By Ron Lieback
BMW 1800cc Prototype Boxer Teased
Earlier this year, BMW Motorrad commissioned Custom Works Zon out of Japan to build a custom motorcycle using a prototype 1800cc boxer engine.
BMW is hush on the details, but BMW did report that its a prototype of a “completely new boxer engine.” The design is vintage, and looks to retain the air/oil-cooled design that’s used on the modern 1250 boxer engine in the R 1250 GS and R 1250 RT.
The Custom Works Zon creation – titled the “Departed” – was unveiled earlier this month at the Hot Rod Custom Show in Yokohama, Japan.
Could this be BMW’s first step into creating a throw-back model, something that Indian and Harley-Davidson are known for? The engine and its 1960’s design definitely looks the part. It’ll be interesting to see where this prototype ends up.
For now, here is some official information about the prototype and custom bike from a BMW Motorrad press release:
Custom Works Zon was founded by Yuichi Yoshizawa and Yoshikazu Ueda in the prefecture of Shiga in 2003, and is well-known for its exceptional creations.
The custom builders are regularly invited to well-known shows in the customizer scene such as “Mama Tried Show” in Milwaukee, “The Hand Built Motorcycle Show” in Austin, and the “Brooklyn Invitational”. The small workshop has lots of prizes and awards on its shelves – clear evidence of the builders’ skill, craftsmanship and distinctive style.
Yuichi Yoshizawa was thrilled to collaborate with BMW Motorrad: “It was a great honor and a challenge to be able to build a motorcycle around the prototype of such a spectacular new boxer engine for one of the most tradition-steeped manufacturers.”
There was a lot of speculation at the show about the prototype engine. The external geometry and visible elements such as the push rods running above the cylinders in chrome-plated protection ducts recall BMW Motorrad boxer engines that were built until the late 1960s – but with an evidently larger capacity and a modern air/oil cooling. Further details about the engine and its possible future use will be communicated at a later point in time.
ZON’s distinctive style can be clearly recognized: classic styling, modern production techniques and a wealth of craftsmanship in the detail – all produced to very highest Japanese quality standards.
The very low silhouette of the bike is reminiscent of Ernst Henne’s record-breaking machines of the late 1920s and 1930s. The large 21-inch front and 26-inch rear wheels are milled of aluminum and fitted with relatively narrow tires, while the girder fork was also made of solid aluminum.
The rear swinging arm is made of steel pipe and attached to the tubular space frame by means of concealed suspension. The large-volume engine is suspended in this frame structure reinforced with grid tubes. Meanwhile the fitted fuel tank, seat unit and front trim are crafted by hand from sheet metal.
This spectacular custom bike by Custom Works Zon in collaboration with BMW Motorrad created a huge buzz in the scene, earning the prestigious “Best of Show Motorcycle” award which is regarded the highest honor at this year’s Hot Rod Custom Show.
The Mooneyes Show – as it is called in the customizer scene – was being held for the 27th time in Yokohama, Japan. It attracts at least 15,000 spectators every year despite the fact it lasts only one day. Car and motorcycle custom builders from all over the world present their creations, with a total of nearly 300 cars and 650 motorcycles and there are also numerous dealer stands.