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?

  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    Over the years I have considered updating this bike with a newer version of the GS, but the main reason I don't is simply the newer Beemers' style.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
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    Quote Originally Posted by ANDYVH View Post
    BMWs have always had a purpose built look to them, in the realm of form follows function.
    Question about that "form follows function" idea. How does having two front fenders equate to function?

    I've ridden dirt bikes for years and I understand the high front fender. But what possible purpose does that huge plastic protrusion hanging out over the front wheel serve? Other than to be ugly and cause people like me to go on a public forum and make complete fools of themselves complaining about it!

  11. #11
    Cannonball Rider #52 darrylri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hultman View Post
    Question about that "form follows function" idea. How does having two front fenders equate to function?

    I've ridden dirt bikes for years and I understand the high front fender. But what possible purpose does that huge plastic protrusion hanging out over the front wheel serve? Other than to be ugly and cause people like me to go on a public forum and make complete fools of themselves complaining about it!
    It focuses air into the oil cooler and keeps dirt out.
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    http://darryl.crafty-fox.com

  12. #12
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    Regarding the two fenders on the front and the mudguard on the rear:

    I read somewhere that the rear mudguard was to get around a German law which set a maximum clearance between tire and fender which was quite small.

    Assuming this is true, could it explain some of the other weird features on BMW motorcycles?

  13. #13
    celt
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    As others have said, it's all about form vs. function..in my opinion the newer BMW's are great functional machines and I'd love to have a 1200RT for touring someday..

    That said I still love my 77 Airhead which functions well for short haul riding but also has a lil more of that retro "form" .




  14. #14
    Dale Rudolph
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    There must be something about the design of the 1200GS, all the other bike builders are trying to copy the looks of it. The classic K bikes are not really that good looking, but I sure love my 92 K75RT.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Benton629 View Post
    I read somewhere that the rear mudguard was to get around a German law which set a maximum clearance between tire and fender which was quite small.

    Assuming this is true, could it explain some of the other weird features on BMW motorcycles?
    Yeah, that's possible. I heard that it was European law that destroyed the front end design on the Jaguar XK8. And US law banned the covered head lights on the old XKE.

    So we are reminded NEVER to underestimate the stupidity of law makers!

    Still, I find it hard to believe that BMW designers couldn't offer a simplified version of the GS, like the XCountry design, that would make the bike irresistible.

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