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BMW’s Concept 101 – The German Firm’s “Perfect Embodiment of American Touring”



BMW has announced the unveiling of its Concept 101 motorcycle at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este in Italy today. The head of design for BMW Motorrad calls the Concept 101 “the epitome of elegance, power and luxury on two wheels.”

101 refers to the cubic inch capacity (1,649 cc) of the six-cylinder engine, as well as Highway 101 in California near the BMW design center.

Here is the press release from BMW:

Munich/Cernobbio. Every year, the most impressive representatives of the mobile past and future on both two and four wheels assemble at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este for a very special get-together on the shores of Lake Como. Amid this extraordinary blend of the traditional and the contemporary, BMW Motorrad once again presents a breathtaking concept study: the BMW Motorrad “Concept 101”.

“The Concept 101 opens up a new chapter in the history of our concept bikes. It is the BMW Motorrad interpretation of endless highways and the dream of freedom and independence – the perfect embodiment of “American touring”. Designing this big touring bike study was amazingly exciting for us because we haven’t been involved with a motorcycle concept like this before. To me, the Concept 101 is the epitome of elegance, power and luxury on two wheels,” says Edgar Heinrich, Head of BMW Motorrad Design, describing the character of the concept bike.

The epitome of power and exclusivity.

The name “Concept 101” indicates the capacity of the concept bike, which has its roots in the USA. The capacity of the six cylinders is 1,649 cc – approximately equivalent to 101 cubic inches, which is the American unit of measurement for cylinder capacity. So the “Concept 101” moves into a sphere that goes beyond mere horsepower and acceleration figures – all that counts is the remarkable riding experience full of power and tranquillity. The enormous torque of the in-line 6-cylinder engine generates extraordinary pulling power in every situation on the road.

The number 101 also stands for the place where the vehicle came into being. It was not far from Highway 101, at the design studios of the BMW Group subsidiary Designworks in Newbury Park, California, that the BMW Motorrad designers got together with their Designworks colleagues to create a truly special motorcycle that would extend the limits of quality and exclusivity and reflect a whole new touring philosophy: “We had a clear vision when we were designing the bike: under the motto “The Spirit of the Open Road” we wanted to build a high-performance, emotional and highly exclusive 6-cylinder vehicle that would make every ride a special experience. A bike that would make the moment so special, you would forget your destination,” explains Ola Stenegard, Head of Vehicle Design BMW Motorrad.


This vision is expressed in the BMW interpretation of a “bagger” – an exclusive type of custom bike especially popular in the USA. The very elongated and streamlined silhouette is especially striking from a distance. Unlike the low front section and the high rear of supersports motorcycles, the BMW Motorrad “Concept 101” has a drop-shaped silhouette that is typical of baggers, reaching the highest point at the front trim. Below this, the large front wheel appears to pull the flat, stretched silhouette behind it. At the same time, the characteristic styling of the bike visually suggests a forward urge. Two side cases integrated in streamlined form add the final touch of a quintessential bagger.

Precision and emotion.

The consistent flow of the lines from the front to the rear symbolises the riding experience offered by the “Concept 101”. Within the flowing silhouette, clear lines and elaborately modelled surfaces shape an athletic body. This creates a dynamic contrast between flowing movements and clearly defined lines that further emphasises the bike’s character. The horizontal subdivision into two areas of colour lends greater emphasis to the overall impression of flatness. While the lower section – the powerful mechanical unit – is dark, the upper area has been deliberately designed in lighter colours so as to reflect elegance and finesse.


The dynamically designed front trim in brushed aluminium is flatly integrated into the flow of the styling. The integrated headlamp with striking double circular appearance gives the front section a distinct and highly expressive look. It also provides the point of departure for the characteristic split face which runs across the entire bike through to the rear in the form of a brushed aluminium trim section. Two striking side panels encase the front trim almost like a suit of armour, thereby creating a broad shoulder section which further highlights the power of the “Concept 101”. Tailpipes on both sides, each with three outlets, visualise the number of cylinders and therefore the supreme performance and high torque of the engine. They also ensure the appropriate sound, making the potential of the 6-cylinder engine audible.

The rear view harmoniously rounds off the bike’s overall visual impression. A particular highlight is the unusual rear light cluster. It provides a frame for the dark-coloured rear section in the form of two LED bands. The design of the lights is formally reminiscent of former road cruisers. At the same time the expressive appearance grants a fascinating technical and aesthetic style.


