View Poll Results: My opinion of current BMW style (Specifically the GS model line)

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  • Ugly to the point I would not buy one

    33 17.37%
  • The style doesn't appeal to me but I would buy one anyway

    21 11.05%
  • Neutral - The current style doesn't matter to me

    43 22.63%
  • Attractive - I like the current style

    93 48.95%
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Thread: Why Ugly BMW's?

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  1. #1
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    Why Ugly BMW's?

    I've been meaning to ask this question for years, but I've been a little out of the BMW loop for a while. I do have a couple "modern" oil heads, but I got rid of my one flying brick and mainly stick to airheads or /2's. My very favorite bike of all time is my R80ST. Daily rider and my all around "best bike in the world" nominee.

    Over the years I have considered updating this bike with a newer version of the GS, but the main reason I don't is simply the newer Beemers' style. For years now, all they offer is the hideous duck bill plastic on the front end of the GS type bikes. Other than the infamous Pontiac Aztec, I consider this the single most horrendous vehicle styling disaster of all time, and it's being done by my favorite motorcycle manufacturer! And they keep doing it!!

    How can this happen? Why did this happen? Is the designer the CEO's favorite nephew?

    And the really sad part is that when a more reasonable design is used, witness the little 650 XCountry, these can be incredibly beautiful bikes. I have often considered buying a Xcountry, but really would prefer a twin.

    And no, I don't ride a motorcycle because of it's looks, but I simply refuse to be seen on something this ugly, and as long as my ST keeps running, I guess that will be my main ride.

    Oh, and one other thing, as long as I'm whining. What is it with the displacement thing? Are we really so dumb as to think that "bigger is always better"? Is this pathetic obsession with size what motorcycle riding is all about?

    A nice little 500 or 600cc twin can do most everything needed for just about any rider. Yet what do we get? Some monster bike with 11,000cc's and enough horsepower to run a battleship.

    There, whining done. I feel better!!

  2. #2
    Registered User Anyname's Avatar
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    When I brought home my 2005 GS, my daughter asked I thought it was a good looking bike. Nope, I bought it in spite of the goofy, transformer looks. On the other hand, the R1200GS is BMW's biggest seller, so I doubt they are in a hurry to change it much.

    Likewise, BMW makes large fast bikes because small slow ones don't sell as well. Efficiency isn't a major factor for most motorcyclists.
    BMW R bike rider, horizontally opposed to everything...

  3. #3
    TravelsWithBarley.com
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    The GS and GSA are the only long distance bikes I know of that are impossible to make any uglier. Big square boxes hanging off the side? No problem. Huge bug-eye lights up front? No change in esthetics. Covered in mud and upside down in the dead roach position? Practically a natural state.

    That's why I love my GS and GSA!
    '07 R1200GS for solo rides
    '10 R1200GSA with Hannigan dual sport sidecar for rides with Barley

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anyname View Post
    On the other hand, the R1200GS is BMW's biggest seller, so I doubt they are in a hurry to change it much.
    Yeah, but think of what they woud sell if their bikes didn't look like they were designed by a deranged Maynard G Krebs on crack!

  5. #5
    04 1150RS bigsur52's Avatar
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    You know,I agree that so many new BMWs are kind of ugly. I plan to stick with my 04 RS until something new comes out that is at least as good looking. I'm still kicking myself for selling my grey 82 RS. Now that was a beatiful bike!!
    "all things in moderation - including moderation"

  6. #6
    Benchwrenching PGlaves's Avatar
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    I think they look fine. They don't all look alike. There is no mistaking a GS for an S1000RR, or a K1600 for and R1200. They all have an odd touch or too, but this is an "eye of the beholder" issue.

    They are certainly not traditional in the true American or metric cruiser tradition - thank goodness - nor are they particularly squidly in the Asian tradition. Much ado is made of headlight design, but with new bulbs and HID setups that is as much function over form as vice versa. Certainly better than earlier H4 cousins.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://www.bigbend.net/users/glaves

  7. #7
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    I'm with Paul on this. BMWs are not, never have been, copy-cat/me-too bikes style wise. Since way back to the 30's BMWs have always had a purpose built look to them, in the realm of form follows function. That in itself can foster its own kind of beauty as the rider "sees" the bike for what it really does, not just what it looks like. Without that viewpoint, no one could explain the sales success of the entire GS line.

    At the other end of that spectrum, are all the goofy proportioned, non-functional, over-done choppers. When you consider their design elements versus what they are really capable of compared to other bikes, they are more art form than funtional. In that art form are far too many compromises as a real motorcycle for me to consider owning/riding one.

    So BMWs are really more of the "beauty in the eye of the beholder". Though, I am hypocritical myself. Because for as good as the R1200ST is, I simply cannot warm up to that mug of a fairing/headlights/windshield. But even that can be restyled.

  8. #8
    Back in the Saddle mcmxcivrs's Avatar
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    While I'm not in love with the styling of some models, I think others are way sexy.

    My F800GS looks just the way it should in my mind. I looks like it wants to be out romping in the dirt and mud and quietly resting afterwards by a campfire in the woods (so I'm obliged to take it there). Its ugly in a good way which is why its named Beast.

    My K1200GT is the antithesis of the GS. Its smooth, sleek and wants to go far, fast; just craves those ashphalt twisties. Great lines and style that's both form and function. The power is not always needed, but sure does give a rush when tapped - great for getting clear of those rolling roadblockers. It's my Beauty.
    Ed Miller, Calgary, AB
    2008 K1200GT, 2009 F800GS
    I can't wait to retire and have a fixed income. The one I have now is always broke.

  9. #9
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    Function over form?

    Yes, the R1100GS I own is not sexy, but it does perform.

