BMW Concept Ninety – Retro Meets Modern

05/24/2013 @ 11:39 am, by Jensen Beeler52 COMMENTS


Late last year, we said that BMW Motorrad was working on a special air-cooled motorcycle to help commemorate the German company’s 90th anniversary of making motorbikes. Well, today we get to see what zie Germans have been up to, and it is called the BMW Concept Ninety.

Taking its cues from the BMW R90S, which itself turns 40-years-old today, the BMW Concept Ninety is debuting at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este and was designed by America’s own Roland Sands Design and the BMW Motorrad design team.

“The BMW R 90 S hails from an era in which bikers were regarded as outlaws,” said Edgar Heinrich, Head of BMW Motorrad Design, in the company’s press release. “There was something rebellious about it – it was fast, loud and wild. Pure emotion. And it has retained its fascination to this day.”

With that in mind, we turn our attention to the BMW Concept Ninety. Photos and video are after the jump of course, and leave your thoughts about the machine in the comments.


















Source: BMW Group

  • BBQDog

    Nice concept, but as soon as they really make it road legal (TUV) most concepts are totally spoiled.

  • Really cool, not fan of the raw aluminium look on wheels, discs and engine, but the global design is very clean an not already seen somewhere else.
    I don’t see any show-stopper for this bike to be produced as it is, put a couple of blinkers and let’s go.

  • Sweet Jesus. Build it. Exactly. Like. That.Don’t change a thing.

  • For the love of god and for all that is holy on Earth, please produce this motorcycle.

    There is a gaping hole in the v twin segment for another marquee to come along and stick it to Ducati.

    I’m sick of Ducati having the only pretty and functional naked air-cooled sport twin on the road. Stick it to them!

  • TheSwede

    Mother of god. Throw some signals on it and get this thing on the road.

  • Superhawk

    As owner of a few R90’s, I do like it. some of it is just over the top, but this will be a one off for the Germans to put on display, so for that… it’s a HOLY piece.

    But I do think a minimalist Boxer with current motor and as a street racer would be great to see and hopefully just make a limited edition and see what happens… Go with Orange first and then if it goes well, build them again in the black and dark smoke color that mine were.

    Good job Roland… :)

  • Webbiker

    Very, very nice. One of the prettiest bikes of all time.

  • Doug

    cool bike. The tail section is a bit too small & out of proportion to the tank & the cross-cut wheels are so 2004

  • Tony C

    Nicely done, BMW. I think you’ve out Ducati’ed Ducati on this one.

  • potoduc

    Doug: spot on description. The bike looks nice, but doesn’t completely hit the mark. The chopped tail section looks forced and messes with the proportions. Instead of slimming down the bike and making it look more purposeful, it just looks like the only seat pan they had around was made for a smaller bike. I like the wheels, but they’re not quite right for this application.

  • jack

    Not a BMW fan, but this bike is great. The chopped tail is part of the real appeal. A minimalist bike is what sets this bike apart. What’s the chances of producing this bike?

  • TRL

    The German rendering is 100% better than the Sands rendering (except for the color), he did nothing to help the proportions. but Sands’ rendering is better than the final concept. Just because you have a CNC and a milling machine doesn’t mean you need to use it for every single damn motorcycle. Really, isn’t anyone else tired of the same old H-D crossover accessories catalog stuff from SoCal? An awful lot of Ducati MH900e references in the design too (might have something to do with the time period reference), including a completely impractical riding position for most.

  • old surfer

    so disappointed in this. it is eithr ugly retro (much prefer the thruxton), or sub par modern. and i can’t imagine it can hang with a modern sportie. my heads touch on my r1150r when i get too far into a corner, so it is either gonna’ scrape or be really uncomfortable with i high center of gravity…..c’mon bmw, you could do so much better.

  • L2C

    All I know is that thing says, “I’m a man, baby!” It absolutely oozes machismo.

  • Smitch

    I agree TRL, the front fairing reminds me quite a bit of the MH900e, which is funny since some of these posters think it’s “out Ducati’ed Ducati.” Doesn’t count if you do it 11 years later.

