The R nineT by Bayerische Motoren Werke “or BMW as they are more popularly known” was released in 2014 to coincide with the 90th anniversary (hence its name) of the companies entry to the market of motorcycle manufacturing. In it’s simple purity, the R nineT represents many of the styling aesthetics of BMW’s most popular motorcycles from the past 50 years or so, bringing a modern twist to iconic european lines and the quintessential twin cylinder flat or as some like to call it “boxer” engine.
Borrowing technology from the existing motorcycle lineup at BMW, the R nineT features many modern comforts such as ABS brakes and a six speed transmission yet omits many features commonly found on contemporary motorcycles that have been said to detract from the purist experience of motorcycling like traction control and adjustable throttle maps. This iconic Deutsch brand definitely knew that a renaissance of motoring was approaching after the success of their twenty-first century retake on the classic Mini Cooper and similarly the Volkswagen Beetle - The R nineT unlike its four wheeled compadres was made with the consumers desires in mind with a host of intentional design features functioning to nurture owners creative customisations and individuality.
This particular example was brought to Gasoline Motor Co in the winter of 2015 by a longstanding exemplary customer with as much style as money - making for one of Gasoline’s most ongoing and precise builds to date. In fact, the entirety of this custom job has been an exercise of measurement, evaluation and calibration, starting with changing the standard foot pegs to rear sets, the factory handlebars with a set of clip-ons and a tailored seat pan - all positioned and adjusted specifically to accommodate the owners height and stance.
Once the geometry had been finalised, the team at Gasoline Motor Co got stuck into the design of the whole project from the wheels up, conjuring multiple preliminary concepts whilst looking to various sources from the past, present and future eventuating in a behemoth of a build that took almost and entire year to complete.
Aesthetically speaking, the most obvious beginning point for any custom R nineT build is to address the inverted forks, which are metallic gold upon rolling from the factory, a peculiar design choice indeed. The obvious solution when it comes to changing the colour of any motorcycle component is paint, with powder coating coming in at a close second and the occasional chrome plating but with the precision manufacturing standards of BMW, adding even a couple of microns would have resulted in a difficult task of reinstalling the front end assembly. So, the solution was found in having the fork tubes anodised black to fit in with the overall desired design outcome.
Following the blacked out theme, some additional componentry was sourced from the likes of Roland Sands Designs including one of their signature breast plates (unobscured in clear sight by a custom relocated oil cooling system) and a couple of their RSD emblazoned valve covers which more or less ends the list of purpose built bolt on modifications with the rest of the work performed on 2-SHOT being completely custom one-of-a-kind fabrications skilfully carried out by the various hands of master artisanal craftsmen and women. Beginning with the most distinctive feature of this custom build, the fairing, shark tail section, fender and tank - all of which were hand beaten and rolled out of aircraft grade 6061 aluminium alloy, totalling hundreds of hours (and rivets) to get the design symmetrical and flowing with the lines of the frame.
The finish was left to the manufacturing process with each tooling mark, abrasion and indentation being left visible to the eye with the exception of a narrow GT stripe which was slowly smoothed into the surface with sequentially lessening grades of sand paper and ever trusty Scotch-Brite pads to leave a uniform raw section running the entire body length of the bike. Protection and luster come from several layers of specially formulated matte finish clear coat which offers much needed oxidisation prevention and a smooth feel to the metal of which the body is comprised.
Finishing off the stream line pieces (and ensuring street legality) comes a super bright LED halo headlight precisely integrated in centre position, a set of bar end indicators up front to minimise superfluous protrusions and an all in one LED tail light blinker combination at the business end of the bike with light emitting diodes continuing their presence as a super bright bank above a custom side mounted licence plate bracket.
The metal work and fabrication was far from over with precision welding just getting warmed up on the opposing twins exhaust and intake with laborious measurements being performed to ensure that correct angles were cut and fused to create not only replacement structures for the existing rubber air intake channels but also for the 1170 cubic centimeter engine’s exhaust forming a unique two-into-one underbox style, side ported muffler which creates an instantly recognisable primordial rumble that informs all within ear²shot that this R nineT is not here to mess about.
Gasoline’s finishing touches for this BMW include perforated black leather for the custom alloy seat pan, once again all hand fabricated and upholstered. A fuel cap designed and milled in house at Gasoline Motor Co. A custom smoke tinted impact resistant perspex windshield and a digital radio-frequency identified keyless ignition integrated conveniently under seat allowing for the rider to simply jump on and go with no need to fumble around in their pocket for a key.
As aforementioned, an almost incalculable number of hours have been spent meticulously ensuring that each constituent of this hand crafted motorcycle surpasses even the most discerning judgements with no element left untouched, unfinished or without methodical attention.
Thanks to Thomas Wielecki for the amazing photos.