip. Perfect for the blimp that no one can apparently handle.

      • Tom K. says:

        Great job, Bob. I’m seriously envious of your enthusiasm, fortitude, endurance and just plain guts to do something like that. A good example of why bikes like the GS exist, despite clamor from the sidelines that exhibits more book smarts than saddle experience. The idea that one must be able to pin a bike’s throttle for a 60 mile non-stop ride in order to justify its maximum horsepower, and therefore existence in the marketplace, is beyond ludicrous. I would suggest it far more likely “someone” has a grudge against BMW and is using comments on this press release to execute it. Not that having a grudge against a manufacturer is necessarily unwarranted, I just don’t like dishonesty.

        • Bob K says:

          You could be right about his grudge. It could also be his self-image too. You know, legend in his own mind.
          .
          While I’m a pretty small percentage of GS riders that do some gnarly stuff, the other 340 days of the year are pretty normal as it is for them too. I see the benefit of a bike and an engine that is extremely versatile and can do about anything.
          .
          As such, if I pass a Starbucks or Tim Hortons and see a gaggle of GSs in the lot, I don’t bag on them or call them posers. I think to myself that they made a smart purchase.

  9. WSHart says:

    All this needlessly complicated bovine excrement and you still have to check/adjust the valves every few thousand miles…FTN.

    “Oh”, you say…”It’s relaxing to be in your garage and doing a valve check/adjust.”

    I’d rather be riding than checking and adjusting. Wait until this thing explodes from within like that cute little Alien creature popping out of some hapless fools chest. It’s not that BMW’s aren’t nice bikes, they are. They’re just overpriced for service and overall ownership. For those that find that tempting from an “exclusive” standpoint, fine.

  10. Jim says:

    They should put that R&D into the final drive in stead.

  11. Fastship says:

    That’s nothing. Soon their bikes won’t even need riders like us at all. Look at what BMW are working on next:

    https://youtu.be/4JlYE6nSNJI

    “for you, ze riding ist over”…

    But who will buy such machines? Our future AI overlords will that’s who! I for one bow to their superior intelligence (and death rays) :¬)

  12. Stinky says:

    Now if they’d put that in a sport tourer with a 5+ gallon gas tank. K1200?

    • Ed says:

      The new 1250 motor is slated to be fitted to all of the big boxer-powered models (GS, GSA, R, RS and RT). The current RT has a 6.6 gallon tank.

      • Bob K says:

        And the RS is about as close as it comes to my all time favorite BMW, the R1100S. 160,000 happy miles all over North America. And the only thing I ever needed to do was replace coil sticks a few times and occasionally sync the throttle bodies and replace the fuel filter. Was a darn good bike. Even the 1100GS before it, at a whopping (maybe 80 crank HP) was bulletproof. And had all the power I ever needed for everywhere I went.

  13. Mike Johnson says:

    Like the Duc 800 also covered here this is a signature technology no one staring with a fresh sheet of paper would look at. Flat twin= a cheap engine based on a flat aero 4.
    Buyers insist but both engines are cosmetic and vanity choices.
    A tall 575 lb 1250 cc with 135 hp “adventure bike”??
    If it sells it sells ….
    If interested go to the Cummins Engine site site and look for the 2.8L turbo diesel engine. About 1.8 lbs torque per cubic inch- massive power right off idle. 800 rpm
    This 76.5 inch engine – if built to Cummins TD spec = 137 lb torque 90 -100 hp ~ 3500 – 4000 rpm

    • MGNorge says:

      Interesting comparo, don’t think I’d ever think to compare a gas NA motorcycle to a turbo-diesel truck engine intended to tow and haul. Like comparing, well, apples to oranges.

