In celebration of two anniversaries this year – 90 years of BMW Motorrad and 40 years of the BMW R 90 S motorcycle, BMW teamed up with custom bike company Roland Sands Design to create an exclusive homage to this 1970s icon in the form of the BMW Concept Ninety.

“The BMW R 90 S hails from an era in which bikers were regarded as outlaws. There was something rebellious about it – it was fast, loud and wild,” comments Edgar Heinrich, head of BMW Motorrad Design. “We decided to bring out this old jewel and recut it in a way that nobody would have expected from BMW Motorrad.”

The aim for this redesigned classic, according to Ola Stenegard, head of vehicle design BMW Motorrad, was to show how reduced, pure and emotional a BMW motorcycle can be. “We wanted this bike to reflect the spirit of the BMW Motorrad design studio because a lot of people out there think we are these super clean-cut guys running around in white lab coats working on computers that create motorcycles in a magical kind of way,” he comments.

“On the one hand, this is true as we are a very high-tech company, but, on the other, we are really a bunch of garage rats – guys are welding and getting their hands dirty. So this bike had to be about heart and soul and garage spirit.”

BMW Motorrad found the ideal partner, which had the right spirit and knowledge of how to build a high-performance motorbike, a long way off from its Munich headquarters in California. When Roland Sands, a former motorcycle racer, rode the prototype that BMW Motorrad had brought over to California for him to test, he immediately decided to come onboard with the project.

Him and his team designed and manufactured many of the high-quality parts for the bike such as the front cover of the engine, the valve covers and exhaust system, which were milled using a contrast cut process. “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 Sands.

Together with these parts, other details such as the sporty interpretation of the front fairing and dynamically shaped tank, all give the BMW Concept Ninety a powerful presence. But this bike isn’t only about looks, it’s about high-performance too.

“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,” concludes Heinrich.

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