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Thread: New BMW Water-Cooled Boxer

  1. #31
    Cannonball Rider #52 darrylri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by schlitzohr View Post
    Not that I want to participate in this discussion, but has it escaped your attention that the 911 has been water-cooled for quite some time now? For reference, look at the company who arguably makes the best motorcycle engines in the world - Honda.
    Count the air-cooled versions they offer.
    That's DBrick's point, exactly. Porsche's customers are so hidebound that they wouldn't buy a Porsche with an engine that was designed explicitly to make use of water cooling; Porsche's engineers were forced to go back and adapt an air cooled design to water cooling, in order to be able to sell them.

    The BMW boxer motor has several design advantages, but they're not in use any more. Cylinders sticking into the wind for air cooling aren't needed when the motor is water cooled; 180 degree primary balance doesn't matter when you've got a balance shaft inside; low CG can now be obtained by leaning the cylinders of an inline 4 way over (and get even more weight on the front tire).

    In the meantime, the disadvantages of a boxer motor are weighing ever more heavily: limited lean angle, which can only be fixed by moving the engine up in the frame, raising the CG; extra weight by having essentially completely separate cylinders and heads that can't share weight or components.

    It is often said that the success of the original BMW motorcycle design was based on the fact that, more than any one component, it was designed a logical progression of pieces that worked together. The longitudinal boxer that allowed great cooling fit with the automotive style dry clutch and clean, reliable driveshaft. The double cradle frame on the original R32 didn't look like the bicycle frames that other manufacturers were adapting to motors.

    I've never owned a BMW that wasn't a boxer, I really like them. But buidling a water cooled boxer doesn't make design sense, it only makes marketing sense.

    If they're a good bike, however, I'll probably get one eventually (when I wear out my R12ST).
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  2. #32
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    Not that I have ridden a lot of bikes, but radiator heat is a big concern for me. I very rarely ever feel the heat off the boxer. I can not say that about any watercooled bikes I have ridden. How about the F800, do you feel the heat? That was a common complaint on the K bikes, it it certainly was on the last Honda I rode.

    Hard to know about the heat on a test ride.

    Rod

  3. #33
    rabid reader dbrick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by schlitzohr View Post
    Not that I want to participate in this discussion, but has it escaped your attention that the 911 has been water-cooled for quite some time now?
    I didn't mention the 911 because of its original air-cooling. What the 911 has that's a challenge for the engineers is a motor that hangs out *aft* of the rear axle. It is not easy to create good handling with this sort of weight distribution. Porsche is stuck with dealing with this layout, just as BMW appears stuck with a boxer twin.
    David Brick
    Santa Cruz CA
    2007 R1200R

  4. #34
    rabid reader dbrick's Avatar
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    Darrylri and I actually started this discussion yesterday over lunch.

    Quote Originally Posted by DarrylRi View Post
    That's DBrick's point, exactly. Porsche's customers are so hidebound that they wouldn't buy a Porsche with an engine that was designed explicitly to make use of water cooling.
    Close. I thought the Porsche crowd wouldn't buy an engine that wasn't hung out the rear, not an engine that was water-cooled. Turns out they *will* buy a car with a water-cooled engine, but only if the engine is hung out the back (like the 911), but not if the engine is out front (like the 924, 944, and 928).

    Quote Originally Posted by DarrylRi View Post
    The BMW boxer motor has several design advantages, but they're not in use any more. Cylinders sticking into the wind for air cooling aren't needed when the motor is water cooled; 180 degree primary balance doesn't matter when you've got a balance shaft inside; low CG can now be obtained by leaning the cylinders of an inline 4 way over (and get even more weight on the front tire).

    In the meantime, the disadvantages of a boxer motor are weighing ever more heavily: limited lean angle, which can only be fixed by moving the engine up in the frame, raising the CG; extra weight by having essentially completely separate cylinders and heads that can't share weight or components.

    It is often said that the success of the original BMW motorcycle design was based on the fact that, more than any one component, it was designed a logical progression of pieces that worked together. The longitudinal boxer that allowed great cooling fit with the automotive style dry clutch and clean, reliable driveshaft. The double cradle frame on the original R32 didn't look like the bicycle frames that other manufacturers were adapting to motors.