      • Mike Johnson says:

        Depends on what you want in terms of power characteristics, weight of vehicle, stability, compactness and so forth.
        If you are at idle on loose dirt, gravel on a 467 lb bike plus your weight, your gear… 720 lbs on narrow winding roads , limited visibility, limited stopping ability even with ABS what kind of power do YOU want right then? Will you be spending a great deal of time sitting straight up with wide bars at 150 mph on the dirt? Will you be spending most of your time at 150 mph on pavement running DP tires ? If you have to have an engine layout drawn from 1923- flat twin – you have to but TRY to think about how you really ride, how skilled are you, what is your deductible on medical insurance. This BMW is a Posers Machine primarily and BMW is working on a gyro system to keep the damn thing standing up because almost NO ONE alive can actually do that. Well comparing, sort of, people who do not and will never exist with people who do exist and who ride bikes and want to stay OUT of the ambulances.

    • Anonymous says:

      Not sure what your point is about torque per CI, but I just bought a 2018 Ford Expedition with the 3.5 (214 Cubic Inches) EcoBoost engine. This engine makes 480 lbs/ft of torque; 480 / 214 = 2.24 lbs of torque per cubic inch. And, that is a gasoline engine. Plenty of gas and diesel engines make more than 2 lbs of torque per CI.

      • Mike Johnson says:

        Thanks – torque per cubic inch gives you a REAL indicator of basic engine POWER output and I had been looking at an Cummins 2.8 crate engine earlier for a re-powering project and read this review. I did not search all possible TQ per inch combinations only a what was a kind of random comparo.
        What KIND of fuel is not the point but the Cummins happens to be a diesel multi purpose crate mill you can say DOES fit the Adventure/Dual purpose segment BUT as a 4 wheeler.
        The point would be that the highly touted BMW Dual P engine is POOR compared to a 1/2 decent small displacement crate mill. SURE 2.24 lbs per inch is even better so lets use YOUR example: 1254cc (76.5 inch) version Eco Ford engine= 171 lb TQ and 146HP at 4500 rpm-107 HP at 3300 rpm… hard to see a useful Dyno chart here but could your proposed 76.5 inch mill MC deliver 18 lbs off idle???
        Okay what about an inline 3 of 1000cc 61 inches at your 2018 Ford spec= 135 TQ ( 85 hp 3300 rpm, 115 hp 4500 rpm) VASTLY more compact than the BloatMW mill, lighter, cut 40 lbs off the bike?
        I look at the power characteristics of any engine- its weight, dimensions, and operating range at proposed real world usage

        • DeltaZulu says:

          Never heard anyone talk about torque per cubic inch before in any meaningful way. Now, horsepower per cubic inch makes sense. You know, that’s why there are gearboxes. Also, you are talking about real world usage; a pickup is a bit different from a motorcycle is a bit different from a train is a bit different than a ship….. AND, different motorcycles require different engine architecture for different uses. Not too many inline-4 MX bikes around and not too many single cylinder MotoGP bikes, either.

          • Mike Johnson says:

            Thanks for the reply. Any engine only supplies torque pulses so in a single to make this straight forward there is one Strong Torque Pulse of maybe 90 degrees duration every 720 degrees of crank rotation – since this is a twin TWO torque pulses per 720 degrees of crank rotation. How do we measure Volumetric Efficiency of any proposed piston engine? How much Torque does it produce per cubic inch? This super promoted 2018 engine produces 1.37 TQ per inch at its BEST and it does not matter whether that is 2500 or 7500 RPM. This is VERY poor by modern standards when even pickup trucks are delivering 1.8 to 2.2 TQ per inch. It would not matter if it was 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 cylinder engine.
            After WW1 BMW – a ruined aero engine producer produced this cheapo engine (95 years ago?) for low speed bikes at 1920s road speeds. BMW tried to stop making this weak engine design but were pressured to resume production BUT no matter how they tinker with it – STILL POOR- heavy, low efficiency, wide. A 114 inch M8 Harley is the same thing – 100 year old legacy design- both should have been dumped just about 50 years ago. Piston Engines only produce torque pulses – horsepower is a derivative of Torque AND the stronger and broader an engine’s torque band the fewer gears are needed, the more flexible the motor is in the real world, etc. BONUS QUESTION: Of the riders you know how many complain that their engine is not turning ENOUGH RPM at an 85mph cruise?
            The Bike advertised above is NOT a race bike- it is as heavy as a dump truck.

