Clothing, boots, gloves – BMW wants to develop its image as a manufacturer of motorcycle equipment – BMW also manufactures equipment

BMW wants to develop its image as a manufacturer of motorcycle equipment

Clothing, boots, gloves - BMW wants to develop its image as a manufacturer of motorcycle equipment - BMW also manufactures equipment

Thanks to the S1000RR and F800R, the image of BMW Motorrad is no longer limited to the single Flat Twin fitted to big and expensive road cars. The Bavarian brand now wants to highlight its “ Ride ” collection of motorcycle equipment… Presentations.

BMW also manufactures equipment

By showing us its new motorcycle equipment at home in Munich, the German manufacturer is giving us a perfectly clear message: BMW Motorrad wants to develop the image of its "Ride" collection, well known to Behème customers but not enough to other users of two – motorized wheels…

"Our dream is that BMW Helmets or BMW Equipment become brands in their own right, that all bikers naturally think of our products when buying a new helmet, jacket or new boots, which is not the case today", explains Ralf Werner, big boss of rider equipment and motorcycle accessories at BMW bluntly..

However, the brand has been offering its equipment for decades: "our first helmet dates from 1976 and our first collection of equipment arrived two years later, with leathers and flexible luggage adapted to our suitcases in particular", reminds us the German manager.

First helmet in 1976

While accessories for motorcycles can be considered part of BMW Motorrad’s core business, this is not quite the case with equipment for motorcyclists. However, rather than contacting equipment manufacturers – as do other manufacturers – BMW preferred to manage this file internally..

"First of all because it is the way to develop products that perfectly match our motorcycles", explains Bernhard Neuheuser, product manager at BMW Equipment. The development of the equipment takes place in the same premises as those of the motorcycles or cars of the Munich brand..

"We work here at FIZ (Forschung und Innovation Zentrum, NDLR), which is the research and innovation center of the BMW group", continue our interlocutors while the engineers and designers responsible for creating the equipment for bikers also work for motorcycles, even cars..

The process of creating a "new model" is no different: "we use exactly the same methods to design a car or a pair of gloves, only the duration of the different steps may vary".

Forschung und Innovation Zentrum

The production of a textile jacket, for example, necessarily begins with the definition of the concept: "We establish the product target, analyze the typical user, his age, his requirements, the type of two-wheeler concerned, the uses of the product, the materials to be used, we also identify the standards to be respected, etc.."

Casually, this first stage lasts almost a whole year! A new year follows, during which two to three prototypes are made, proven and tested in every way..

"In addition to the FIZ facilities – which notably includes a huge wind tunnel – we take advantage of the BMW test center based in Dingolfing", reveal the Germans. There, the prototypes are tortured at will: crashes, abrasion tests, tests in extreme climatic conditions … The range of tortures is vast !

It does happen that BMW works in partnership with major brands, as has been the case since 1980 with Schubert: "we have a certain expertise in the handling of plastics or fibers, in the quality of finish, but they bring us a lot in terms of soundproofing", admit German officials who also work with"an Italian and a Spaniard on his helmets"…

"In addition to laboratory experiments, of course, we test the pre-production models in real situations with some of our employees who do 40,000 km per year on a motorcycle, and their feedback is very informative.".

Once validated, the product can go into production: "we have several manufacturers, spread across Germany and Eastern Europe", specifies to Site Benjamin Voss of the" Motorcycle Communications "department at BMW.

One supplier per product

"We are voluntarily limiting ourselves to one supplier per product", he specifies,"because it is simpler but also safer: sizes and cuts do not vary, as do the quality of the raw materials or their colors".

Here we come back to the second reason that pushes BMW to produce its equipment internally: "because it is a guarantee of quality and seriousness to all customers, whether they ride our motorcycles or not", assures the BMW team.

In 2001, the manufacturer established its label "CARE" (Concept of Advanced Rider Equipment) which, he assures, guarantees his client protection, comfort, robustness and quality. In short, the rider has the perfect companion – be it a jacket, helmet, pair of gloves, etc. : the one that is forgotten whatever the conditions and allows you to concentrate only on the road !

"Indeed, our prices are high … but they correspond to the "Premium" placement of our products", argues Ralf Werner:"when we offer carbon reinforcements, for example, it is real carbon of excellent quality, the same for the titanium guards which are not 1% titanium and 99% aluminum"…

BMW Motorrad’s "Ride" collection will not find a € 150 jacket made in or around China …. "It’s all about BMW branding", insists Benjamin Voss:"we offer high-end, innovative products that are necessarily expensive".

"It must be remembered that we were among the first to use Gore Tex and textiles at a time when bikers only used black, heavy leathers, which did not protect against rain or heat.", evoke our Germanic hosts.

Integrated neck bridle

Even today, BMW prides itself on being at the forefront of innovation. Its new AirFlow 2 jet helmet is the latest example (see presentation on next page).

"By talking to emergency responders, we discovered that 10% of injured motorcyclists lost their helmets", reveals Bernhard Neuheuser."This is why we have equipped our new urban helmet with integrated neck bridles that prevent it from turning.".

"The lines of work in the future? We are working on the good visibility of motorcyclists and scooter riders", reveals Ralf Werner."It is a topical subject for you elsewhere !", remarks the head of rider equipment and motorcycle accessories at BMW, forced to follow – almost day to day! – changes in the various legislations.

Soon a BMW motorcycle airbag !

"Research into new materials has resulted in back protection or protective vests that are both more effective and more comfortable", he adds without going into too much detail.

"Yes, we are in the process of developing a motorcycle airbag, but of a different kind than what is currently being done.", finally admits our interlocutor."It’s still too early to talk about it, I can’t answer any questions about it". To follow closely on Site: stay connected !

While waiting to discover the BMW motorcycle airbag (for 2013?), You will find on the following pages the new BMW 2012 equipment which particularly caught our attention..

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