Tue, 05 Dec 2017

BMW Motorrad and the LEGO Group sent the GS on a new adventure.

The BMW R 1200 GS Adventure once again finds itself in uncharted territory - this time in Denmark. The joint project between BMW Motorrad and the LEGO Group not only sends the GS on a totally new adventure. The BMW R 1200 GS Adventure has been everywhere on this Earth, everywhere that is except in the office of Lars Thygesen in the small town of Billund in Denmark. Lars is sitting at his desk; next to him sits the magnificent 260 kilo, 125 HP strong machine. The Dane observes the motorcycle; his eyes scan the fork, then he turns his gaze back to his intricate illustration. 

Lars has been a designer at LEGO for nearly 25 years. He has been designing vehicles for LEGO for over five years. Now, an adventure motorcycle is set to provide the next LEGO adventure. The Danish toy company had already worked with the BMW Group when it implemented the MINI Cooper in the Creator range. The technical handicraft enthusiasts had also already designed motorcycles, albeit always as fantasy models. A real motorcycle model is a new one for Lars.

Only the GS survived the selection process.

Many bikes were considered when BMW Motorrad spoke with LEGO about the project for the first time in August 2015. But the GS alone came out on top in the selection process. It impressed in the three areas important to LEGO when designing a new model: functionality, authenticity and challenge to build.

For Lars it was immediately clear that this would be his project. "I am very passionate about motorcycles and what I found fascinating right from the get go was designing these machines with a meticulous attention to detail", the designer explains. Despite all his experience, the project still poses new challenges for him. "It is a special motorcycle with many unconventional properties.

The spring forks, the toggle lever or the single pinion on the rear wheel - I've constructed lots of motorcycles with LEGO before, but never with such special characteristics." His ambition rises to the challenge and he sets to work immediately.

Compile and try it out.

The first big meeting with BMW Motorrad takes place one month after initially making contact. There is already an initial prototype of the miniature GS on the conference table. The model is impressive, the partners are in agreement, and the project gets underway. Lars positions the motorcycle right next to his desk throughout the entire development phase since it is his most important tool. "I look at the parts in detail and directly measure the proportions." In doing so, Lars works like a translator. He listens to the original machine, records the words uttered by the metal bike, mulls them over and translates them into the language of LEGO Technic. 

Everybody plays with LEGO.

And this is how several models came into being, which are on their way down to Munich. When meeting with the responsible designers at BMW Motorrad, Lars demonstrates his prototypes. The contacts are delighted that their machine is being used by LEGO Technic.

But the path to the perfect replica has not yet been completed. There will be further discussions, comments and most importantly: playing around. Freed from constraints and laws, the folks from Munich are building their own fantasy versions.

The most difficult task.

With new inspirations and an even further developed detailed knowledge, Lars flies back to Denmark. Although his designs are in the right direction, now it's all about the little things. For example, that the logo is curved and only straightens when the rider is sitting on the seat. Back in Denmark, the single-sided swing-arm tests Lars' ability to the max. "It's not easy to get it stable because it's just plastic," he says about the hardest task in the implementation, "But I won't compromise as a matter of principle." Nevertheless, the Dane still manages to build the part from existing pieces. Not a single LEGO piece is produced for his GS version.

No stone will remain unturned.

Lars' stubbornness is paying off. As the designers from BMW Motorrad arrive at LEGO's headquarters in March 2016, the model is in its final stages. Then it must pass the rigorous tests at LEGO, where no stone is left unturned. Are "all very happy", as the guardians of suitability find no errors and give a thumbs up, says Lars. Then he gets ready for his next GS adventure. Off-roading in the Enduropark in Hechlingen.