Back in Bavaria after India
After a brief stint in India, Edgar Heinrich returned to Munich to lead the BMW Motorrad design team. It was a happy return for the motorcycle enthusiast, who began his career at BMW in 1986. He spearheaded the design of many BMW motorcycles: the Paris-Dakar rally bike, the K 1200 S and R, the HP2 Enduro, the R 1150 GS, the R 1200 GS and most recently the S 1000 RR.
Before his time at Indian automaker Bajaj, he was also involved in the design of the K 1600 GT and GTL touring bikes as well as the C 600 Sport and the C 650 GT maxi scooter. All of them were successful products that expanded the horizons of this established market segment and attracted many new customers to the brand. In an exclusive interview with BMW Motorrad, Edgar Heinrich talks about his passion for designing, collecting and restoring motorcycles of all kinds.
What was it like with the GS? How hard is it to improve a design without totally uprooting tradition?
New designs are often a balancing act. You don’t want to alienate existing GS owners. But as a designer you always want to create something new. Changing such a successful design can be a little scary. How far do you go? How far do you have to go? The good thing is that many in the team – myself included – are GS riders and are already living the GS lifestyle. So we know what we want from a GS. It worked out perfectly with the new R 1200 GS. It was very important to create an authentic GS. One that is true to its roots, with the classic look and design, but with a new and dynamic interpretation.
So what's in your garage at the moment?
Right now there are 16 bikes in my garage. Including some restored classics. Can a guy ever have enough bikes? I have an HP2, an R 51/3, an R 24, an R 100 GS Paris-Dakar model, several Ducatis, an old Matchless and an Enfield from my time in India, which has been scrambler-ised. There's also a '61 Vespa, very cool and all original. I even have a Gas Gas that I used to ride trials on. I also have a CB 650, a CB550, and a Honda Dominator.
Edgar Heinrich, Head of Design at BMW Motorrad