    Anyone who has ever seen a Walther LP 400 pistol or SSP pistol knows they are purely for function not form.

  10. #10
    Rpbump USN RET CPO Rpbump's Avatar
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    Smile

    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    I think they look fine. They don't all look alike. There is no mistaking a GS for an S1000RR, or a K1600 for and R1200. They all have an odd touch or too, but this is an "eye of the beholder" issue.

    They are certainly not traditional in the true American or metric cruiser tradition - thank goodness - nor are they particularly squidly in the Asian tradition. Much ado is made of headlight design, but with new bulbs and HID setups that is as much function over form as vice versa. Certainly better than earlier H4 cousins.
    Form & function are key to these bikes. Triumph, Yamaha, Honda, etc are copying the design of GS/GSA bikes closely enough that the old adage "copying is the sincerest form of flattery" rings very true. I do not own one of these bikes as I prefer a bike with a fairing for my touring but enjoyed the handling of the GS when a friend let me take his for a spin.
    Cave Contents: 1980 R100RT/Ural Sidecar, 2004 R1200CLC, 2006 HD FSXTI
    Ride Safe

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigsur52 View Post
    You know,I agree that so many new BMWs are kind of ugly. I plan to stick with my 04 RS until something new comes out that is at least as good looking. I'm still kicking myself for selling my grey 82 RS. Now that was a beatiful bike!!
    Had one!...& me too. Also miss my 84 "CS"..overall my favorite Airhead! Just a neat looking well performing motorcycle.

    However, new technology comes along,..better charging,tubeless tires, better suspension,..and well we're forced to move 'up' if we want that stuff.

    That said though...I do like my R1150R ...for it's looks and performance. Seating was a bit cramped, but did some adjusting, & it is better.

    THAT said...when I had my Airheads, I was younger & more flexable

  12. #12
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    Why does BMW make such ugly motorcycles ?

    No easy answer to that question, I think a lot of things are nice looking while others would beg to differ.
    BMW must be doing something right , at least in the sudo off road market, since everyone and their brother has something today that looks a lot like a BMW in more ways than not.

    Me personally; I like older things, cars, bikes , boats and airplanes. I also prefer women with a certain look of maturity, a bit rubinesqe, a few smile lines and a lot of experience. They need to at least like motorcycles and allow me my passion about them.

    My BMW preference is the Airhead version, simple lines, easy to live with and a personality that talks to me. I don't think I have ever seen an airhead that did not make me look twice and smile.

  13. #13
    Registered User lkchris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hultman View Post
    How can this happen? Why did this happen? Is the designer the CEO's favorite nephew?
    It happens by plan and for good reasons.

    If a new bike isn't shocking it's boring.

    New sells. Old not so much.

    You'll get used to it and eventually like it.

    I recall thinking the R1100S was the ugliest BMW I'd ever seen and called it "the bike with the 5-foot long gas tank." They look OK to me now. Kind of old fashioned quaint, perhaps.

    Most notable example of all this occurred with the "Bangle Butt" BMW cars--everyone hated them at first but eventually they became all time best sellers, copied by many (Honda?).

    This is BMW--other makes will copy them. It won't be the other way around.

    Ducatis look lots wierder than they used to, as well, and they're doing better than ever, too.

    Oh, and the engineering improves, too. BMW doesn't stand still nor regress. If there are some moments of unreliability that should be expected, as BMW is in the cutting edge business and not the refrigerator business. KLRs and Concours are the refrigerators of the motorcycle world but BMW makes more money. They do offer the opportunity to get off the jet plane and back to a train for those ready for that.

    Most of us get old and find the world passing us by a bit--it's nothing to complain about, in reality, and we'll just be ignored in any event. Don't worry, be happy.
    Kent Christensen
    21482
    '12 R1200RT, '02 R1100S, '84 R80G/S

  14. #14
    ONE LESS HARLEY 04r1150rs's Avatar
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    If BMW designed a basic off road motorcycle then they couldn't charge >$20,000 for it. More tech to keep people from working on them like the good old run for ever easily maintained by someone w/ basic mechanical skills airheads.

    When BMW went to CANBUS, is the last time I looked at BMW as a bike I'd buy as this is entering into their car realm which means to me, don't own a BMW after the warranty goes out as it's gonna cost some serious cash to repair.

    While new BMW's maybe for some, not for me as I like to keep things for a long while. I've got two BMW's a R1150RS and G/S, the G/S will be the last to go...if ever.

    If you think about it an old G/S ain't the prettiest bike either, until you own one. It's was designed for a purpose, to be ridden as a DS bike, function over form.
    Richard
    2004 R1150RS
    1984 R80 G/S
    2003 Suzuki DRZ 400S

  15. #15
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    I would say that Richard and i think a lot alike.

    I prefer simple.

    my stable is similar as well.

    '04 R1150RT
    '99 R1100GS
    '77 R100S
    '98 DR350



    Quote Originally Posted by 04R1150RS View Post
    If BMW designed a basic off road motorcycle then they couldn't charge >$20,000 for it. More tech to keep people from working on them like the good old run for ever easily maintained by someone w/ basic mechanical skills airheads.

    When BMW went to CANBUS, is the last time I looked at BMW as a bike I'd buy as this is entering into their car realm which means to me, don't own a BMW after the warranty goes out as it's gonna cost some serious cash to repair.

    While new BMW's maybe for some, not for me as I like to keep things for a long while. I've got two BMW's a R1150RS and G/S, the G/S will be the last to go...if ever.

    If you think about it an old G/S ain't the prettiest bike either, until you own one. It's was designed for a purpose, to be ridden as a DS bike, function over form.
    Somers, NY

    Just enjoying the ride.......

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