It is not uncommon to see BMWs of the two-wheeled variety, even cops are riding them now in several states. It is, however, more unusual to see a BMW bike without an engine. Unknown to most, BMW does have nearly 60 years of bicycle building in its past.
Nearly three-quarters of all Germans ride bicycles on a regular basis. Yes, the home of the Autobahn and horsepower galore is also home to a large collection of pedal-pushers. As an innovator in the automotive and motorcycle fields, BMW knows a few things about making machines in general. Couple that with a long history of racing and manufacturing components out of the latest and greatest materials, and you have a recipe for fantastic two-wheeled performers.
Most serious cyclists will scoff at the idea of a car company building bikes. Showing up to a club ride with a BMW bike will get you the same arrogant elitist laugh a Volkswagen GTI driver gets showing up to a BMW club track day. Regardless, some of the bikes built by car manufacturers have been quite good in the past. Without testing, we can't say conclusively that these new BMWs are great rides, but we wouldn't bet against it.
The most serious offering is the BMW M Carbon Racer, this is the first bike to wear the M badge and the specs hint that it deserves it. A full carbon fiber frame and fork allows provides a stiff frame that transfers all of the rider's power to the ground. While being lighter and more rigid than steel or aluminum, the woven material will actually damp high-frequency vibrations for a more comfortable ride. The M Carbon Racer uses full Shimano Ultegra components for many miles of fast road use. BMW claims the bike weighs in at 16 pounds, but it doesn't specify a frame size or if that is with or without pedals. For those of you who aren't familiar with cycling, high-end road bikes generally don't include pedals, consequently they are excluded from weights.
For the off-roaders out there, BMW is offering two models of mountain bikes: The Cross-Country and the Enduro. Both bikes feature aluminum frames and full suspension. The Cross-Country has 100 mm of suspension travel both front and rear while the Enduro has 140mm in the rear four-link suspension and 145 mm in the front fork. Both use Fox forks so servicing at local bike shops won't be an issue. BMW has chosen Shimano Deore XT components, hydraulic disc brakes and BMW's own adjustable stem.
For the less-serious riders out there, two models of commuter bikes are being offered: the Cruise and Touring.
The Cruise resembles an adult-sized BMX bike that will take riders back to the days of the PK Ripper, but with shifting. Oversized hydroformed aluminum tubing is welded together to form a durable yet lightweight frame that uses a front suspension fork to smooth out rough roads. The Touring uses the same frame but it is coated in Glossy Chocolate paint and features gold hardware accents. While the Cruise is meant for high-speed commuting, the Touring was designed with "Maximum comfort and modern design in mind" claims BMW. Both bikes are available in four sizes and are sure to look great on the road, or more likely, leaning up against the wall in your hip downtown loft.
The bikes will start making their way on to BMW's accessory site on June of this year. No pricing has been released yet but BMW bikes of the past of typically started north of the thousand-dollar mark. BMW also offers a full line of bike racks and accessories to compliment their bikes.