Damn I love it.
Inventive engineers have tried time and time again to fulfil the thrilling concept of a straight-six engine in a motorcycle lengthways and across but have never made a genuine breakthrough for road or track machines.
Now, however, BMW's boffins have come up with the Concept 6.
"It's a motorcycle," they claim, "that proves a straight-six, using the most advanced construction and production technology, offers not only unique prestige but also a supreme standard of riding dynamics."
A straight six, while very smooth, made any bike either too long or too wide, upsetting the running gear, weight distribution and centre of gravity and the required strength made it very heavy
The Concept 6 will expand the K-Series very soon with its introduction as a luxurious tourer, the brands top-of-the-line bike.
Reducing the engine's size was the first hurdle. The Concept 6 is, BMW says, about 100mm slimmer than all other straight-sixes and only a little wider than a large-capacity straight-four that uses conventional technology.
The reduction in width is achieved mainly by a slightly over-square bore/stroke ratio with relatively long stroke and very small gaps between the cylinders. The electrical ancillaries and drive components have been placed behind the crankshaft in open space above the transmission.
More weight was shed with hollow camshafts and very light connecting rods.
"The perfect compensation of masses made possible by the configuration of the engine," BMW says, "avoids the need for a balance shaft and its drive elements, which also cuts weight.
The engine is tipped forward by 55 degrees to lower the centre of gravity and, the bikemaker says, improve balance and road feel especially if racing. The angle also makes space for an aerodynamically positioned intake manifold directly above the engine.
The bike has a dry sump so the crankcase can be low and flat far lower than a conventional engine. The oil reservoir is at the rear of the engine block.
The engine will produce about the same power as BMW's 1.3-litre straight-four but torque will be way up with 1.6 engines. The engine offers 130Nm from 2000rpm but can rev to almost 9000 rpm unmatched in the tourer segment and BMW claims fuel consumption will be on par with a four-cylinder given similar running conditions.
The design of the Concept 6 motorcycle focused in particular on the engine at its heart. The bike has a long front and short rear, BMW's appreciation of the café racer of the 1950's and 60's. Powerful body elements with a platinum finish extend around the engine to continue the "full organic integration" of engine with frame.
The fuel tank is made of carbon-fibre, seen by BMW as an exciting contrast to aluminium shell with its white layers, and the head and tail lights use LED technology.
The power of the bike has been underscored with a six-chamber exhaust complete with side pipes; they complement the intake ducts that also have a platinum look.
"Aerodynamic components such as the twin-tipped engine spoiler and the air guide elements derived from the design of the new S1000 RR Supersports," BMW says, "bridge the gap between functional and clearly visible technology and the smooth design of other body elements."
The bike's suspension is hung on a light-alloy bridge frame with Duolever and lightweight Paralever arms holding and guiding the wheels front and rear. HP 17" forged wheels and extra-large brakes with six-piston fixed callipers emphasise the sporting look of the machine.
Instrumentation has been kept "minimal" but tells all the tales that need telling. A digital display performs its usual function of presenting road speed but there is intentionally no rev counter on account of the supreme flow of power at all speeds.
So instead an LED display shows the rider at all times how much torque is readily available whenever required.