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Thread: Does BMW Make the Ugliest Line of Motorcycles?

  1. #1
    Steve
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    Does BMW Make the Ugliest Line of Motorcycles?

    Now, I realize that beauty is--to an extent--subjective. But I was just looking at my R1200R and I noticed that other than the chrome on the exhaust, there is nothing done purely for aesthetics. Nothing. Everything is purposeful. It's engineering as art. That's typical BMW: they have a disregard for the looks of their bikes bordering on disdain.

    The polar opposite is Harley where everything is about the look. If you read the descriptions of their bikes on their web page, it's all about what they look like. It's almost an afterthought that they can be ridden.

    Keep in mind that I've only owned BMWs. And that's all that I probably ever will own. So I like the purposefulness and disregard for frivolity. But, from the top to the bottom of the line, I suspect that BMW comes in last in motorcycle beauty contests.

  2. #2
    Cannonball Rider #52 darrylri's Avatar
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    As you describe it, it sounds beautiful to me. No chrome to polish, just get on it and ride. I can't see most of that stuff when I'm riding, anyway.
    --Darryl Richman, forum liaison
    http://darryl.crafty-fox.com

  3. #3
    univers zero tessler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockbottom View Post
    Now, I realize that beauty is--to an extent--subjective. But I was just looking at my R1200R and I noticed that other than the chrome on the exhaust, there is nothing done purely for aesthetics. Nothing. Everything is purposeful. It's engineering as art. That's typical BMW: they have a disregard for the looks of their bikes bordering on disdain.

    The polar opposite is Harley where everything is about the look. If you read the descriptions of their bikes on their web page, it's all about what they look like. It's almost an afterthought that they can be ridden.

    Keep in mind that I've only owned BMWs. And that's all that I probably ever will own. So I like the purposefulness and disregard for frivolity. But, from the top to the bottom of the line, I suspect that BMW comes in last in motorcycle beauty contests.
    Couldn't disagree with you more.

    As an artist and designer, sure I've seen lovelier things than a K1200LT, but I find Ultra Classic Electra Glides and Street Glides (IMO) to be about the homeliest, most out-of-date looking things I can possibly imagine. Followed closely by the Victory Vision, Kawi Concours, the new Multistrada. (Maybe I just have a problem with touring bikes... ).

    Just my opinion, but as a consumer, I not only value the function behind what BMW designers offer the public, but their aesthetic decisions as well. Of course beauty is all in the eye of the beholder.

  4. #4
    moose738
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    Smile Not so bad!

    My opinion is that Beemer 'looks' peaked during the airhead era. Nevertheless, there are certainly more recent good looking bikes. The R1100/1150RS,
    R1100/1150RT, K1200R, and R1150R are some of my favorites. The R1200RT and R1200R will take some getting used to.

    Chrome has never appealed to me. Has nothing to do with the additional polishing work that might be required. The brushed aluminum look works for me. I also don't think that jammin' a huge V-twin into a bike looks all that appealing. Back in the day when V-twins were much smaller it made more sense. Now it looks oversized and the rear cylinder head is competimg for space with your zipper.

    Now if BMW could just come up with a new roadster that had the visual appeal of the old airheads, I would be tempted to update my /7.

    my 2 cents, JO

  5. #5
    advrider.com
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    I've seen uglier..

  6. #6
    Cage Rattler wezul's Avatar
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    Form follows function.
    With that in mind, I think all BMW's are beautiful.
    I can appreciate Harleys but I wouldn't own one.
    Personal taste is what makes the world turn.
    Otherwise it's all vanilla.
    Not that I don't like vanilla!

  7. #7
    Seeking Mental Floss
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    While, perhaps, not the most aesthetically conscious bikes around, I like most of the BMW models, and loved the looks of my 05 RT. You want ugly? Try the Victory Vision. Looks like they designed a motorcycle while having dreams about Bozo the Clown!

  8. #8
    Registered User indawin's Avatar
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    Look at BMW
    Expensive with no chrome parts
    Go buy a Harley
    Tom
    Plantation, Fl

  9. #9
    It is what it is. Bud's Avatar
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    The last good looking bike they made was the R 1100 RT.




    Everything else is just plain butt ugly. ...................
    Last edited by Bud; 08-14-2010 at 02:53 PM.
    I used to post here, but now I don't.

  10. #10
    TravelsWithBarley.com
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    BMWs are designed by engineers. Cruisers are designed by marketing.

    Beautiful to me is a bike that extends my riding season by being able to handle really nasty New England weather.
    '07 R1200GS for solo rides
    '10 R1200GSA with Hannigan dual sport sidecar for rides with Barley

  11. #11
    Registered User lkchris's Avatar
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    BMW does cutting edge styling while everybody else is a follower.

    Lots of times a new model looks odd, but eventually it becomes the styling leader others hasten to copy.

    Tell me how much Honda Accords look like E60 BMWs.
    Kent Christensen
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    '12 R1200RT, '02 R1100S, '84 R80G/S

  12. #12
    Small road corner junkie pffog's Avatar
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    The most important appearance is the one from behind the handlebars.

    That said I get complements and thumbs up all the time from riders and non riders.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  13. #13
    Steve
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    But isn't this like the fact that no one thinks their own kids are ugly?

    I used to get compliments on my F800ST, but I'd also get people asking what's up with the hump.

  14. #14
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    Sure, "styling" and the looks it creates are perceived different and judgement is subjective.
    Now consider that there is a significant generation gap between those who work in styling departments and those who are the majority of BMW buyers.

  15. #15
    MAYLETT
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    German aesthetics are highly influenced by the Bauhaus school of design that existed in Germany between the World Wars. If you're not familiar with the Bauhaus, its designers, artists and architects pretty much set the stage for all modern design that we take for granted today ÔÇö everything from steel and glass skyscrapers to typography to freeway overpasses.

    It's a highly industrial, minimalist and practical aesthetic founded upon the notion that form should follow function. In other words, decoration is discouraged in favor of the object's beauty being the result of its functional and structural elements.

    Chrome plating, for example, is not part of this aesthetic unless the chrome plating serves a functional purpose. This aesthetic view, however, most definitely does not neglect "looks" in favor of engineering. Instead, the premise is that an object's beauty should be derived from and should not be separated from its function, and that doing so actually lessens the beauty of the object and risks compromising its function.

    Viewed from this Bauhaus aesthetic, Harley Davidsons, for example, might be regarded as aesthetically inferior. Instead of HDs obtaining their beauty through the skillful synthesis of form and function, the traditional HD look is merely a non-functional, decorative veneer of chrome, fancy paint, styled noise and cartoonish affectations applied to a functionally compromised motorcycle.

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