BMW came out swinging when they released the R nineT. Even before the bike went on sale, it was farmed out to some of the world’s top custom builders: a clear indication of BMW’s new-found love for the custom scene.
There’s a lot to love about the R nineT itself. It’s powered by the punchy 1200cc boxer motor and it’s kitted out with a hydraulic clutch, ABS brakes, beefy USD forks and twin Akropovic mufflers. So it’s an absolute blast to ride (we’re speaking from experience).
But it’s the R nineT’s looks that really set it apart: a stunning two-tone paint scheme and extremely minimalistic trim. It’s also a bit of a chameleon, with a configurable subframe and seat arrangement that allows users to swap between standard, café and bobber configurations.
Now that the dust has settled on the launch, we’re seeing more and more custom R nineTs coming through. Just last week we featured a stunning example by Texan shop Revival Cycles. Now we’ve rounded up another five that we just can’t take our eyes off.
Roland Sands Concept 90 Before BMW Motorrad officially launched the R nineT, they fired a warning shot: the Concept 90. Based on a pre-production R nineT, it was built by Roland Sands (in cahoots with BMW’s design team) as a homage to the iconic R 90 S.
The R 90 S was a pretty big deal in its day—but the Concept 90’s more of an evolution than a reissue. The unmistakable Daytona Orange paint scheme is an obvious throwback, as are the bikini fairing and tail hump. These are a lot more streamlined though—to match the R nineT’s more modern physique and to give it a racy feel.
Performance is improved thanks to Öhlins suspension, upgraded brakes, a unique air filter setup and dual Roland Sands Design mufflers. There’s also a stack of custom-made RSD parts—some of which will be available for purchase soon.
We’ve been lucky enough to see the Concept 90 in the flesh: to say that the level of detail and craftsmanship is impressive would be a gross understatement. So much so, that at 2013’s Wheels & Waves festival, it attracted more attention than all the other bikes put together.
Unique Custom Cycles’ Stockholm Syndrome Sweden’s UCC have been building custom motorcycles for almost 20 years. So, when BMW Motorrad wanted a bike to enter into the Norrtälje Custom Bike Show, they knew just who to turn to. In just 35 days, UCC created Stockholm Syndrome: the Concept 90’s naked, blue cousin.
They started by cutting and raking the frame, before building new forks and triple trees in collaboration with Tolle Engineering. Perka Nyström of Plebs Choppers supplied new insets.
The tank was trimmed—matched to a solo tail piece sitting on a new subframe. UCC also fabricated a new oil cooler and a stainless steel exhaust system, and hooked the latter up to a Burns muffler. Some tasty bits from ISR and Öhlins rounded off the package.
Stockholm Syndrome went on to take second place in the Custom Class of the Norrtälje show: no mean feat for a café-roadster in a competition dominated by choppers.
Cherry’s Company Highway Fighter The Japanese custom scene has always marched to the beat of its own drum. This was made abundantly clear when BMW Motorrad handed the R nineT to four of Japan’s top builders to do their thing.
Go Takamine, Hideya Togashi and Shiro Nakajima all built excellent examples. But this provocative black number from Kaichiro Kurosu of Cherry’s Company stopped us dead in our tracks.
Delightfully noir, Kurosu calls his vision “near future”. His hand-beaten aluminum bodywork is masterfully executed—complemented by a set of modified Custom Chrome RevTech Billet wheels (18” at the front and 16” at the rear). The stock forks have been lowered with custom internals to tweak the R nineT’s stance, and the subframe, top yokes, steering stem and foot controls are all custom.
We’re not sure what we love more: the skeletal mesh section between the tank and belly pan, or the subtle, hot-rod style pinstriping on the nose fairing and tail.
Smokin’ Motorcycles Elegant Bastard Based in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, Smokin’ Motorcycles are relatively fresh faces on the custom scene. This R nineT (their third build) was their entry into the BMW Soul Fuel Challenge—a competition put together by BigTwin Magazine and BMW Motorrad Netherlands.
Smokin’ describe it as “an elegant motorcycle with rough edges, made for the ride.”
The most obvious addition is the hand-made aluminum tank—but the bike also features a number of CNC milled parts. For the subframe, Smokin’ 3D scanned the stock unit and designed their own using CAD software. They also created some carbon fiber bits: like the right hand side air duct cover, terminating in a K&N filter.
The new exhaust system is also custom-built, and flows up into twin copper-tipped mufflers. A sprinkling of Rizoma parts was selected to finish off the build, and the seat and grips were upholstered in African Antelope leather by Fred de la Bretoniere.
Rizoma The Italian brand makes some of the most desirable parts on the market. And now they’ve turned their attention to the R nineT, releasing a full line of bolt-on bits.
The range includes everything from fenders to engine covers, rear-sets, handlebars, bar-end weights and levers. You can even buy plates to cover up the stock handlebar clamp holes, should you go the clip-on route. The small fly screen pictured is also on offer, along with various license plate mounting options and turn signals that can double up as a tail light. The full catalogue can be ogled on their site or downloaded as a PDF.
It’s the perfect option for the garage customizer that doesn’t necessarily want to “build” anything. So, if you have a R nineT in your garage (and a healthy bank balance), the result you see here is completely attainable.