“German precision” used to evoke nothing but positive emotions in the consumers who lusted after the Bavarian designed and manufactured goods that populated the upper tier of transportation industries. So why would BMW team up with Roland Sands’ little shop in California and put out a video featuring plenty of greasy, tattooed characters, both German and American, to develop and promote the Concept Ninety, an homage to the BMW R 90 S? Because BMW wants in on the “Garage Made” movement, that’s why. Robots and CAD are out, and handmade is in. The question is whether a giant manufacturer can gain anything by an effort to align itself with the handmade, one-off movement, when its stock-and-trade is mass production (including by robot). Yamaha, of course, is attempting to do the same thing with its new Star Bolt. Can giants like BMW and Yamaha really steal some buzz from Peter Buchanan-Smith and his little company Best Made, for instance?
BMW Motorrad is celebrating its 90th Anniversary, along with 40 years since the introduction of the R 90 S, and Roland Sands got the call to help design this concept. The Concept Ninety is built around the most recent generation air/oil cooled 1200cc Boxer motor with modern technology incorporated, including LED headlights that resemble the shape of the original single headlamp on the R 90 S. Here is BMW’s description of the concept (typos courtesy of BMW…perhaps, written in a garage).
90 years of BMW Motorrad – 40 years of a BMW Motorrad design icon. To mark these anniversaries, the BMW Group will be presenting a very special new machine from 6.30 pm on May 24th: the BMW Concept Ninety, on show at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este 2013. In collaboration with the customer bike company “Roland Sands Design”, the BMW Motorrad Design Team has created an exclusive homage to the BMW R 90 S. Roland Sands and his team have given the BMW Concept Ninety an exclusive self-assured appearance with technologically refined, top-quality custom parts, former motorcycle racer.
The original: the BMW R 90 S.
With a top speed of just under 200 km/h, the BMW R 90 S was one of the fastest serial production motorcycles of its time. It was the first time a designer had created the perfect combination of form and function in a motorcycle development process. The BMW R 90 S was the first motorcycle ever to be fitted with a front trim section as standard, giving it an unmistakable appearance. Aerodynamically optimised front and rear trim elements were soon to be seen on motorcycles by other manufacturers, too. According to Edgar Heinrich, Head of BMW Motorrad Design: “The BMW R 90 S goes back to a time when motorcyclists were regarded as social outlaws. There was something rebellious about them – they were fast, noisy and wild. It was all about pure emotion. And it remains fascinating to this day.”
BMW Concept Ninety.
“The aim of the BMW Concept Ninety is to show how reduced and pure an emotional BMW motorcycle can be,” explains Ola Stenegard, Head of BMW Motorrad Vehicle Design. Its basic proportions are clearly geared towards the original: the faring, fuel tank and rear section instantly reveal the bike’s kinship with the BMW R 90 S. The BMW Concept Ninety also echoes the separation of the motorcycle’s proportions which was typical at the time: the trim is visually distinct from the black engine and chassis sections. While halogen reflected the technological state of the art in the original machine, cutting-edge LED lighting elements give the BMW Concept Ninety its face today.
Custom parts made by Roland Sands Design.
Roland Sands Design created the parts especially for the BMW Concept Ninety in collaboration with the BMW Motorrad Design Team: “I wanted to translate the special character of the BMW R 90 S into the modern age by means of unique parts – based on emotional design and state-of-the-art technology. It just all goes together perfectly: BMW technology, BMW history and our customer parts are a great match,” says Roland Sands. Unlike other custom bikes, the BMW Concept Ninety is designed to be ridden. The motorcycle itself and all parts are geared towards top-level performance.