        • Jeremy in TX says:

          I would think horsepower per volume would be a better measure of power since it is actually a power metric while torque is not. I’m not really sure what point you are trying to make.

          • m says:

            An engine produces Torque pulses-nothing else – the number of torque pulses per minute IS horsepower. Torque X RPM /5252=HP.
            Any engine will produce its best torque per cu inch at the rpm when it breathes the best regardless of design. The number of pounds per inch IS the sole indication of the volumetric efficiency of the engine. If you want more horsepower you increase the RPM ceiling of the engine while enhancing breathing to process more air per minute. This degrades lower rpm performance because the engine cannot produce its best torque at all rpms between 1,000 and 12,000 RPM. Let us say that your view was that you did not care if your engine idled at 5000 RPM – Honda 500 oval piston maybe? – as long as it had plenty of beans over 12,000 RPM. Lets assume this hulk motor produces 105 TQ as listed above and you pick the RPM you want that TQ number to appear at.At 5252 RPM with 105 TQ you get 105 HP – at 10,000 RPM the same 105 produces 200 HP. If the engine would turn 15,000 the TQ 105 gives 300 HP.
            The primary point is that TQ 105 from a 76.5 engine 1.37 lb per inch- that is not even as good as a turbo diesel crate motor for a pick up truck intended to haul cinder blocks around Houston. How much $$ for these?

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            “An engine produces Torque pulses-nothing else – the number of torque pulses per minute IS horsepower.”

            That is correct, which makes the concept of torque per volume completely meaningless to me. It says nothing about an engine’s true potential to make power. It really says nothing at all. And it certainly doesn’t say anything about how advanced any particular engine is. If that were the case, there would be some old steam engines vying for the list of “best” engines.

            Engines are designed for particular applications, not to make a certain amount of torque per liter. Torque is easy to achieve… that is what a transmission is for.

            I can say from experience that the current BMW flat twin is a marvel of an engine for a wide variety of motorcycle categories. It might arguably be the best “jack of all trades” mill in the business right now.

          • DeltaZulu says:

            Exactly right Jeremy. You can make a million pounds of torque with one horsepower. It would just be REALLY slow. Horsepower is a measurement of both speed and torque. One horsepower equals 550 lb/ft per second; very simple to understand.

          • Mike Johnson says:

            Just be a fan- do not look at the object of what or who you are a fan of. A tall tippy dirt bike that weighs 570 lbs and lists 134 hp. 98% of the population will have no idea so tell people that your bike has 184 hp. BMW could tell BUYERS it has 184 hp. Fans would respond just as they do now. It is a tribute to your self image, how you demand others see YOU. To promote this simply never examine anything analytically.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            I don’t own one… Not really my thing. But the marketing and rider culture behind BMW has nothing to do with how good or bad the current flat twin is. I’ve spent some time riding the latest GS on and off-road, and that is how I know it is really good. Didn’t even need to calculate the torque per liter to figure that out. My brother owns that bike, and since he does most of his riding on a CRF250L pimped out in the latest Bilt riding gear, I doubt he cares much about what other riders think of him.

            I find it kind of silly, really, when I see people passing judgement on other riders because of the kind of bike they ride. Some one is a poser because they ride a BMW? Really? What are they posing as exactly? So they didn’t want an archaic KLR or a half-ton cruise or Goldwing. Maybe they just bought one because it pressed all the right buttons. Is someone determining the worth of a particular engine by comparing a completely meaningless metric like torque per cubic inch to that of turbo diesel and gas engines posing as someone knowledgeable of IC engine design and application?

      • Mike Johnson says:

        I checked out your lead!
        Ford also makes a 3.0 liter Turbo diesel that delivers 440 lbs at 1750 rpm which is 146 hp also at 1750 rpm.

