November 5, 2008 Big change is afoot at BMW's motorcycle division. After unleashing the ferocious K1300 series, the crazy HP2 Megamoto and the instantly-competitive S1000R superbike, BMW today showed a bruising concept bike to the fascinated crowds at Milan's EICMA motorcycle expo. Reminiscent of the certified bad-ass Confederate Hellcat, the 1200cc Boxer-engined Lo-Rider is a nasty-looking stubby musclebike that takes BMW's conservative image and beats it to a pulp behind the school toilets. The Lo-Rider is nearly ready for production if interest is high (which it will be) - and BMW are already talking about a mix-n-match sales process that lets customers choose their own headlight, seat and tail units, pipes and paint schemes for a true factory custom vibe.

The basics of the Lo-Rider concept are tried and tested - the 1200cc Boxer motor that has been hugely successful in everything from roadster to cruiser to adventure bike formats provides the grunt, traditional USD telescopic forks provide a clean and effective front-end, and the shaft-drive rear with telelever single-sided swingarm looks great in its exposed glory. The tank looks a lot like that used on the ugly R1200C cruiser.

But it's the rest that grabs you - look at that sawn-off single seat and those evil stacked projector headlights! Check out the way those exhausts run high over to the back of the bike for that agile scrambler look. It's a ball of angry muscle that looks like it begs to be thrashed.

BMW have hinted that it's about 18 months away from production if the response is good enough - and we can't see why it wouldn't be. When it does hit showrooms, it seems BMW are planning to offer a huge range of customization options, including a series of different tail sections, headlights, exhausts, seats and paint jobs. If extreme concepts like this are pointing the way forward for BMW's bike division, we say bring it on! Bavarian reliability and quality paired with serious intent to stir the emotions... Now there's a thought!

More details and loads of photos at TheBikerGene.

Loz Blain

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