BMW 800 follow-up
February 10, 2009
Since the BMW 800 story got more attention than anything I’ve posted lately, and provoked some controversy in several ways, I thought it’d be smart to follow up. First, I apologize for my confusion regarding the drawing on Scooter-station and about the true status of the project. I blame Google language tools and myself for not being more careful, but on the other hand, I was never sure about the origin of the photo (which is why I didn’t post it again, without permission.) Charles from Scooter-station wrote me last week to help clear things up:
I’m Charles from www.scooter-station.com, one of the leading French
scooter online magazines, on which you recently found the Vectrix VX-2 picture.
We also have written a little news about the SCT800 as the CEO of BMW-Motorrad France confirmed us that the German company was looking closely at the scooter market in Europe. He also told us that BMW will not make its comeback with a 125cc. As they are [established as a] premium brand, it would be too difficult for them to compete in that category. So, of course,
it will be a large displacement one.
But, the pictures we both put online is a sketch of Oberdan Bezzi. It seems not to be the actual style of the next BMW as it’s not an official unveiling. Our source [for the image] was Oberdan’s own blog.
Charles, like many, points out that Oberdan Bezzi’s sketch was done for fun (Bezzi is a professional illustrator and does work for motorcycle manufacturers, but also does many concept drawings just for fun). So the drawing with the story (which I mistook for a photo despite being a professional designer, Oberdan is good) is certainly not a real product, or even a concept drawing for BMW. I suppose I just took a few BMW-scooter-related stories (the French admission that a scooter was in the works, the Kymco deal, and the Rotax deal) and read a bit too much into them. In my defense, most other American scooter blogs made similar conclusions (aside from not being fooled by the drawing).
The second issue that came up is my personal opinion about maxi-scooters and a new market segment that could be described as “luxury sports scooters.” As I’ve said many times in the past, I feel these bikes have every reason to exist, there’s a growing market for them, and there’s nothing inherently wrong with an expensive high-performance scooter. They just don’t interest me much, and since 2strokebuzz is mostly a dictatorship run by me, I don’t talk about them much. I said I just posted the story out of obligation to my many readers that might care about such a bike, but it doesn’t really interest me, and I don’t see how maxiscooterists would take offense to that statement.
I was a bit rude and judgemental about BMW riders (though others were moreso in the comments, iirc,) and for that, I offer a tempered apology. BMW makes (generally) fantastic motorcycles and BMW riders are (generally) a model for all motorcyclists in their dedication to careful maintenance, training, and safety. That probably sounds sarcastic, but it’s not, I think many people (self-included) poke fun at BMW riders because they’re jealous of their dedication, riding skills, and machines. Of course positive stereotypes are just as fallible as negative ones, so take all that with a grain of salt. Also, it’s a fact that BMW motorcycles are usually among the more expensive bikes in their class, and let’s face it, money is not an object to many Rondel junkies. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that in itself, but again, it doesn’t correspond with what I (and maybe I alone) see as the attraction of scootering: economical, friendly transport for the masses. I’m clearly no fan of the no-name fly-by-night scooters on the market these days, but I’ve also made it clear many times that it hurts me to see the Vespa abandoning its humble origins. Some scooterists want scooters to be more like motorcycles, I say “We have motorcycles for that, let’s make scooters that anyone can afford, let’s support fun, economical, and reasonably safe transportation.” Again, that’s my opinion, but it’s the same opinion that’s fueled this site for 8+ years, and the ‘zine before that.
Hope that clears things up a bit on all fronts, I look forward to more comments.