    Still, it is pretty, I like it, and they should make it.

  • jackie

    Love boxers and cant wait to see BMW’s next S…

    But this looks horrid. The proportions are all wrong.
    The tank is too large compared to the seat, and the quarter fairing looks like someone dropped it.
    The lines just go all over the place.

    These are sooo much better looking imho:

  • Very cool looking bike, nicely done from an artistic standpoint. I’m sure it would make a beautiful centerpiece for someone’s living room.

    But from a rider’s standpoint it has some pretty obvious flaws, flaws which are all too common to Café racer concepts making them more than a little impractical to ride. Look at the angle of the bars, good luck trying to park that thing without mashing your hands against the tank. And you can’t move the bars farther forward or the brake and clutch levers will be impacting the fairing.

    Bikes like these are a lot like women who look really good, often they don’t turn out to be very fun rides. :)

  • Tanker Man

    Looks hot. Might be my imagination but the rake looks a little relaxed. I hope the wheels are forged.

  • Alex MacPherson

    Damn… looks like a winner to me. I’d buy one!

  • GeddyT

    I’m with a lot of other posters: Don’t like the wheels, the tail is too small, and the front fairing is too squat. One of the drawings has a longer screen, and it looks much better.

    I really want to like this bike, but you could probably paint the HP2 Sport this same color and it would look twice as good. Three times as good in the original blue/black/white.

    I still think the HP2 Sport is one of the most beautiful machines–of any kind–I’ve ever laid eyes on.

    Anyway, I just don’t think I own jeans skinny enough to wear while riding this bike…

  • Homage to the R90s/50years is cool and new. If the Munich Purist turn their nose at this fun and sexy bike, then I want. Air cooled and 2 wheeled anything is cool!

  • Halfie30

    I like it a lot. Very “clean Mad Max”esque… I wish they would have done something to put angles on it though. Just too modernize it a bit more.

  • smiler

    THe instruments are great, real shame the rest of it looks terrible. Headlight copied from the MH900, rear seat too short, tank much to o large and dominating. Boxer engine is as usual the wrong design for the vehicle it is powering but German persistence has made it work, much like the VW Beetle Porsche / 911 layout.
    The rear wheel set up is too “American chopper” for a BMW anniversary bike. Would look great elsewhere.
    Fabulous paint job though.

  • BBQdog

    Don’t like to the two exhausts on one side though ….

  • JoeD

    I slept overnight on this one. My only negatives are the disproportionate length of the swingarm and the dual exhausts on one side. Ditch the single shock so as to bring the wheel closer to the rest of the bike, a proper dual sided swingarm in tubular steel (Benelli) and a really nice 2-1-2 centerline collector/headers setup with a muffler on each side. Love the tangerine color.

  • Richard Gozinya

    I love the looks of it, but I’d never want to own it. That said, this isn’t something that’s likely going to be put into production. Some of the parts RSD made for this bike on the other hand, now that’s another matter entirely. The engine stuff, especially those valve covers, are pure win.

  • paganmachine

    as soon as i looked at the photo, it looked like roland sands had something to do with it. no bmw should bring to mind roland sands. period.

  • I like the bike as is – love the dual exhaust to off set the drive shaft – love the seat
    (agreed it could be a fraction longer ) & I’d prefer the fairing a tad higher.

    My only consideration is how much will it cost / when will it be ready ..
    & will I be able to get one in South Africa. !!

    I look froward to spoiling myself with this cycle – it’s a forever keeper..

    well done Roland

  • Andrey

    Bloody brilliant bike.
    They need to build it.

  • Pete

    Another typical RSD bike… Boring and unoriginal. Wheels look out of place. Proportions are wonky. And why cover up a single-sided swingarm with an exhaust?