        If there was a 1000cc version – about 50 hp at 1750 – 111 hp at 4000 rpm.

        A 1254cc version as above would be 187 TQ and 142 hp at 4000 rpm and 62 hp at 1750…..

        Probably be very slow tho

        • Anonymous says:

          Man, don’t tell those guys making MotoGP engines how worthless their engine technology is! Poor guys only get about 70 – 80 lbs/ft of torque out of 61 cubic inches. Mike, you need to go school those poor idiots on how to make more torque! Sarcasm off now.

    • Tom K. says:

      Comparing a naturally-aspirated to a boosted IC engine is not a fair comparo. Neither is it fair to compare diesel to gasoline, they have different operating characteristics and efficiencies tailored to different uses. Due to traditionally lower rpm and unthrottled intakes (leading to lower pumping losses), and much higher compression ratio, diesels are historically more efficient. Throw turbocharging into the mix, take into account the less-highly refined and higher heat content (and cheaper, at least in the rest of the world) fuel, and you realize why they are the engine of choice for trucks, construction, agricultural, train and ship applications. Their drawbacks are that they are heavy for their power density, the parts have to be stronger to handle the increased compression ratios – which puts them at a disadvantage in motorcycling applications. In a farm tractor, for instance, a 350 hp rated diesel engine can and does make 350 hp all day long, day in and day out. Try that with a 350 hp Ford Ecoboost gas engine, and you’ll have a melted pile of slag in about fifteen minutes. Again, different engines for different purposes.

      And that’s where you’re missing the point of 135 hp on a GS – Certainly one doesn’t need that much power when working one’s way across difficult terrain. You also don’t need it when cruising along at 75 mph on the superslab (I would guess that takes only 10-20 hp steady state). Where you want the extra power, is so you can accelerate quickly (for passing a motorhome on an uphill two-lane, or just to put a smile on your face – if not for that, motorcycles wouldn’t exist at all). If 135 hp doesn’t make sense in a large all-purpose motorcycle, then neither does it make sense in a Mustang or ‘Vette, we can all just own Prius variants and save the whales. Having excess power in a bike is like having a .357 in your nightstand – better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.

    • Phil says:

      You’re an idiot!

  14. Ken says:

    The music was good, but I’m not so sure about the idea of moving a camshaft back and forth. This seems like the least reliable out of all the VVT systems out there with the greatest possibility of fragging the bearing or wearing out the pin that shifts the cam. I bet single cam conversion kits are gonna sell like hotcakes.

  15. John D says:

    A simple rule of thumb to always remember: Never buy the first year of any new BMW, especially one as radically different as this one is.

    People who bought the first year of the BMW R1200 GS back in 2005 found this out, very much to their dismay after their drive lines started failing. BMW resisted fully fixing known faults both under and especially out of warranty.

    Japanese manufacturers actually figure out the bugs before their bikes are sold. BMW doesn’t, It seems to prefer that new buyers do their road and endurance testing for the factory.

    • Bob K says:

      The CAN-BUS was no joy either. I was excited about them turning the torque-reaction link upside down for ground clearance reasons but as you say, there were assembly issues with the crown gear in the final drive. Nothing that was user serviceable.

  16. Grover says:

    Great! A more complicated engine. I’ll bet the dealership service dept. is salivating at the thought.

  17. Larry Kahn says:

    Will it be called the “shifthead”? Can’t imagine where that will go….

  18. Butch says:

    Hands down, the ugliest motorcycle engine ever designed.

  19. matt says:

    Since the cam ‘pin’ is not permanently engaged (per video at least), what keeps the cam from walking in either direction? The cam rides on an oil film after-all and unlike traditional cams where there is a ‘disk’ that rides in a channel to keep things from sliding very far.

