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Supercharged BMW harks back to the 1930s | NEWS

BMW has unveiled a supercharged 500cc concept bike that celebrates the pre-war racing and record-breaking history with a modern twist. Called the R5 Hommage, the bike was unveiled at the Villa d’Este concourse event by Lake Como in Italy and blurs the line between being a custom bike and a proper concept model.

Unlike traditional concept bikes, it features an original 1930s 500cc boxer twin, rebuilt after being damaged in a race and with a bespoke supercharger added to increase its power from the original 19kW (26hp) to something a bit more suitable in this day and age.

There’s a faux-hardtail frame that mimics the lines of the original BMW R5 model from 1936 but adds a subtle rear suspension system with a single rocker-operated shock. The fork takes its look from the original R5 but stretched out to give the fell of custom bike proportions.

While it looks great, there’s no obvious suggestion that the R5 Hommage will lead directly to a production model. That’s surprising, since for the last three years running BMW has used Villa d’Este to show concepts that were, in reality, lightly tweaked future models. In 2013 the Concept 90 previewed the R nineT, in 2014 the Concept Roadster showed us what would become the new R1200R and last year the firm’s Concept 101 showed the forthcoming K1600 bagger. <Ben Purvis>