    I've never owned a BMW that wasn't a boxer, I really like them. But buidling a water cooled boxer doesn't make design sense, it only makes marketing sense.
    Exactly.
    David Brick
    Santa Cruz CA
    2007 R1200R

  5. #35
    Registered User lkchris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbrick View Post
    Porsche is stuck with dealing with this layout, just as BMW appears stuck with a boxer twin.
    AND inline 6s for cars.

    V6 provides much better packaging and safety.
    Kent Christensen
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    '12 R1200RT, '02 R1100S, '84 R80G/S

  6. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by ragtoplvr View Post
    How about the F800, do you feel the heat?
    Yes

  7. #37
    Registered User MOTOR31's Avatar
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    Talking

    Wow, so BMW has finally started to catch up to the Subaru and Gold Wing engine designs........... welcome to the 20th century...........

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  8. #38
    Registered User mneblett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ANDYVH View Post
    and what look to be the mounting lugs for the engine to the frame.
    I saw where you've recognized this as a top view; just adding that those appear to be the same lugs used for the oil/hexhead Telelever pivot and upper frame pyrymid mounting

    Quote Originally Posted by schlitzohr View Post
    and the water jackets only reach up to the second cooling fin, that's why the extensive presence of fins.
    ?? Basis? Looks like the water feed passages extend from the center of the case all the way to the heads -- exactly where the water needs to be, particularly around the exhaust ports. On the other hand, I could understand if the water jacket only extends *down* to the second cylinder fin, as no water cooling is needed below where the top of the piston descends (i.e., the bottom of the combustion chamber).

    Quote Originally Posted by macfly View Post
    They should have spent a little more time designing the motor for not just efficiency, but for the pleasure of the eye of the enthusiast. They could at least have made a nicer job of covering it with tightly spaced finning so it wouldn't look like such a hideous lump.
    What do you think of the 1100/1150/1200 boxers? This doesn't strike me as any more or less aesthetically pleasing than those.

    Quote Originally Posted by lkchris View Post
    AND inline 6s for cars.

    V6 provides much better packaging and safety.
    There's where I have to disagree. There's no question the V-6 is definitely better for packaging. However, the "character" of the straight 6 is entirely different, and much more pleasing than a V-6 to an enthusiast, so this isn't all about being hide-bound to tradition.

    Like BMW, Mercedes used to use renowned straight 6's, and shifted to V-6's. What was lost in the translation was the incredibly silky smoothness and responsiveness of the Mercedes straight 6. I was fortunate to own one of the last straight 6 Benzes, the 2.8L in the first generation C Class -- a truely lovely motor. When they went to the V-6, IMO the car became completely soul-less -- just another body-hauling sedan with a few nice conveniences. My point is that the BMW customer demand for the straight 6 is not simply the result of "tradition" -- the engines really do feel "special."
    Mark Neblett
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  9. #39
    larrysb
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    Quote Originally Posted by lkchris View Post
    AND inline 6s for cars.

    V6 provides much better packaging and safety.
    But the inline 6 provides a much smoother engine. The inline 6 is intrinsically balanced. The V6 on the other hand, is a shaky jake, and needs stuff like balance shafts to get it reasonably smooth enough for a luxury car.

    So there is a technical reason for the straight 6.

  10. #40
    Certifiable User Mike_Philippens's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by macfly View Post
    Exactly, those of us who love the BMW twin love it because of what it is, we are the 'Tradionalists' so to really appeal to us you have to make it look great
    Define 'look great'...
    I really don't like the R1200RT with it's edgy design. But then again...a lot of modern bikes have that kind of shape which is a design trend. I don't like that. But I didn't buy my R850RT for it's looks either. There are bikes that I like better.

    Design and looks are very personal. I also think that 'traditionalists' are very selective. They tend to arbitrarily pick an item that they seem to like and set the calendar to 0 at that point. Everything that comes after that is no good. Why not set the first BMW as the benchmark?

