Driving report Troika BMW SR 1200 Cruiser
A different teak
The cruiser team designed by BMW is being built in the Swabian town of Schorndorf. That’s why the car mechanics there are now also familiar with wood processing.
There are excited Swabians. They loudly measure the whole world of Maultaschen and wine spritzers in the beer garden.
So it could only hit him when the then motorcycle development manager Wolfgang Dürheimer was looking for a manufacturer in mid-1997 who could help get the cruiser team devised by chief designer Dave Robb and his team on the bike. “We should meet for dinner sometime,” it lured meaningfully from Munich. When Heidenwag was still leafing through the calendar section for the coming month, Dürheimer said: “Best today.” The next day, the Schorndorfer competed and was immediately confronted with the design studies. “They wanted an eye-catcher for the International Motor Show in Frankfurt,” he recalls. The problem: The eye-catcher should be roadworthy within three months.
In view of this task, the engineers had great reservations. But they hadn’t counted on the very special enthusiasm of a Swabian tinkerer. “I was blown away by the design straight away.” The mixture of nostalgia and modernity, the playful, yet technically valuable details: Somehow Robb and his people had drawn the Heiner Heidenwag from the soul. Just right to ignite his technical ambition.
A race against time began in a corner of the BMW workshop, only temporarily protected from view: the boat frame was initially created under the strict control of a BMW designer. Important: The shock absorber should be in position and the wheel should match the rear of the cruiser. With a perforated flat iron as a holder, Heidenwag started looking for the best pivot point for the shock absorber. As usual with Troika, he insisted on an extremely long lead of the sidecar wheel. It’s become 400 millimeters – and they guarantee very smooth straight-line stability.
A soft suspension is recommended for cruising anyway, and on top of that it prevents the tricycle glider from bucking over bumps and causing unnecessary unrest. The body of the boat – it is somewhat reminiscent of Art Deco vases from the twenties – rests on six rubber elements, the seat wears a noble leather suit. Just as the upscale automobile customers want the 5 or 7 Series. Its backrest can be tilted – and the distinctive side struts take on one of the main tasks: they are divided, and the connecting thread allows comfortable inclined or carefully upright positions to be realized.
The very spacious boat has a bold outrigger at the rear for the suitcase, which was benevolently admired at the IAA, because it is stylistically true to the line, and on top of its pointed body – well, let’s say – stylized deck planks. Somehow maritime, definitely, and somehow unusual for Heiner Heidenwag. “The boards lay alternately in the sun and in the water. Because then the grain comes out better, «he is still astonished today about the strange demands of the material. “Teak, that’s supposed to last forever,” he reassures everyone who, like him, knows more about metal.
First driving tests prove one thing: The whole thing is really eye catching. Hardly any Schorndorfer remains unmoved when the white debut from a small series that is now purring through the town. In addition, the completely problem-free driving characteristics are a great fit for the unchanged BMW cruiser. Straight-line stability, surprisingly agile handling, brakes absolutely directional. As usual from Troika. The contemplative performance development is rather unusual in comparison with modern sidecars, but the likewise unchanged gear ratio noticeably slows the momentum of the 61 hp boxer.
Of course, that’s enough for cruising, and that goes with the comfort offered. Especially the boat passenger can dream wonderfully when looking over the said deck planks, at best speeds atypical of the species above 120 km / h create uncomfortable eddies behind the small panel. The driver occasionally gets to feel the familiar hard hindquarters of the R 1200 C, but is otherwise happy about the low steering and braking forces. Heiner Heidenwag once again prefers the combination of front and sidecar brakes, activated via the handle. A proven and effective concept. The BMW Telelever also seems to be establishing itself as such in trailer construction: The cruiser forces are nowhere near enough to upset the BMW’s trailing arm-guided fork. Not even on bad roads.
S.o This really excellently made team seems to be sure of great success. If, yes, if it weren’t for the price. In view of the immense costs of producing the many complicated plastic forms – the said case alone devoured a strong five-figure sum – Heidenwag calculated a proud 77,350 marks for his efforts. Of these, normal people ride motorcycles all their lives. “This is something for fans,” Heidenwag also restricts. And there are definitely friends of the white and blue brand who are not afraid of such amounts: Shortly after the IAA, the secretary of a Japanese industrialist called to order a team for his superior. The Troika boss told him that sales would not take place until 20 orders had been received. The next day the boss reported personally. “First the 20 orders,” repeated Heidenwag. Then it rang from the Far East: “20 pieces? OK. Bought. ”What even a good Swabian master craftsman has to drink two or three spritzer.
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