High performance, high tech, high value.

The entire design of the “Concept 101” right through to the colours and materials used reflects power, contemporary flair and exclusive appeal. The side trim parts and cases feature an elaborate two-colour finish: a light silver surrounds the surface while the inner section is a somewhat darker silver with more of a metallic effect. The two areas are separated by a line marking applied by hand. The paint finish also includes a shadow effect which gives the manually applied line marking greater depth towards the inside. The dynamic front trim adds a touch of cool, technical style with its unpainted, brushed aluminium. The aluminium’s modern, technological statement is supplemented in the bike’s lower section by means of generous carbon surfaces with a silky gloss.

Amid silver paint surfaces, brushed aluminium and carbon, there are dark wood elements that add a warm, exclusive counterpoint. The elaborately milled wood, only treated with oil, emphasises the horizontal gesture of the side sections with its discreet grain. The model designation is integrated in the wood surfaces as an elaborate aluminium insert and badge. On the seat, two leather qualities further reflect the bike’s exclusive character: the fine-grain black leather of the side sections adds a touch of elegance to complement the perforated black leather of the seat area itself. A brown leather strip separates these two distinct sections.


In cooperation with Roland Sands Design.

The concept bike took concrete shape on the premises of Roland Sands – just under an hour away from Newbury Park amid the heartland of the Los Angeles custom bike scene. In close collaboration with the BMW Motorrad design team, Roland Sands assembled the exclusive parts of the “Concept 101” at his own workshops. BMW Motorrad and the custom bike specialist have worked together successfully for several years, having completed inspiring projects such as the Concept Ninety, for example. Roland Sands’ familiarity with the scene and enormous expertise in custom building combined with the possibilities and history offered by BMW Motorrad make for an exciting partnership. Sands put together the many parts of the BMW Motorrad “Concept 101” in his workshop, elaborately producing individual elements exclusively by hand. As a result, signature machine parts such as the clutch cover, timing chain cover and wheels all bear his logo, discreetly bearing witness to a collaboration that has proved successful for many years. The material finish and technical design are state-of-the-art, thereby reflecting in detail the fundamental BMW Motorrad statement: precision and emotion.


  1. Rich DuBarton says:

    Should we call it Shamu or Pinochio on steriods. What ever happend to the slim light motorcycles that could do it all.

  2. Ed says:

    Other than the mufflers which any self respecting cruiser buyer would change immediately, not a bad looking and totally unique machine.And I like the wood grain I can’t recall ever seeing that on a motorcycle .

  3. Dennis Hill says:

    PLEASE….PLEASE.. review something else and bury this monstrosity

  4. Mike Simmons says:

    Here at BMW ve haf taken advantage of ze layoff of ze designers at Victory und haf put zem to verk here in our schtyling department…. vot do you zink?

  5. Bob L says:

    Yuk! So wrong, in so many ways. My wife always says, “Just because you can…..doesn’t mean you should”.

  6. Frank Malone says:

    It would be real nice if the seat was closer to the ground.
    I like the looks of the machine.

  7. kjazz says:

    Why can’t RSD/BMW just put the Concept 90 (the orange bike) into production….? That thing is awesome looking.

  8. Frank says:

    That is one ugly motorcycle.

  9. joe says:

    I think this is a great looking bike. (would you like to ride my woody?) I would trade my C650GT on this bike.

  10. Modsquad says:

    Whatever happened to beauty?

    • Seth says:

      I wasn’t kidding: in the 5th picture down away from water, the headlight is an insect-head, the front brown panels are arms, the BMW logos are handlebar-ends, so you will be riding a statue of an bug-guy riding.

  11. Mike says:

    Kinda reminds me of a Victory Vision

  12. Mr.Mike says:

    Interesting exercise. The lines suggest it is bending under its own weight. One more iteration and they might have something. Still way better looking than the new Valkyrie.

  13. Skif says:

    Needs a big wood beak.

  14. kjazz says:

    It’s so cute when Germans try to “style” things……

    • Francois says:

      As opposed the “styling” by HD, which is archaic and has not change in 100+ years. Go back to bed.

      This is a beautiful machine. I am a great “opposer” of theK1600GT/L and think it is completely unnecessary to have a bigger engine than a 1300 in a bike (there are people that will probably argue that is too big as well), but there is nothing wrong with it’s style.

    • Dave says:

      German vehicles are some of the most sought after in the world, largely based on their style.

