Timo Resch is charged with driving BMW’s entry into the Cruiser segment forward, and outlines his strategy for doing so, while remaining true to BMW’s way of doing things
Timo Resch, 44, has been the VP Sales & Marketing at BMW Motorrad since joining it from the car division in May 2017, and will be the man responsible for piloting BMW’s return to the Cruiser market for the first time in two decades, since the last R1200C was sold new in 2000. The chance to sit down with him in Austin, Texas on the eve of Revival Cycles’ unveiling of their BMW Spaceframe Custom built around the new BMW Big Twin engine, yielded some key facts about BMW’s crucial future planning to enter this sector.
AC: Timo, in order for the Revival Birdcage to exist it had to have a BMW engine, and the Big Twin motor you’ve given them is a BMW Boxer engine not like the others! When did you start working on it?
TR: To build any new model from scratch usually takes between four and six years. These are still prototype engines that we have given to the customisers, so we’ve been working on this engine design for a couple of years.
AC: With the idea of entering the Custom bike market?
TR: Of entering the Cruiser Touring market, and doing that in an authentic way that is true to the BMW brand. So, we decided to enter it through the area of customisation, and I think we’ve done that successfully with the R Nine T, which was a bike that was first shown as a Concept showbike, which we then brought to the marketplace. We had a lot of interest in it from the Custom scene, so we first let the customisers work on it, and then later on we as BMW Motorrad joined in, and started offering what today is known as Option 719, which is an ex-works Custom bike that you can order directly from our factory, or from the dealer.
AC: Nevertheless, the R Nine T used an existing Boxer engine, whereas in this case you’ve got a Big Twin motor that doesn’t look like anything else before, beyond the fact that it has two horizontally opposed cylinders! By definition, in a Custom bike or a Cruiser the engine is a focal point of the design. Did you consider making a V-twin like almost everyone else in this market segment – perhaps taking a lesson from Triumph’s failed attempt to impose their trademark parallel-twin engine concept in this sector?
TR: No, we didn’t think seriously about doing a V-twin. In the beginning lots of ideas were floating around, but we thought that if we are to enter this segment at all, we have to do it in a way that’s 100% authentic to BMW. So if you look at the history and the DNA of BMW Motorrad, there was no question that it has to be a horizontally opposed Boxer twin.
AC: But you’d already tried that route with the R1200C some time ago, which was not outstandingly successful despite your retaining the Boxer engine format for it. Isn’t it a risk to persevere with such an engine this time around, too?
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