BMW Motorrad R 5 Hommage. The Essence of Beauty and Simplicity. Custom meets heritage at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este.


BMW Motorrad R 5 Hommage. The Essence of Beauty and Simplicity. Custom meets heritage at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este.


Munich/Cernobbio. 80 years ago, BMW presented the BMW R 5 tothe international public - an exciting new technological development that wasto influence motorcycle construction right through to the 1950s. Inspired bythe 500 cc factory racing machine of 1935, it was one of the groundbreakingsports motorbikes of the late 1930s with its newly designed light frame. Tomark the 80th anniversary of the BMW R 5, BMW Motorrad is honouring this iconat the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este 2016 with a special model: the BMW R 5Hommage.

The BMW R 5 Hommage translates the essence of motorcycling into themodern era, combining the world of historical motorcycle design with the modernworld of custom bikes.

“At its debut, the R 5 was not only a masterpiece of engineering, theclarity of its lines and the elegance of its proportions also made it stand outclearly from the masses. To this day, the R 5 remains one of the mostaesthetically appealing motorcycles in BMW history in my view,” says EdgarHeinrich, Head of Design BMW Motorrad. “In my opinion, its fascinating andunique beauty lies in its sheer simplicity,” adds Ola Stenegard, Head ofVehicle Design and Creative Director Heritage BMW Motorrad. “In today’s worldit is very simple to keep it complicated, but very complicated to keep itsimple. And the BMW R 5 captures the very essence of a motorcycle. Our aim wasto transport its clarity and elegant aesthetic appeal to the modern era -creating a respectful combination of old-school and high-tech with a dash ofhigh performance.”

Vintage meets custom.

The BMW R 5 Hommage shows just how well the world of historicalmotorcycles and the custom scene harmonise. At the core there is an original500 cc Two-cylinder engine provided by motorcycle enthusiast Sebastian Gutsch.This boxer engine was damaged in a race and provided the starting point forcreating the BMW R 5 Hommage.

As befits a custom bike, the homage bike was elaborately hand-craftedfrom scratch. Ronny and Benny Noren were called upon to produce the partsaccording to the specifications of the BMW Motorrad Design Team: the twobrothers have been building tailor-made customer bikes for more than 30 years.

Historical core ... TheTwo-cylinder 4-stroke boxer engine of the R 5 was completely newly designed atthe time and had an output of 24 bhp at 5,500 rpm. The valve drive was takencare of by two camshafts powered by a timing chain. Thanks to the likewisenewly designed frame made of electrically welded oval tubing, the light R 5reached a top speed of 135 km/h, making it almost as fast as R 17 with 33 bhp750 cc – which is one of the reasons it was so frequently used for racing, justlike the engine selected for the BMW R 5 Hommage, which was damaged during arace. For the homage bike, numerous components such as the valve cover and thebreastplate of the boxer engine were machined from billet aluminium based onsketches: they give the historical core a dash of modern flair.

... in a tailor-made customoutfit.

Two doyens of the custom bike scene, Ronny and Benny Noren, were theperfect partners for the BMW R 5 Hommage project when it came to providing afitting outward appearance for the historical core and producing the missingparts for the engine and gearbox. The remaining parts gradually took shape inthe Noren brothers’ workshop based on sketches by the BMW Motorrad Design Team.All parts such as the frame, fuel tank and rearfender are unique, elaboratelyhand-crafted components – making this a genuine custom bike. And most importantof all: the newly fashioned parts clearly transport the original purist characterof the R 5.

Timelessly elegant: theproportions.

The result is impressive: even from a distance the proportions conveythe timeless beauty of a consistent reduction to the essentials – entirely trueto the spirit of the R 5 – and translate this idea into the modern age. Theframe and fuel tank echo the elegant drop shape of the original, though in amore modern, streamlined interpretation. The steering head is slightly moretilted, for example, so as to give the R 5 Hommage greater presence and expressivestance while at the same time underscore the fact that it belongs to thecustomer bike world. As far as the frame is concerned, the focus here was onthe oval shaped tubes which were such a striking feature of the original.Together the frame and fuel tank draw a continuous line from the steering headto the rear wheel hub, giving the side view a touch of elegance. The hand-madesteel rearfender perpetuates the minimalistic layout.

A modern interpretation ofhistorical details.

A particularly defining feature in terms of the appearance of theoriginal R 5 was the telescopic fork - new at the time - whose characteristicfork covers were aerodynamically shaped at the level of the headlamp. The BMW R5 Hommage invokes this element and interprets it in modern style based on thecustom made fork. The leading edge of the forkcovers echoes the “crease” on thebreastplate and valve covers with a suggested interpretation of the typical “R5 rib”. The brake and clutch levers activated from the bar-end likewise blendthe past with state-of-the-art technology: these custom-made components combinethe look of historical reversed levers with the adjustment options of moderncontrols.

Exquisite customcraftsmanship: supercharger, exhaustpipes and suspension.

The heart of the BMW R 5 rests within the minimalist proportions of thehomage bike. The technical highlight of the engine is the specially developedsupercharger, which in the BMW R 5 Hommage now significantly boosts the outputof the original 500 cc power unit of 26 bhp to achieve a contemporary accuratelevel.

A completely newly built stainless steel exhaust system ensures thatthis increase in power is appropriately reflected in terms of sound.

Other contemporary accents are provided by the new rear wheel suspension,the modern piston brake system and the elaborately designed front and rearwheel hub. The latter combines the brake system and spoke mount in a singleformal unit - a detailed reflection of the minimalistic concept embodied by theBMW R 5 Hommage.

The colour: classic BMWstyle yet still a true custom bike.

The BMW R 5 Hommage is presented in classic style when it comes tocolour. The basic theme is typical BMW – black with white pinstripes, thoughinterpreted in contemporary style of course. In addition to the opaquelyfinished surfaces, the so-called smoke finish on the fuel tank and rearfenderallow the steel underneath to partially show through. In addition to the whitepinstripes, the black finish on the fuel tank and rearfender especially comesinto its own right, in perfect custom style, due to the metallic finish and aslight flake effect. The engine cases and gearbox in glass bead aluminiumprovide the perfect stage for the polished aluminium parts such as the machinedbreastplate and the valve covers with its “R 5 crease”. The soft lustre of thepolished aluminium is especially reminiscent of the BMW R 5 originals. Theoverall image is rounded off with a handstitched leather seat with high-qualityembossing.