BMW Concept Ninety: Past Style, Modern Performance

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“The BMW Concept Ninety resurrects this spirit of the emotionally charged superbike”, says BMW of this new concept bike built by Roland Sands. Could it point the way for a future production model?

“This is a modern reiteration of the traditional essence of the motorcycle: the harmonious unison of man and machine,” continues BMW. “It’s a sporty boxer with a battery of sophisticated details. Its basic proportions clearly take their cue from the forebear that inspired this concept: the fairing, tank, seat and tail instantly signal its family bond with the BMW R 90 S. The BMW Concept Ninety 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 aluminium. 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.”

“Today BMW motorcycles stand for perfection and function. That is what we have worked hard to achieve and something we are very proud of,” explains Ola Stenegard, BMW Motorrad’s head of design. “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 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, honouring 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.”

  • lindsaycasey

    That’s ridiculous. I love it!

  • Stephen Butt

    Amazing looking bike, love the fairing, reminds me of the SportClassic but even more streamline and lo-pro. Is this a BMW concept that they comissioned Roland Sands to work on/design or is it just another example of an amazing bike that Roland has designed independently? Either way it’s a cool bike, just curious if the insperation came from within the company or not? Personally I don’t understand why the motorcycle industry doesn’t have more companies producing retro designs like this one as people seem to love them!

    • Ricardo Gozinya

      Very few actually love them enough to buy them. Look at what happened to the Sportclassic, or the lack of real sales of the new Norton Commando. Putting a one up seat, clip ons and rearsets on a retro bike pretty much guarantees that it won’t sell well enough to keep making it.

      This bike certainly looks great, about the only thing that rubs me wrong aesthetically are the pipes. They just bug me.

      • roma258

        The Duc Sportclassics, especially the Paul Smarts (faired versions) command crazy retail these days. It’s not that they sold poorly, I just don’t think they made that many.

        • Clint Keener

          They sat in dealer showrooms. But when they were all gone, the used market exploded.

          I HOPE BMW makes this bike. Such a killer design.

      • Racetrack Style

        The Sport Classics look great but are fairly uncomfortable for many, so that could be why sales weren’t crazy like they should have been.

        This bike is done very well, especially the fairing and tail shape, although the tail could be a tiny bit larger. The front fairing is a splendid blend of old & new not just in the LED, but in the way the glass is shaped and the line it makes under the round headlight area

        • Wes Siler

          The SportClassic was the wrong bike(s) at the wrong time. Way too pricey, bad quality problems, zero comfort. If a retro hopes to go after today’s market, it’ll need to be affordable first and fast and intimidating a distant last.

          • Richard Gozinya

            From the looks of it though, this concept is showing off potential new aftermarket parts from RSD more than being a potential production bike. His logo shows up on this thing more than BMW’s.

      • Khali

        Yeah I like how it looks but I would never buy it…I need a much more practical bike than that.

      • Stephen Butt

        Agreed, although I feel like the Sportclassic left right at the time when the momentum for this style of bike really picked up. As for the Norton, I think it’s just a matter of being too expensive (not that this BMW would be much different I suppose). The Thruxton seems to do alright, as does the Motto Guzzi V7 Racer which leads me to believe if others found a way to keep them in the 10k range they would do ok. My hope was that Honda would do somethign similar with their CB1100 but that doens’t seem to likely at this point.

      • Jay

        I like the pipes where they are because they make the underseat area look so clean.

        • Richard Gozinya

          Not the location that bugs me, it’s the arrangement. It just seems out of place, like that should be on a Harley, not a Beemer. The old boxers had a siamese arrangement, the newer ones have a 2-1 setup, this, just doesn’t work for me.

    • Wes Siler

      It’s a BMW concept bike they commissioned Roland to design and build.

      • Stephen Butt

        Good to hear, that’s a little more promising as far as potential for it to be made. Do you know if that is a common practice in the industry to outsource design like this?

        • Mugget

          Pretty much. I think Yamaha were the last ones to have a bunch of builders do a custom bike (the T-Max scooter, I think?) and RSD was included there.

          Kiska do all of the design work for KTM. So it’s not uncommon to outsource design. But manfacturers also get different people to do a one-off custom/concept just for publicity I guess. Or maybe it really is to see what a fresh set of eyes can come up with. Who knows.

          • adyhasch

            Pinnifarina did it for Ferrari and Peugeot, Diesel for Ducati – the best looking Monster if you ask me

  • Bones Over Metal

    a thing of beauty, a true art piece, that is just begging to be ridden hard!

  • FreeFrog


  • Clint Keener

    Is that a new RSD helmet Roland is wearing? Hope so.

    • Stephen Butt

      I was wondering the same myself, looks really cool. I was almost thinking the new Gringo From Biltwell but the eye opening is thinner on this. Seing as though Roland has a partnership with Bell I wonder if it’s maybe a Bell Star Classic (Autoracing Helmet)?

  • RT Moto

    The looks are killer. That paint scheme is very nicely done and rounds off the bike perfectly. Now if only I could get a damn shot of the right rear of the bike so I can see the swingarm. Is it hideous or something??

  • Troy Rank

    I’ve never had more respect for Roland Sands than I do right now.

  • Stephen Mears

    Roland does great wheels, but these are by far his best.

  • Justin Henry

    love it

  • Porter

    RSD always seemed like self indulgent bullshittery to me. But I would ride this.

  • di0genes

    I remember this bike from Road Rash

  • will

    Yes, please! Nice looking bikes with real performance, like the ducati sportclassic, from all the manufacturers, right now.
    I still do not understand why the sportclassic range was discontinued right before its biggest piece of advertising, tron legacy, came out.

  • Kr Tong

    It’s just got a lil’ white girl butt.

  • Ian W

    Interesting solution on the headlight/screen, otherwise I can’t get past it looking like a fat goldfish sitting on top of another black/diamond cut farkled RSD ‘custom’. Love the idea but for a supposed “sprinter ready for action” it looks a bit bloated to me. I’ll take the HP2 Sport thanks.

  • Stephen Lee

    Sweet….really sweet

  • Markkit

    Ducati Paul Smart Replica anyone?

  • Maggio Slooter

    I bet $1,000 this will have the same fate as the Duc motard RSD did in 2008. After a tour of the show circuit it will line up in a row of a collection someplace and will be barley seen or ridden.

  • Mathieu France

    Great pics. We have downloaded one of these pictures on our new website and we have backlinked to your website of course. Hope you will appreciate that. Mat