    Fact is that BMW has to use new techniques and be innovative, otherwise they'll go out of business. It's not so long ago that BMW was regarded as an old-fashioned company with old-fashioned bikes for old folks. Look where they are now: they've got the best selling motorcycle in the world with the R-GS and the RT is also a big seller (in Holland it is, together with the GS). The RR is also a hit, as is the F-GS. I also believe they got a very good offroad/enduro with the G450X (don't know how good it sells) so you can say that BMW is a very 'hip' company now. That's because they are innovative and know how to market the products.
    Being that succesful is quite extraordinary when you consider that they operate in the premium segment. The GS and RT are among the most expensive bikes and the local dealer here says they're selling like they're for free...
    -=- if you always see the road ahead of you, it's not worth the trip -=-

  11. #41
    Registered User RINTY's Avatar
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    I think BMW will do just fine with liquid cooled boxers. They'll need to look good, and not be too heavy, but that shouldn't be a problem.

    I just wish they'd subcontract the external design work to Ital Design.
    Rinty

    "When you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there."

  12. #42
    wanderer
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    I too think BMW will do just fine with a water cooled Boxer.

    I hope they will take advantage of a new engine to rething how they design and package the R bikes. I hope they get bact to their roots where bikes we under 500lbs...some where well under that.

    I hope they also make their bike toward a more average human scale...ie the average male/female rider of 5'5' to 5' 10" can sit on the bike with their feet flat on the ground. This would help their sales IMO...and make the bikes more of a pleasure to own.

    I also think they should work hard to get their center of gravity lower like the had in the days of the R100s etc. This would make the bike more agile at speed and less top heavy
    .
    This means the GS bikes an the road bike would really have different frames

  13. #43
    Registered User mpmarty's Avatar
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    I seriously doubt that the vasserbeemer will be lighter than current models. CG issues don't bother me all that much and my 06RT is low enough with stock suspension for me to duck-walk it around the shop now and then. I can flat foot it at intersections and I'm only 5'8".
    Marty - in the western Oregon mountains.'06RT, (gone '04RT, '86 Venture Royal, '81 Yamaha Virago920, '82Suzuki GS1100GK, '76 Suzuki GT750, Triumph 750 Bonneville, BSA Road Rocket 650, 61" Harley knucklehead)

  14. #44
    Registered User mneblett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobzeliff View Post
    I hope they also make their bike toward a more average human scale...ie the average male/female rider of 5'5' to 5' 10" can sit on the bike with their feet flat on the ground. This would help their sales IMO...and make the bikes more of a pleasure to own.

    I also think they should work hard to get their center of gravity lower like the had in the days of the R100s etc. This would make the bike more agile at speed and less top heavy
    I believe you can see this already starting to happen -- the current bikes are become lighter than their predecessors (the different between the R12RT and the R11x0RT is frankly, amazing), the CG's are getting lower (witness the K-wedge bikes' 55 degree forward cylinder bank cant), and the seat heights are starting to get lower (the K16GTL's 29.5" seat is nice for the inseam challenged).
    Mark Neblett
    Fairfax, VA
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  15. #45
    Cannonball Rider #52 darrylri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobzeliff View Post
    I hope they will take advantage of a new engine to rething how they design and package the R bikes. I hope they get bact to their roots where bikes we under 500lbs...some where well under that.
    I don't understand what you mean. Have a look at this link, for example:
    http://www.motorcycle-usa.com/26576/...MW-R1200R.aspx

    The R1200R weighs 437 lbs. dry. That's about what my 1981 R65 weighs, and less than my 1975 R90S.

    The same source,
    http://www.motorcycle-usa.com/26714/...W-R1200GS.aspx
    says that the GS weighs 447 lbs. dry.

    I hope they also make their bike toward a more average human scale...ie the average male/female rider of 5'5' to 5' 10" can sit on the bike with their feet flat on the ground. This would help their sales IMO...and make the bikes more of a pleasure to own.
    Try out the R12R, it's pretty low to the ground. I have a 30" inseam and can easily flatfoot that bike. Not everyone has to own a GSA.

    I also think they should work hard to get their center of gravity lower like the had in the days of the R100s etc. This would make the bike more agile at speed and less top heavy.
    Read my posting above. The engines have to be higher up in order to get more lean angle. It's the nature of a longitudinal boxer motor. I don't think there's any way that BMW is going to give up what precious lean angle they have.
    --Darryl Richman, forum liaison
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