BMW Motorrad performance enthusiasts know the HP designation is used to denote the company’s highest performance level machines.  But that may be changing.  While BMW automobiles and BMW Motorrad really don’t have much in common other than a corporate parent, it appears the BMW brand may be shelving BMW Motorrad’s HP designation.  In its place, the company may utilize the automobile company’s “M” designation for several Motorrad models.

Trademark applications

According to VisorDown and CNET’s Road / Show, BMW trademark applications point to the HP designation being dropped and the M badge being applied to BMW motorcycles.  In addition, CNET’s Road / Show spoke to unnamed BMW representatives who confirmed the move.  The BMW representatives said it’s the name recognition and “gravitas” of the “M” badge that brought them to the move.

BMW HP logo

The BMW HP models could become a thing of the past.

Interestingly, according to VisorDown, the trademark applications show the S 1000 XR and R 1250 GS are shown as potential “M” variants.  Those two bikes are significantly different and you may wonder whether those two types of machines could be “high performance” motorcycles.  While the S 1000 XR is a sport-touring machine, does it make sense that the R 1250 GS could be classified as a high-performance machine?  Hmm…

Performance enhancements?

So the next question is whether the “M” badge on Motorrad will still stand for significant performance enhancements or largely a brand styling exercise.  The “M” badge has appeared on Motorrad’s S 1000 RR M and that bike was a performance beast.  So it’s presently not clear what the “M” badge will mean for Mottorad going forward.

Naming convention changing?

Also curious is how the “M” designation will be applied to the bike’s nomenclature.   BMW has long stuck to a consistent way of naming its bikes. The first letter always refers to the engine configuration.  The “K” and “S” are reserved for four or more cylinder inline engines.  The “G” designation is for single-cylinder machines.  “R” is used for Motorrad’s boxer-twin models and the “F” moniker goes to parallel twins.

The bikes are further designated by letters at the end of their nomenclature that represent the bike’s intended use.  The ‘R’ of the S 1000 RR likes stands for Rennsport or “racing” in German. The ‘GS’ at the end of R 1250 GS likely refers to Gelände/Straße or off-road/road.  So will the bikes get the M moniker at the beginning or ends of their nomenclature?

With all the potential nomenclature changes, it’s a bit of alphabet soup.  What most people will be interested in is whether the “M” designation will be applied to machines that have an extra performance edge.  Until then, we’ll have to wait and see if and when the “M” badge comes to Motorrad.

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