With the imminent arrival of the G 310 R, BMW Motorrad has been preparing its worldwide markets, from Milan to Japan, for this new sporty lightweight roadster. Students at the European Institute of Design (IED) in Italy have already studied the eye-catching sub-500cc BMW as part of their final degree projects, while over in Tokyo, a special female riders’ workshop has produced equally interesting studies.
The project, initially launched to the students in 2015 by BMW Motorrad Italia Marketing Manager Andrea Ferrari, challenged design students with no background in automotive design and engineering to customise and adapt the small, light, agile bike to be even more appealing to urban riders. After a year of work, the students’ final renderings were revealed in Monza at The Next 100 Festival, and now that these
students have graduated, the baton has passed to a new set of students to bring the inspirations to life using the world-leading facilities of the IED. “It is BMW Italy’s aim to continue this partnership into the 2016/17 academic year. We want to bring some of the concept bikes’ features to a more concrete phase, diving deep into some specific aspects of each bike, bringing a ‘G 310 R by IED’ to life”, said Ferrari.
Safe and practical.
Inspired by the outgoing students’ concepts, this year’s students will start to develop these into their own. Then, after around three months, there will be an initial review from BMW Motorrad Italia and the teachers at IED in which the ‘best’ ideas will be chosen. At this stage, the students will start to collaborate as a team, working on the concepts
that have been identified as the best, with the aim to, ultimately, build a working prototype. The students conducted in-depth research, including interviews, with their chosen riders to understand their requirements, with safety and practicality coming to the fore ahead of power and performance.
‘Project BMW Savannah’, is a bike designed specifically for women who may prefer a lighter bike, such as the BMW G 310 R to a large, heavy bike. One of the central design features of the project bike is a 360° wraparound LED light to increase visibility of the rider, combatting one of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents on the road. An ingenious solution for blind spot monitoring was also created,
with haptic feedback – essentially small taps – being given to the rider’s knees where they rest against the tank, warning of vehicles alongside. Plus, the team took on BMW Motorrad’s existing Keyless Ride System and replaced the key with a wearable bracelet. A finishing touch was a leather strap on the tank for safely and easily walking the bike.
Art and Mudguard.
As ever in modern motorcycling, customisation was a theme that ran through many teams’ work. ‘Project Morpheus’ aimed to enhance the configuration process with multiple jigsaw-like fairing panels that can be added or removed to create a variety of different options for the rider. Custom graphics can also be uploaded via an online configurator. The ‘BMW G 310 Misto’ takes customisation to a more functional level for the weekday commuter who wants something different for the weekend, and creates a bike both for on-road and off-road use.
Interchangeable components such as a larger mudguard make this possible and the unique packaging of each component allows for the storage of the accessory when not in use, hanging on the wall ‘to create a piece of art’. Easy installation is guaranteed with the special tool that comes packaged with the product. ‘BMW Plus+’ continues with the theme of a dual-use bike; its windscreen hinges down to sit in front of the headlight when not in use, hinting at a user who has a need for short motorway rides, but also a cooling breeze during hot city commutes.
Sporty and angular for young riders.
Key features of the BMW 310 Street Race and Supermoto bikes are the absence of a traditional speedometer display. The rider’s smartphone takes on this role and, through the specific app, the user can customise the bike’s settings and activate pre-installed cameras hidden around the bike, perhaps to be used as a safety feature in the same vein as a dash-cam, but most probably to record your skills at weaving through the city traffic! Both of these bikes have been altered to appear more sporty and angular and are aimed at another of the G 310 R’s audiences:
young graduates and those in first time employment, although BMW’s original design of the modern roadster already successfully references its older siblings, the BMW S 1000 R and R 1200 R. As the BMW G 310 R sits in the European Motorcycle Licence category A2, the same category as the maxi-scooters that many Italians, young and old, now use to get around cities and towns, BMW Motorrad sees this light, agile bike as an opportunity to convert riders who have become bored with what Ferrari describes as “the flat riding experience a scooter offers”, and getting them onto a nimble and dynamic bike – all without the need for upgrading their licences.
Heading into final stage.
The three-month review of the current student’s work will take place towards the end of the year, and once the best prototype features have been chosen, the students will have until June 2017 to develop and present their concepts, not only in time for their final degrees, but also for next year’s BMW Motorrad Days festival in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, where the students will present their work to the world’s biggest gathering of BMW Motorrad fans to complete the final stage in the partnership.
When the IED students in Milan presented their design ideas on a G 310 R concept we were given a glimpse into what city-dwelling Millennials want from a motorcycle. Thousands of kilometres away, a group of Japanese journalists, BMW customers, dealer staff and design students gathered at a women’s workshop, aimed at discovering what the ideal BMW bike for Japanese females could be.
The workshop tasked participants with brainstorming how a G 310 R could best be customised for women, while a designer was on hand to visualise their ideas, with one of the shortlisted designs chosen to be built at a later date. For inspiration, the four famous R nineT Japanese custom BMWs by Shiro Nakajima, Hideya Togashi, Go Takamine and Kaichiroh Kurosu were put on display.
Practicality with style.
The first G 310 R custom project is known as ‘Sporty Scambler’. It has a half-fairing, knobbly tyres, adjustable ‘bars, retractable mirrors and integrated engine guards. The second design is loosely based on a Streetfighter. With fashionable colour scheme, matching single seat and bar grips, twin-stacked exhaust, centre stand and adjustable ‘bars, its overriding theme is practicality with style. The third G 310 R custom project is known as ‘City Café Racer Style’. With teardrop tank, bench saddle and ‘bagger’ style panniers, its retro styling, colour variation choices and matching helmet made it the most popular choice for further development.
The design has since been sent to a concept designer to be worked up and could one day be built by a chosen customiser. “It was a really interesting custom project workshop for us to be involved with and proves beyond doubt that our female riders are really into their motorcycles and love the idea of being able to customise them,” says BMW Motorrad’s Head of Brand Communication Sandra Ehm, who travelled to Japan from Munich specifically to attend the workshop.