Next Generation big-bore BMW Boxer engine
showcased by Japanese Custom Works Zon

BMW recently took quite a strange approach to announcing a new generation prototype of a larger BMW Boxer engine designed to power the German brand into the future.

BMW Boxer Zon
Bigger bore Boxer on the way, apparently…

The company chose to unveil the new donk in a bespoke custom machine put together by Yuichi Yoshizawa and Yoshikazu Ueda in Japan under their ‘Custom Works Zon’ banner. 

BMW Boxer Zon
Yuichi Yoshizawa and Yoshikazu Ueda

Yuichi Yoshizawa

“It was a great honor and a challenge to be able to build a motorcycle around the prototype of such a spectacular new boxer engine for one of the most tradition-steeped manufacturers.”

BMW Boxer Zon
Yuichi Yoshizawa and Yoshikazu Ueda

The latest Boxer

While the Boxer went to four-valves over 25-years ago (1992), it was not until it moved to double overhead cams a decade ago (2009) that it started to really win me over. Three years later, 2012, and the boost to the current 125hp, thanks to the move to water-cooling, the engine really came alive.

For 2019 the engine grew larger in capacity, boosted from 1170cc to 1254cc, via both a longer stroke and an enlarged bore, and gained 9 per cent more power along with 14 per cent more torque thanks to a new variable valve timing system BMW have dubbed Shiftcam.

The latest 1250 Boxer produces, according to BMW, 136 hp (100 kW) at 7750 rpm, and 143 Nm of torque at 6250 rpm. The outgoing model’s numbers were 125 hp and 125 Nm. There is at least 110 Nm of torque available right from as low as 2000 rpm, and over 120 Nm from 3500 rpm in the 2019 generation Boxer. 


Is this really what comes next for the Boxer..?
BMW Boxer Zon
BMW say this is a preview of a new larger Boxer engine

As to the size and performance potential of the next generation, after offering this hint of a taster BMW indicated that further details about the engine and its possible future use will not be communicated until a later point in time.

BMW Boxer Zon
BMW say this is a preview of a new larger Boxer engine

It is almost a back-to-the-future look, at least in this custom machine, but I can’t imagine that it will look anything like this when it enters serial production some time in the future. Could BMW really be suggesting a move back to pushrods and carburettors after just converting the Boxer to variable valve timing? I think not, the only thing we can really take from this, I suspect, is the shape of the new crankcases. 

BMW Boxer Zon
BMW Boxer

Or is this a sign that a new range of cruisers are on the way from BMW? That seems to be the general consensus, with rumours of this mill displacing around 1800cc, and retaining this prototypes pushrod tubes etc. for the retro cruiser look… Could we also see a hot roadster using the big engine, something along the lines of the R nineT Racer perhaps…? 

The custom was designed to hark back to the low slung silhouette of Ernst Henne’s record-breaking machines of the late 1920s and 1930s.

BMW Boxer Zon
BMW Boxer

Rolling on a 21-inch front, and even larger 26-inch rear, the rims are milled from aluminium and sport narrow rubber. 

BMW Boxer Zon
BMW Boxer

The girder fork was also made of solid aluminum while the swing-arm is made of steel pipe and attached to the tubular space frame by means of concealed suspension.

BMW Boxer Zon
BMW Boxer

The ‘large capacity’ engine is suspended in this frame structure reinforced with grid tubes.

Meanwhile the fitted fuel tank, seat unit and front trim are crafted by hand from sheet metal.

BMW Boxer Zon
BMW Boxer

The bike won “Best of Show Motorcycle” award at this year’s Hot Rod Custom Show in Yokohama. Known as The Mooneyes Show in custom circles, the event sees car and motorcycle custom builders from all over the world present their creations, with a total of nearly 300 cars and 650 motorcycles along with numerous dealer stands.

BMW Boxer Zon
BMW Boxer

A bit of strange, on top of more strange…

It’s a strange event to showcase a new engine from BMW, in a strange motorcycle, and a very curious representation as to what direction BMW Motorrad will take their iconic engine in the next decade. Whatever the case, I think it fair to say that is unlikely to look anything like this…

BMW Boxer Zon
BMW Boxer

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