BMW Motorrad fans were treated to the premier of four BMW R nineT motorcycles during BMW Motorrad Days Japan on August 30-31, 2014. Each nineT was a unique custom conversion by leading Japanese customising firms. Go Takamine (Brat Style), Kaichiroh Kurosu (Cherry’s Company), Shiro Nakajima (46 Works) and Hideya Togashi (HIDE Motorcycle) had all taken on the challenge to transform a BMW R nineT into an individual creation of their own design in less than 200 days.
Go Takamine’s creation by the name of “Cyclone” was presented by multiple stunt riding world champion, Chris Pfeiffer. Go Takamine‘s interpretation of the R nineT was in the style of a so-called tracker bike, revealing a light-footed filigree character, crowned by an immaculate color design and paintwork, not to mention numerous chrome components. In Go Takamine’s words, “This street bike is my attempt to combine the past with the near future, in the form of a modern, current motorcycle concealed beneath a nostalgic exterior.”
The “Highway Fighter” from Kaichiroh Kurosu was the result of a stylistic mixture of both historic and current BMW motorcycle elements. Comparisons with the BMW R7 prototype from 1934 are fully justified, even though Kurosu’s creation is essentially a machine that was made in modern production facilities with current styling. Kaichiroh Kurosu put it this way: “For me, the object of the exercise was to look into the future. I imagined what BMW motorcycles might look like 10 years from now, and I think that this would still be a pretty cool bike even if the traditional flat-twin engine were to be replaced by an electric motor.”
In contrast, Shiro Nakajima’s “Clubman Racer” was the result of one man’s passion for perfect riding machines, whether on the road or on the racetrack. In terms of lightweight construction and functionality, his interpretation of the R nineT followed on clearly from his previous projects, which were developed for racing use. In the words of Shiro Nakajima, ‘What I wanted was to create something a bit more sporty than a cafe racer. A motorcycle that you don’t just take into an urban environment or ride over mountains with but one that you can also really enjoy on the racetrack.”
Hideya Togashi’s “Boxer” is a timeless variation in a classic sport design. Its fairing is reminiscent of the racing replicas of the 1970s, bringing forth both memories and yearnings among motorcycling enthusiasts. Hideya Togashi himself told us, ‘The main feature is its slimline aluminium fuel tank. It seems to hug the rider, while the design of the fairing is borrowed from that of nineteen seventies racing models.”
One person who attended the event who was particularly impressed with the creative talents of the four Japanese customisers was Ola Stenegard, head designer at BMW Motorrad of the R nineT.
“I was absolutely bowled-over,” Stenegard said. “I had high expectations—after all these are four of the best customisers in the world, and in the end I went down on my knees. What they have succeeded in creating here is just astounding. Interestingly, each of these bikes also reflects its creator. The ideas and innovations—just incredible and beautiful. The details—amazing. Japan’s culture of customization can be summed up like this—if you need a valve cap then let’s make one. Or if you want full body covering, why not just make it yourself? They don’t simply go out and buy parts. This attitude is somehow rooted in the culture of the Japanese craft trades and it is something I love. This is material for the next level and a perfect complement to the ‘first‘ R nineT family. It is something genuinely inspiring for us at BMW Motorrad. As well as for each and every R nineT owner.”
While the premier of the custom R nineT motorcycles was the highlight of the event, the two-day affair also included a wide range of exhibition stands and round-the-clock entertainment. For more information about BMW Motorrad, visit bmwgroup.com.