  20. Tom K. says:

    Whatever happened to the promise of solenoid-controlled valves? I would have thought the technology would have advanced by now (maybe ten or fifteen years since they were tried on F1?) and available commercially. Is it that the technology is not viable, or is it that the cost is too high for us mortals? The ability of a cylinder to breathe in a variable lift, adjustable duration way still seems like the ultimate solution to the problem, getting rid of weight and complexity in the process.

    I guess I could have just Googled this, but a lot of gearheads here probably have information that is just as relevant as Wikipedia anyway. I guess the upside is that Tom R. won’t suspect me of being Kevin Cameron.

    • Tom K. says:

      Thought I’d close the circle, I just found the following in a Motor Trend article:
      https://www.motortrend.com/news/is-the-era-of-the-camless-valvetrain-finally-upon-us-technologue/
      Short story is that “it’s coming”, hopefully sooner than later. I was surprised to learn that the parasitic losses are actually higher for a solenoid-driven valvetrain, but are offset by reducing oil-pumping losses due to eliminating the cams, etc, making them more efficient overall. Significant savings in size and weight are also pluses. All of the current complex VVT designs may be going away soon (if we’re lucky). Just as diesel engine fuel injection has gotten very advanced in the past twenty years or so with common rail (20 or 30 thousand psi, vs. the 3 or so thousand psi that I knew as a kid, plus complicated mapping with respect to injector lift, duration, sequencing, etc.), we’ll likely see variable valve lift mapping in future engines. I’m more surprised than any to see how dependent mechanical systems are and will be on software. I guess I should be happy about that, but….

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        Fascinating. It seems very complex, but the weight savings and reduced engine height alone would make such a system appealing to the motorcycle industry. The increased power and efficiency claims are pretty impressive.

    • Bob K says:

      The problem with an infinitely variable valve-train, is that the valves are still the same diameter and unless you also have an intake runner and exhaust header that is infinitely variable in size and length and a piston/combustion chamber that can morph into different compression ratios and crown shapes, and an ignition/FI system that is mapped for infinite combinations, you’re still half-assing it.
      .
      I’ve kept my eyes on the electro-magnetic servo valve train technology since the 90s when Bose and GM started working on it. The problem has always been and still is durability with heat being the killer of the coils. Even heat transfer away from the valve is less as the keepers, retainers and springs that absorb heat away from the valve stem are gone. Also, limiting lift has been an issue and prone to impact damage for mechanically variable stops.
      .
      The modern and less expensive solution has been the use of CVT transmissions keeping the engine operating at an ideal rpm for a given “load requirement.” I’m not a particular fan of CVTs still because of the 300 dollar fluid changes every 25,000 miles, long term durability of internals and the lack of fun with no manual shifting. But I get it’s purpose and usefulness in pursuing efficiency while still providing power.
      .
      I’ve built lots of engines for land-speed racing over the past 20 years, all of the 2 cylinder type, Buell/HD and BMW boxer and a few Guzzis. I can extract maximum torque and power only at one rpm and that range is very narrow for it’s purpose. The headers are very specific in length, diameter and number of steps as is the intake runner and throttle body. I can’t vary that on the go. And it’s only good at producing peak HP and gulping large quantities of fuel. Utterly useless if I were to run it on a public road.
      .
      While what BMW is doing is useful, it is limited in what it can do. But the torque spread really has improved and will be more useful all around. It’s going to take someone to come up with a new valve design that is tremendously more versatile than the poppet-style to keep improving the gas engine and pass emissions.

      • Tom K. says:

        Thanks for your take on the subject. My understanding has been less technical, and was more simply explained by someone way smarter than I am (Cameron? Jennings?) some years ago who said (I paraphrase) “IC engines are nothing more than air pumps, the more air you can put through them, the more fuel you can completely burn, and the more power they’ll make. Variable valve lift and timing optimizes torque production throughout the rev range, allowing an engine to make a higher spread of peak power and efficiency than it would be able to without. There are three ways to boost power in an IC engine, you either make it bigger (more displacement), spin it faster, or increase its BMEP (brake mean effective pressure) through use of better fuel, turbo or super-charging, higher compression ratios, better breathing, etc.”

