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Top Japanese custom builders reveal creations based on the BMW R nineT

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September 3, 2014

The four project nineT custom designers with their creations - and BMW Head of Vehicle Des...

The four project nineT custom designers with their creations - and BMW Head of Vehicle Design Ole Stenegard in the centre with the standard R nineT

Image Gallery (32 images)

BMW's R nineT was conceived to be a sexy roadster in its own right, with easy entry points for owners to begin customizing their bikes right away. To demonstrate the nineT's potential, BMW Japan gave four bikes to four of Japan's best custom builders and today the resulting bikes were released. The outcomes will not disappoint; four beautiful customs that cry out to be ridden, and ridden hard.

BMW's R nineT is quite possibly the brand's best looking motorcycle right out of the crate. It's a retro-futuristic, boxer-engined cruiser/scrambler/nakedbike with a deep black paint job and a set of fiery golden forks to draw attention to a muscular front end.

The stock BMW R nineT

We're playing with one at the moment (video and review is in the pipeline), but as fun and satisfying as the nineT is to ride, you can't escape the mesmerizing looks of the thing.

Of course, anything good can be made better, and BMW has specifically designed the nineT to give owners an easy point of entry to start customizing. Six bolts and the pillion subframe comes off, another few and the back seat comes off altogether. There's a cafe racer-style seat hump and kits to change the angle of the exhaust right there in the parts catalog.

But to demonstrate the bike's custom potential more thoroughly, BMW Motorrad Japan gave a nineT each to four of Japan's top motorcycle custom builders for the last six months. Today, all four complete bikes were revealed, and there's a couple of absolute crackers in there.

46 Works, by Shiro Nakajima

Custom builder Shiro Nakajima's 46 Works bike
Custom builder Shiro Nakajima's 46 Works bike

A keen track rider, Nakajima felt the nineT needed a slightly racier treatment. The 46 Works custom is a bare bones cafe racer concept with a stripped-back design that highlights the nineT's two key frame elements – the trellis headstem and the triangular rear subframe support.

Low clip-on bars make for a more aggressive riding position than the wide stock handlebar, and should make the nineT a pleasure for Nakajima on the racetrack.

Hide Motorcycle, by Hidden Togashi

Custom builder Hideya Togashi's Hide Motorcycle bike
Custom builder Hideya Togashi's Hide Motorcycle bike

Togashi describes his process as one of trial and error, creating shapes again and again in the workshop until he feels he has the perfect line. The Hide Motorcycle entry gives the nineT a retro race bike treatment with a sweeping front fairing wrapping the front end and leaving room for the big Boxer engine's cylinders to poke out the sides.

The exhaust is moved over to the right side of the bike beside the shaft drive, leaving the spoked rear wheel visible from the left side uninterrupted by the swingarm.

Brat Style, by Go Takamine

Custom builder Go Takamine's Brat Style bike
Custom builder Go Takamine's Brat Style bike

Go Takamine has performed a magic trick by taking the bulky, 1200cc nineT and somehow carving a svelte, 70s style dirt tracker out of it. High, wide bars, with impossibly thin forks and a drum brake on the front spark the look off, then dual megaphone pipes, a tiny gas tank and minimalist seat unit finish it off.

Somehow, in the middle of it all, the giant Boxer engine seems to shrink to visually fit the design, and you can completely imagine Steve McQueen taking this thing sideways around a pack of farmers in a scramble race, On Any Sunday style.

Cherry's Company, by Kaichiro Kurosu

Custom builder Kaichiro Kurosu's Cherry's Company bike
Custom builder Kaichiro Kurosu's Cherry's Company bike

It's hard to classify this bike, simply because it doesn't seem to adhere to any particular genre of customization. Kurosu is generally known as a Harley custom guy, who makes classic choppers - but his work on the nineT is a world away from those shapes. He admits he struggled to get his head around the Beemer, but his entry is arguably the most revolutionary of the lot.

Bold, black, filled-in wheel rims begin the chunky visuals of this bike, and Kurosu has covered the frame elements entirely with a series of curved lines that fan out from the point where the front tire touches the road. The bellypanstarts another curved line that meets up with the thin tailpiece and the overall impression is of muscle, speed and class. Kurosu may have been concerned that this bike wouldn't compare favorably with his chopper work, but I think he's created an absolute beauty here.

The four Project nineT Custom bikes, with a stock R nineT in the center

Enjoy the many photos in the gallery, and stay tuned for our R nineT road test review, coming soon!

More information: Project nineT.

About the Author
Loz Blain Loz has been one of Gizmag's most versatile contributors since 2007. Joining the team as a motorcycle specialist, he has since covered everything from medical and military technology to aeronautics, music gear and historical artefacts. Since 2010 he's branched out into photography, video and audio production, and he remains the only Gizmag contributor willing to put his name to a sex toy review. A singer by night, he's often on the road with his a cappella band Suade.   All articles by Loz Blain
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7 Comments

Very cool rides. Nice to see a corporate entity encouraging such creativity.

MzunguMkubwa
3rd September, 2014 @ 05:32 am PDT

Nice bikes, too bad the pix aren't more informative.

mookins
3rd September, 2014 @ 10:40 am PDT

Pretty cool looking machines, but I feel disappointed that the best that 'The Best Japanese Custom Builder's' could come up with is a re-hash of the old classic styles - retro racer, dirt tracker, cafe racer.....et al. Hell, I could do that...

Where is the innovation and originality ?

Martin Hone
3rd September, 2014 @ 08:52 pm PDT

I must be getting old, why do all bikes now have the stupid 'number plate on a stick' look for compliance when that is the perfect place for a light rack?

Everybody has to carry something at some point.

That is the 'mesmerizing' bit for me, otherwise it is quite a looker.

Ozuzi
3rd September, 2014 @ 09:59 pm PDT

Martin Hone, I know exactly what you mean. For me tho this is a pleasant change of pace.

I can't stand all of these hot rod car programs where all they seem to make are those blasted chopped top, flames on the side Model whatever cars. Or the other programs (a certain father/son duo comes to mind) about custom motorcycles and all they aver seem to make are choppers.

Anywho ... to each their own.

MK23666
4th September, 2014 @ 08:34 am PDT

When is someone going to learn how to take the photos we want to see? Pix after pix of long shots, glamour shots, pix with the maker/designer, smoking the rear wheel. I don't care about any of these. I want to see the bike, up close and personal, and I want to see what they did and maybe even how they did it. The first 10 shots show me nothing about the bikes at all. #11 is a shot of a front wheel, whipee! 12 and 13 show that the rear wheel can still spin, again, nothing new. I finally start to see something at #14, but again they are all shots designed by a fashion photog, and not a bike photog. I don't care about the background, the setting, the darn warehouse. Show me the bike(s), please.

Glen Jacobsen
4th September, 2014 @ 09:00 am PDT

I really like the first bike! The one before the "designers" got a hold of it.

BMW wins!

But then loses 4 in a row.

Sorry to see four BMW R nineTs wind up looking worse.

I wonder if they would give me one to ruin?

Dr. Veritas
4th September, 2014 @ 02:10 pm PDT
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