The BMW Concept Ninety is a concept motorbike that celebrates the BMW Motorrad’s 90th Anniversary as well as the 40 years of the BMW R 90 S.
Revealed at this year’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, the BMW Concept Ninety was designed by the BMW Motorrad Design Team in collaboration with the customer bike company “Roland Sands Design”.
The concept pays homage to the BMW R 90 S presented in 1973, the first motorcycle with a front fairing fitted as standard, and reiterates its spirit of pure performance.
Below we report a video on the development process as well as the official design story. Also check the full gallery of images, which includes photos from the design process.
Legacy: the 1943 BMW R 90 S
Back in 1973, BMW unveiled its flagship model in the “Stroke Six” range to the global public.
Boasting a top speed of just over 200 km/h (124 mph), it was one of the fastest production bikes of its day and won numerous prizes in a variety of race series.
The R 90 S was the first motorcycle ever to feature a front fairing as standard. Together with its sporty tail end and striking Daytona Orange paintwork, it endowed the sports-bike with an unmistakable identity.
The design pointed the way forward, and it wasn’t long before other manufacturers were gracing their motorcycles with aerodynamically honed front and rear fairings.
“The BMW R 90 S hails from an era in which bikers were regarded as outlaws,” comments Edgar Heinrich, Head of BMW Motorrad Design.
“There was something rebellious about it – it was fast, loud and wild. Pure emotion. And it has retained its fascination to this day.”
Concept Ninety – Design
The BMW Concept Ninety resurrects this spirit of its predecessor, offering a “modern reiteration of the traditional essence of the motorcycle: the harmonious unison of man and machine – pure and emotional.”
“But we want more than that. With the BMW Concept Ninety we want to show how reduced and pure an emotional BMW motorcycle can be.”
The BMW Concept Ninety takes to the stage as a sporty boxer with a battery of sophisticated details. Its basic proportions clearly take their cue from the BMW R 90 S, in particular for the fairing, tank, seat and tail.
The concept also picks up on the demarcation of the bike’s proportions that was a hallmark of the time.
The upper ergonomic and aerodynamic bodywork is visually separated from the black engine and chassis. The bodywork is hand crafted from aluminum.
Its brushed areas can be seen in the tinted areas of the front fairing and tank, as well as at the tail. The rich orange shade of the BMW Concept Ninety is also a nod to the legendary Daytona Orange paintwork of the BMW R 90 S. The BMW Concept Ninety delivers a very sporty interpretation of the front fairing.
But whereas halogen was technically cutting-edge in the BMW R 90 S era, contemporary LED elements light up the face of the BMW Concept Ninety, honoring its ancestor with a round headlamp design.
Seamlessly mounted behind it, the dynamically shaped tank ensures an optimal connection between rider and machine. Further along, the tank and seat melt harmoniously into each other. A steadily ascending line from the handlebars to the tail creates a slight wedge shape, lending the BMW Concept Ninety an almost ready to attack stance when viewed from the side – like a sprinter about to explode into action. Below the bodywork sits the air-cooled flat-twin boxer engine.
Entirely in black with contrast cut details this section of the bike symbolises concerted power, precision and performance. The mechanics and technology as a whole are purposely rendered visible and reflect a keen attention to detail.
Many of the parts of the BMW Concept Ninety were specifically manufactured by California-based custom bike specialists Roland Sands Design.
Key highlights include the front cover of the engine and the valve covers, that got painstakingly milled, as well as the exhaust system.
The parts were milled using a contrast cut process, which strikes an alluring contrast to the black mechanical components.
This technology was also applied to the rims, whose classic design recalls the racing triumphs of the BMW R 90 S in the 1970s.
The machining and technical implementation of the parts, are state of the art – like all the details on the BMW Concept Ninety.
“It was important for me to translate the special statement made by the BMW R 90 S into the present through the use of unique parts – employing emotional design and cutting-edge technology,” says Roland Sands of his approach to the bike.
Likewise designed and made by Roland Sands are the brake and clutch controls, the Paralever arm and the air filter under the seat. All these meticulously manufactured individual parts blend smoothly into the form language of the BMW Concept Ninety.
“Everything just fits together perfectly: the BMW technology, the BMW heritage and our custom parts complement each other beautifully,” comments Roland Sands on the result of this collaboration.
Edgar Heinrich adds: “The BMW Concept Ninety is sheer enjoyment in every respect – from the development of the idea to the sketching stage to the construction process. But above all when you’re riding it. It’s an absolute riding machine – just like the R 90 S was in its time.”