        You are correct that variable runners on both ends, and maybe even a “rotary valve” or something would be part of the “holy grail” of wants in the “ultimate” IC engine. The use of a CVT to hold an engine in its peak operating range is obviously another approach, I’ve never owned one. Since we’re on the road to electrification anyway, maybe having “infinite” control of valves isn’t as important a consideration for research dollars as it once was, anyway.

  21. Tom R says:

    Gosh mister, after reading all the posts below I realized that that Kevin Cameron uses a lot of pseudonyms.

    And he has a hidden sarcasm switch.

    • Spiderwatts says:

      It becomes dreary to see the same commenters immediately criticize ANYTHING new or different. Just let them rant and enjoy living in the best of times. So many great choices of bikes today. And ride!

  22. Mick says:

    I looked up a bunch of R1200 dyno charts and it looks like there is a whole lot of doesn’t need fixing going on there.

    So of them do look like they could have a much broader area of near maximum power if they could get the torque to stay up a little longer before trailing off. But there aren’t around a lot R1200 riders that use the last couple of thousand RPM on a R1200 outside of a track day.

    Silver probably has the real answer. But maybe BMW will try to come a little closer to the Ducati Multistrada torque curve up to about 7000 RPM. That shouldn’t be too heavy of a lift if they can get any benefit out of the VVT at all.

    • MGNorge says:

      I think you may be right, this may give a little “punch” in top end and maybe below, and allow BMW some extra credibility in the market. I don’t see most GS riders trying to extract every last pony out of their engines either.

  23. Bob K says:

    I also think it’s a valuable system. Now we know where the extra 10 lbs is coming from. Single cams are a compromise of needs. Now we can have sporty performance AND liesurely efficiency.
    .
    But it’s kind of half-assed still. Ultimately, you would want to shorten/lengthen the intake tract with moveable velocity stacks, have a 2 position muffler like Buell did on the XB12 lineup and also do the double lobe on the exhaust side so you could truly change valve overlap duration and lift. BMW would be good all the way through Euro 6 most likely while keeping the hooligan in us happy.

    • Dave says:

      Unfortunately, with their illogical insistence (and their customer’s)on staying with the Boxer engine architecture, they must do all of that *twice*.

  24. TwinDog says:

    It ain’t your grandma’s boxer. The electronic and mechanical complexity is mind-boggling. If you drop and submerge that critter in a river you might electrocute all your friends or impale them with the shiftcams as the motor hydraulics. Don’t ya just love simple adventure riding?!

  25. Nick Woods says:

    It strikes me that when the cam follower has to be addressed by the higher-lift cam, the transition must take place on the base circle of the cam and be complete in one revolution of the camshaft. Definitely not a progressive change; more a kick up the backside. Is this suitable for an ‘adventure’ bike?

    • Bob K says:

      Yes, it must take place on the base circle. The shift gate and camshaft are one solid piece so the camshaft will make the change seamlessly on the base circle.
      .
      And you’re right that the change would be abrupt. But perhaps the ECU will soften the transition by changing ignition timing, throttle plate position and fuel delivery rate. That would keep it from being VTEC (motorcycle version) abrubt.

  26. T says:

    Seems like a very complicated and expensive way to make a measly 135 hp!!!

    • Bob K says:

      It’s not about the peak HP. Sure, they’re getting another 4-5 HP on top on the performance part of the cam but the other part of the cam will reduce duration (and overlap) and lift which will net more low/mid torque and better gas mileage (and better emissions). So that will be better for gas savings on the highway all day long. No reason to use 15 more HP and more fuel on the highway just to maintain 70 mph. And you’ll get off the line better too. Need to pass the convoy? It will change to the other cam, barrel past it, then shift back.

      • Stuki Moi says:

        It’s still an expensive and complicated way to achieve 135hp, with a presumably full power curve, from nearly 1300cc.

