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FlatNine: A BMW R nineT tracker from VTR

A BMW R nineT street tracker motorcycle from VTR Customs
With five different models in the range, there’s a BMW R nineT to suit most tastes—from the cafe-styled Racer to the classic Paris Dakar-inspired Urban G/S. But there’s one style that the Bavarian marque hasn’t attempted yet: flat tracker.

The concept of a factory-built R nineT tracker is intriguing, and we’re not the only ones thinking that way. It’s been swirling around VTR Customs’ collective consciousness too, ever since the Swiss crew raced against the Indian FTR1200 concept at the Glemseck 101 festival.

A BMW R nineT street tracker motorcycle from VTR Customs
VTR is the custom side of the BMW dealer Stucki2Rad, so shop boss Dani Weidmann got on the phone to Munich. “We asked all our contacts to come up with a flat tracker version of the R nineT, as quickly as possible!” he tells us.

The response was nein. So Dani thought about building his own flat tracker conversion kit.

A BMW R nineT street tracker motorcycle from VTR Customs
“But after looking into the details, the production and investment required, we decided to go into the fast lane instead—and build a one-off ‘flatty,’ the way we wanted it.”

With most of the team having motocross and supermoto racing backgrounds, VTR Customs soon had plenty of ideas on the table. But with no outside budget for the project, they had to make sure they’d be able to sell the bike afterwards without making a loss.

A BMW R nineT street tracker motorcycle from VTR Customs
“The figures check forced us to drop two pieces from the wishlist,” says Dani. “An extra small VTR handmade alloy gas tank, and a special wheel set.”

Everything else was fair game, so VTR Customs took a brand new R nineT Urban G/S, and ripped off all the bodywork save for the tank. Even the right-side air intake was ditched, in favor of a plug-and-play replacement from JvB-Moto. It was added more for a cleaner look than functionality, since the motor’s now fed via a pair of K&N filters.

A BMW R nineT street tracker motorcycle from VTR Customs
Out back, VTR dismantled the bits of the R nineT’s modular subframe that they didn’t need, then built an aluminum flat track tail section to sit on top. Trusted collaborator Yves Knobel handled the seat pad, with the exemplary detail and finishing that we’ve come to expect from VTR’s builds.

VTR fabricated a set of aluminum number boards too, with a pair of Highsider projectors embedded up front to light the way. Off-the-shelf parts include a set of flat track fork guards, a Monza gas cap, Magura handlebars, and Rizoma controls and foot pegs.

A BMW R nineT street tracker motorcycle from VTR Customs
The crew also added a set of valve covers from BMW’s own aftermarket catalog, refinished in wrinkle black. Then they built a new two-into-one exhaust system, terminating it in a titanium muffler from Unit Garage.

As per the budget, they kept the stock 19F/17R wheels, but repainted them gold. They lowered the bike slightly to tweak its stance though, by way of a Wilbers fork lowering kit and rear shock.

A BMW R nineT street tracker motorcycle from VTR Customs
Because they’d opted to keep the stock tank, VTR decided to paint the lower bit black to help shed some visual weight. But they went all-out on the rest of the livery, with a deep five-color candy paint job, masterfully executed by Freuler AG in Benken.

“Because flat track first was popular in the US and only later swapped over to Europe,” explains Dani, “we thought we should respect that fact by building our flat tracker in the American style. Meaning candy colors, yellow number plates and vintage style start numbers.”

A BMW R nineT street tracker motorcycle from VTR Customs
VTR wrapped the bike up an hour before loading it up for the Swiss Moto Show. It got plenty of love at the show, but Dani and his team couldn’t help but feel that something was missing; the 17” rear wheel just wasn’t cutting it.

By chance, the couple that owns Italian wheel company, Kineo, happened to pop by the VTR booth during the show. “We were complaining about the too small rear wheel,” says Dani, “and the estimated budget for the bike hindering us from having a new wheel set.”

A BMW R nineT street tracker motorcycle from VTR Customs
“So, we agreed right there on a special wheel set for a special price… if we offered Kineo beers at the booth!” The 19F/18R combo is a good compromise between the right proportions and street usability, wrapped in a set of street-legal Dunlop DT3 tires.

The resulting bike is a killer example of the breed, and the perfect crib sheet if BMW ever decided to build an R nineT street tracker.

A BMW R nineT street tracker motorcycle from VTR Customs
It’s for sale too, complete with a BMW exhaust system, and a bolt-on license plate and turn- and tail-light setup to make it street legal.

Tempted?

VTR Customs | Facebook | Instagram | Images by Andri Margadant

A BMW R nineT street tracker motorcycle from VTR Customs

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