      Important to remember, this is a concept, not a production bike.

  15. Yellowhammer says:

    The most ______ exhaust system I have ever seen.

    (Insert your own adjective from the following list: revolting, repulsive, repellent, repugnant, disgusting, objectionable, abhorrent, loathsome, nauseating, sickening, detestable, execrable, abominable, monstrous, appalling, reprehensible, atrocious, awful, terrible, dreadful, frightful, unsavory, unpalatable, disagreeable, distasteful)

    • Sean says:

      Who usually changes out the exhaust system on their bikes?


      • Snake says:

        Why does everyone say that? Even more importantly, why does everyone DO that?

        I am quite happy to say that I still have the OEM, catalyzed exhaust on my (sportcruiser) bike with no plans to ever change it. I despise loud exhausts and hate loud, dirty exhausts even more. I am happy that the exhaust has a cat and I am satisfied to say that it will be there until the bike meets its end or I sell it, whichever comes first 🙂

    • George Krpan says:

      Yew fergot fugly.

  16. Mechanicuss says:

    So Arlen Ness works for BMW’s styling department now. Dang, we can’t escape from that guy….

  17. takehikes says:

    shape is pretty decent and I hate baggers…..but the paint/woodgrain etc is way off the mark….general feel of it and lines is OK but its still a bagger pile.

  18. skytzo says:

    Take away the wood grain, giant front wheel, cobbled together exhaust, and…nah, it would still be tremendously hideous.

    • Seth says:

      It’s not ugly, it’s actually a model of a silver insect-headed guy with wood arms riding a silver sportsbike!

  19. Tommy D says:

    Honda NM4 and a BMW K1600GT got together one night and out popped the Griswold Wagon Queen Family Motorcycle. I LOVE IT! But then again I have poor taste.

  20. Vrooom says:

    Holy crap that is the ugliest bike I’ve seen in a long time. It’s like they found some sort of ugly potion to make the Victory Vision even worse looking.

  21. Jamo says:

    Gee, it looks just like a Harley Road Glide. Very imaginative.

    I don’t think a motorcycle benefits from six cylinders. A V4 would be nice. Why don’t V4s work? I think they do.

  22. Ricardo says:

    This is the ugliest BMW I have seen so far, no wonder Harley keeps having a lot of success with its bagger models as they continue to look classic and great looking…

  23. Provologna says:

    The more I look at this bike the more attractive it becomes.

    Interesting potential Re. curt weights with full fuel tank followed by fuel consumption:
    2015 BMW K1600GT I-6 1649cc, 703 lbs (+.4g fuel capacity), 52mpg
    2015 Honda F6B Flat-6 1832cc, 844 lbs, 34mpg

    Curious about torque and HP curves, but presume they are similar in spite of Honda’s larger cylinder capacity.

    141 lbs is a lot less weight for the Beemer to brake, lean, and accelerate…

    I dislike super heavyweights, prefering bikes much lighter than my 2000 BMW R1150GS, right around 590 lbs fully fueled. But I might make and exception and take this puppy out for a test ride.

    • Ryan M says:

      That BMW motor makes 160hp and 129ft (70% of which is available at 2500 rpm)

      The Honda makes 118hp and 125ft lbs and weighs 140 pounds more

  24. Michael says:

    Ucging fugley! Why oh why BMW?

  25. harold maxwell says:

    Love it! It will give HD sales some serious competition. I would still keep my other Beemers but that would be in my garage if it were available today!!!

  26. john s says:

    Looks like a 72 Pinto, just a lot fuglier. no thanks

  27. Andy says:

    Wow! Not your father’s BMW for sure. But then, neither was my 1995 R11GS.

  28. Ralph says:

    Clark Griswold to the white courtesy phone, please, Clark Griswold…

    • Philip says:

      Haha! : Ed, I’m not your average everyday fool. Now I want my blue sports wagon and if you can’t get it I’m gonna take my business elsewhere! Where’s my old car?

  29. Yellow says:

    Oh gods… who the hell thought this was a good idea???

  30. Yellow says:

    It better be real wood. Clearly American ‘touring’ is different to touring the rest of the world does.

  31. Auphliam says:

    Damn, that’s nice.

  32. bikerbob says:

    This thing makes a goldwing look lightweight.

  33. Starmag says:

    What? No rack for my surfboard?

  34. Andrew150 says:

    Woodgrain. Really?