  • Norm G.

    gotta say RSD has done some really great bikes, but this has to be one of his top 5 (if not 3) creations. the wheels are absolutely bananas…! they are one of the best pieces that make they whole bike imo.

    you can almost tell roland told the germans, look guys, i know your’e excited and want to be involved and all, but just stay outta my way, and outta the process… open your checkbooks, and i’ll build you something you won’t regret. i got this.

  • Paul McM

    I love it (and the color)… from the steering head back. The fairing is too styled, too cartoony, too low. And the ultra-low position of the clip-on bars is beyond idiotic. Look at the riding position — the handlebar ends are at the level of the guy’s kneecaps and he’s totally cramped. DER Boss at BMW should have told Roland — “Sketches are great for concept. Now raise the friggin’ bars.” And when Sands starts whining, BMW should have bitch-slapped him. I don’t care if this is a show bike, the riding position is stupid, and ruins the whole project in my view. It’s like viewing a fashion model with rotten teeth. One thing can spoil it all.

  • Nice…….but unrealistic and lots of parts are missing for road use………not to mention the guys that appreciate this R90S homage wouldn’t buy such a rack to ride as they can’t deal with such ergonomics. Ducati tried it with their Sport Classice series and it didn’t fly.

    Hey Tony C….nobody out-does Ducati. Try World Championships how many times ?

  • Richard Gozinya

    @ Pete

    The swingarm is on the other side, along with the drive shaft.

  • Mike Cecchini

    True. Strange there’s no pics of the right side.

  • meatspin

    i like the concept pics better than the real thing. I dont see old BMW guys going for this thing either.

  • Brett

    Where’s the wonky, asymmetrical headlight?

  • Damo

    Not going to lie, I think it is hideous.

  • Grimey Benson

    I will never understand most custom bike builders.

    Why bother putting headlights on your bike when you have no other indicators, brake lights, etc.

    If it is a track only bike, keep the track only looks.

    Shit is weird.

  • SquidleyMcSquidson


    How does the LED bar under the tail section count as no brake lights? Or did you just not look at it before you passed judgement? 7th pic from the bottom. In a lot of places (Texas for example) you don’t have to have turn signals.

  • Grimey Benson


    You maybe right, but it still looks rubbish.

  • CycleBum

    Wicked COOL. All you haters have no taste.

  • paulus – Thailand

    This is a bike designed for the US market.
    CNC accents on black anodised… very much RSD.

    Nice execution, interesting styling. Any bike is better than no bike… rock on, enjoy the ride

  • electricPaul

    The chassis is probably from the upcoming road version of the LoRider concept from about 5 years ago. The new bike will enable BMW to expand their market in a new direction. Namely, a versitile air-cooled twin with proven capability , conventional (upside-down) forks and an accessory range which includes pipes, tanks, tail-sections, wheels, bars, grips, clothing etc. This concept is a halo product to garner attention from the media and the public so that we will all be looking when the new bike is launched later in the year. Roland Sands parts and highlights will be part of the catalogue so that the basic bike can be dressed up to look like the concept.
    Bring it on!

  • paulus – Thailand

    … exactly the same execution as the Ducati Diavel a couple of years back
    RSD concept and accessories package for the US market.
    Well done to RSD for being the go-to guy for Euro bike launch in the USofA

  • kww

    Perhaps this is a sign that BMW will extract their head out of their ass and make a R12S boxer again?

  • Mike Cecchini

    Pull their heads out ? Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

  • TRL

    @paulus – Thailand

    Except that in the case of the Diavel, for the U.S., the target demographic seemed to be the H-D crossover crowd (an awful lot of aging Ducati riders had/have an H-D stashed away as well) so , while horrible, the RSD accessories made sense. I’d be willing to bet that, aside from a few SoCal riders, the demographic for this bike is not very interested in Sand’s thoughts on design and will happily forego the RSD accessories. I could see his influence on this concept possibly hurting rather than helping.

  • Mike Cecchini

    You nailed it.

  • William Walling

    A nice effort by BMW affording Roland an opportunity to exhibit RSD ware.
    Kindly visit my Facebook page to view a ‘Concept Ninety’ cycle as Munich would present such for production.

  • MikeD