BMW R20 Concept unveiled with minimalist design and 2.0-liter flat-twin

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BMW's gorgeous Skytop Concept turned every head at the annual Villa d'Este Concours d'Elegance, but it wasn't the only design study that the Munich-based brand unveiled near Lake Como in Italy. Its motorcycle division presented a sporty, flat-twin-powered one-off called R20.

One of the cool things about motorcycles is that the engine is often part of the design; it's not hidden under a hood. BMW took advantage of that and developed the R20 around the flat-twin it affectionately calls Big Boxer. This engine is already in production, but its displacement grew from 1.8 to 2.0 liters for the R20 concept and it gained redesigned valve covers as well as a new oil cooler that allowed engineers to tuck the oil pipes out of sight for a cleaner look. The two-cylinder unusually spins the rear wheel via a driveshaft that's clearly visible as well.

Performance specifications haven't been announced. For context, the existing 1.8-liter version of the air-cooled twin makes 91 horsepower at 4,750 rpm and 116 pound-feet of torque at 3,000 rpm in the R18. That's enough to send the 761-pound bike to a top speed of 111 mph. At launch, the 1.8 was hailed as BMW's most powerful boxer engine to date. We're guessing the 2.0 will take the crown if it reaches production.

BMW kept the rest of the design simple. There's a round LED ring around the headlight, a concept-specific aluminum fuel tank finished in pink, and rear lights integrated into the Alcantara-upholstered seat. The brand turned to big names in the world of racing for the suspension and the brakes: Öhlins provided an adjustable suspension system, while ISR contributed six-piston front and four-piston rear calipers.

What the future holds for the R20 concept depends on how enthusiasts react to it. "It's unique, and the reaction of the audience will decide whether we put it in production," announced Alexander Buckan, the lead designer for BMW's motorcycle division, told website BMW Blog.

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