        All high power big twins are. Extremely oversquare, huge pistons, short strokes, giant valves, hard to control combustions etc.. Every moving part highly engineered and built for lightness. All to make it possible to move giant pistons at revs allowing for impressive sounding top ends. When even a simple, moderate, easy to engineer and build I4 of similar displacement could do the same job. And the 4 would do it with, at least per me, more charm, character and pleasure as well.

        Big Twins are awesome, characterful and living engines at low revs. But above 5000 or so, they just become dull, vibrating droners. Modern Boxer engines are so big and torquey that you rarely need to venture into higher revs, so they are still nice. But simply fitting milder cams, even if that means giving up 15hp up top, wouldn’t do any harm for this class of engine, for any use case where a big twin makes much sense to begin with.

        At least per me, who stopped buying GS’ when the 1150 became the 1200, and BMWs priorities for the model changed from Jeep to Cayenne.

        • Mike Johnson says:

          True enthusiast insight! A flat twin is a legacy low rpm design- Bigger bores, shorter strokes, VVT just make them worse and worse

        • Jason says:

          Yes, in reality the GS doesn’t need more power. However, buyers buy based spec sheets so it needed more power. KTM owners still will mock owners of this BMW ADV bike with ONLY 136 hp. 🙂

          I’ve owned a 1150 boxer and a 1200. In my opinion the 1200 is the sweet spot in boxer evolution due to the 50 lb weight reduction that came with that redesign.

          The ADV market is no different than 1000cc Sport Bikes. The current 200 HP monsters aren’t any faster than a 130 HP bike from 15 years ago. There is only so much power you can put down on a short wheelbase vehicle before it flips over. However, liter bikes sell based on specs so the manufacturers add power every redesign and then fit electronics to dial that power back down to the limits dictated by physics. Buyers are happy so manufacturers are happy.

  27. Silver says:

    These manufacturers just need to come clean and admit that VVT and the like is just emissions control smoke in mirrors bs. Dyno charts a plenty to prove it.

    • Dave says:

      Is this VVT, or two position? I’m under the impression that what is found in motorcycles is very different from what’s been done in cars.

      Solid cams are part of the reason why a 600cc I4 can make 110ho, but be gutless up to 7-8krpm and achieve terrible fuel mileage.

    • Tom R says:

      Goodness, that’s a healthy dose of cynicism there.

      Even if this was 100% true, isn’t this better than just standing pat and letting performance suffer in the wake of said emissions requirements?

      • Silver says:

        Vvt and similar systems are a good thing for emissions compliance.

        What’s not good are companies like Ducati making false claims that it add power all over the rev range. We’ve known this for years by looking at the car industry, it doesn’t do jack except lower emissions. It also adds weight and complamexity oh and COST too

        • Dave says:

          Today’s engines have broader power curves, higher peak power, better efficiency and greater longevity than older engines, despite efficiency hindering emissions standards. VVT is absolutely a contributor to this.

  28. John says:

    Interesting. Can’t quite make out what initiates the shift of the camshaft – is there a servo that changes the selectors or is it hydraulically actuated with a valve? Either way it’ll be neat to see what the power curve looks like when someone gets one of these on a dyno.

    • Max says:

      Hopefully it’s a more linear power transfer than the Honda system.

    • Bob K says:

      It appears that a servo will move a nub that fits in the tracks of the shift gate. Since the gate and cam are 1 piece and rotate together, that nub in the tracks is doing the mechanical moving. A very simple system. And it allows the transition from one lobe to the other to happen only on the base circle. I’m kind of disappointed that they also didn’t create this for the exhaust side.
      .
      The power exists so that the ECU can soften the transition and make it feel seamless and even show it on the dyno. All it takes is the ECU to momentarily and variably control the throttle plate position, fuel delivery rate and alter ignition timing. Then there’s no worry of being an abrupt power boost like on the Honda VTEC on the VFR800 or like the “hit” of a 2 stroke dirt bike.