A LONG time ago, some 80 years in fact, BMW presented the BMW R 5 to the international public – an exciting new technological development that was to influence motorcycle construction right through to the 1950s. Inspired by the 500 cc factory racing machine of 1935, it was one of the groundbreaking sports motorbikes of the late 1930s with its newly designed light frame.
Now, to mark the 80th anniversary of the BMW R 5, BMW Motorrad is honouring this icon at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este 2016 with a special model: the BMW R 5 Hommage.
The BMW R 5 Hommage translates the essence of motorcycling into the modern era, combining the world of historical motorcycle design with the modern world of custom bikes.
At its core there is an original 500 cc Two-cylinder engine provided by motorcycle enthusiast Sebastian Gutsch. This boxer engine was damaged in a race and provided the starting point for creating the BMW R 5 Hommage.
As befits a custom bike, the homage bike was elaborately hand-crafted from scratch. Ronny and Benny Noren were called upon to produce the parts according to the specifications of the BMW Motorrad Design Team: the two brothers have been building tailor-made customer bikes for more than 30 years.
The result is impressive: even from a distance the proportions convey the timeless beauty of a consistent reduction to the essentials – entirely true to the spirit of the R 5 – and translate this idea into the modern age.
The frame and fuel tank echo the elegant drop shape of the original, though in a more modern, streamlined interpretation.
The steering head is slightly more tilted, for example, so as to give the R 5 Hommage greater presence and expressive stance while at the same time underscore the fact that it belongs to the customer bike world.
Together the frame and fuel tank draw a continuous line from the steering head to the rear wheel hub, giving the side view a touch of elegance. The handmade steel rearfender perpetuates the minimalistic layout.
The leading edge of the forkcovers echoes the “crease” on the breastplate and valve covers with a suggested interpretation of the typical “R 5 rib”. The brake and clutch levers activated from the bar-end likewise blend the past with state-of-the-art technology: these custom-made components combine the look of historical reversed levers with the adjustment options of modern controls.
Exquisite custom craftsmanship: supercharger, exhaustpipes and suspension. And the colour: classic BMW style yet still a true custom bike.