Not many have tried, even less have succeeded in dropping a six-cylinder engine in a series production motorcycle but the boffins at BMW's Motorrad division are determined to make it work. After all, don't forget that BMW's automotive division has made a name for itself with its acclaimed straight-six power units that have been used in the Bavarian firm's cars for more than seven decades.
The new 1.6-liter straight six-engine for motorcycles is making its debut on the Concept 6 and although it isn't clear how much of the design shown on this bike that features many aerodynamic components such as the twin-tipped engine spoiler and the air guide elements derived from the new S 1000 RR Supersports will make it into production, BMW confirmed that the engine will expand the K-Series in the "foreseeable future".
The Bavarian company also revealed that the first model to be introduced with the straight-six will be a top-of-the-line BMW touring machine.
The compact power unit with cylinders tilted to the front by 55o is said to be approximately 100mm or 4" slimmer than all former straight-six production engines and only a bit wider than a large-capacity straight-four with conventional technology.
The straight-six featured in the BMW Motorrad Concept 6 comes with dry sump lubrication while the oil reservoir is provided by an oil tank integrated at the rear of the engine block.
BMW says that the while output of the new six-cylinder will be approximately in the same range as on the firm's 1.3-litre straight-four power units (around 175 horsepower), torque will be at the top of the range already offering 130Nm or 96lb-ft of torque from just 2,000rpm and at the same time rev up to almost 9,000 rpm. For example, the K1300 S produces a peak torque of 103 lb-ft or 140 Nm at 8,250 rpm.
The company also claim that the six-cylinder unit which is equipped with a fully controlled catalytic converter returns a better fuel economy than a comparable four-cylinder under normal touring conditions.