Today, at the Villa d’Este on the shores of Lake Como in Italy, BMW has just revealed the modern-day Hommage—designed in–house, and built with the help of Swedish master craftsmen Ronna and Benna Norén of Unique Custom Cycles.
“In today’s world, it is very simple to keep it complicated, but very complicated to keep it simple,” says Ola Stenegärd, BMW’s Head of Vehicle Design (centre, below).
“The BMW R5 captured the very essence of a motorcycle. Our aim was to transport that clarity and elegant aesthetic appeal to the modern era—creating a respectful combination of old-school and high-tech with a dash of high performance.”
At the core of the build is an original 500 cc R5 boxer engine provided by enthusiast Sebastian Gutsch—an engine that was damaged in a race and is now restored to better than new.
The rest of the BMW R5 has been elaborately handcrafted from scratch. Working off specifications provided by the BMW Motorrad design team, the Norén brothers used their thirty years of bike-building experience to produce the parts needed to bring the Hommage to life.
That includes the valve covers and the breastplate of the boxer engine, which were machined from billet aluminum based on sketches, plus engine and gearbox internals.
Put the original and the Hommage side by side, and you can see subtle differences. The frame and fuel tank of the Hommage echo the elegant drop shapes of the originals, but with more modern, streamlined shapes.
But the oval shaped frame tubing remains, configured to draw a continuous line from the steering head to the rear wheel hub. The hand-made steel rear fender is classic bobber-style minimalism.