Hate to admit it, but I am not an automotive person – in fact, before I met my husband, I could barely distinguish between a sedan and a hatchback (yikes!). All of that changed when I started working with YD, after all seeing the designs we gather here on a day to day basis that are so innovative in their essence that we can’t really remain unaffected! While cars have their benefits, I am a bike rider and proud – there is something incredibly provocative about the power of a bike as you ride it and no one brings the potential of that power out like the BMW bikes – real and conceptual. BMW bikes have such a hardcore fan base, that there is no lack of designs and I am sure as you browse this curated collection, there are bikes that will shock you, amaze you, and make you rethink your idea of a bike but each of them will, for sure, inspire you!
Mehmet Doruk Erdem’s “Khan” is an eclectic mix of unbelievable, dangerous, and beautiful. Erdem’s “Khan” concept takes a BMW R 1100 R twin-cylinder boxer engine and giving them an absolutely new lease of life, with a front-heavy wasp-inspired exterior and an almost naked frame at the rear, much like Erdem’s Alpha concept, and dominated by an extremely large rear wheel, and a seat in the middle, resting on a twin-suspension. There isn’t much method to Erdem’s madness, or maybe I don’t spot it, but the Khan is surely a beautiful beast.
Meet the BMW R9T, a one-off customized version of BMW’s new R18 cruiser, by the guys at Moscow-based Zillers Garage. It retains the R18’s internal build but comes with a redesigned outer body, made entirely from fabricated aluminum parts. The bike comes with a relatively closed design that integrates all its elements, from the headlight, all the way till the tail-light into a single unified mass with a naked metal finish that gives it its raw, post-apocalyptic appeal. It comes with a menacing HID lamp at the front, and a taillight mounted on a sliding rear that you can open to access the bike’s electricals. The bike’s dashboard gets integrated right into its fuel-tank, into displays that lie recessed into the bodywork in a way that’s clearly visible to the rider.
The Motorrad Vision 100 makes the bike truly autonomous and insanely smart. Which leads to the death of the helmet. If your bike won’t crash, you won’t need protective headgear, right? However, there’s some face-gear in question. The helmet gets replaced by AR glasses that act as the interface display for when you drive. They also keep the dust out of your eyes. The new method of driving the bike comes naturally to the user as most of the work is done by the automobile itself. The aesthetics obviously take on an absolutely new avatar, while still retaining the bike-esque elements. Tires grow wider so that the bike may stand/balance on its own, and the tire pattern, a triangular matrix (if you notice keenly) goes to become somewhat a symbol for BMW’s Vision 100 design challenge.
This is the closest BMW is to designing an electric scooter for the production lines, as the final version is not going to much different from the Definition CE 04. Edgar Heinrich, Head of Design at BMW Motorrad says, “ The BMW Motorrad Definition CE 04 is the logical continuation of the electromobility strategy for urban conurbations and provides a concrete preview of what a contemporary production vehicle could look like, with which we will take two-wheel electric mobility in metropolitan areas to a new level, both technically and visually.” The electric scooter designed for short city rides (approx. 12 km per day) is a true amalgam of urban styling and digitally connected aesthetics that will ultimately define the future. It is unlike any other scooter on the roads with a low profile, an elongated design that rises diagonally at the front to create a silhouette for a modern look. The low battery positioning gives more freedom for storing things like a helmet or a laptop bag. To give the cool ride its distinct character, there is the dual-tone – Mineral White metallic and a matt black well complemented by the hints of orange. Interestingly, BMW Motorrad has left the drive unit, cooling ribs, single-sided swingarm, spring strut, and tooth belt exposed to give a sneak-peak into the innards. The U-shaped front LED lights and the C shaped rear lights also lend a distinct appeal to the Cyberpunk 2077 worthy look.
This conceptual electric BMW Motorrad blended with El Solitario MC elements is nothing like we’ve seen before in the e-bike world. It is bringing retro sidecars back with a cool new makeover! This electric motorcycle is designed for long-distance journeys keeping in mind any tough conditions that can come up on the way. The aesthetic has been inspired by the iconic Ural motorcycles with the designer adding his own modern twist on the post-WWII BMW customs. Why is this e-bike different from the rest you ask? Because it swaps the traditional passenger cart for a sidecar which will be equipped with tools and essential gear. The extra storage space also includes straps to hold down the cargo or tools you are carrying and with a flat base, there is room for extra batteries too.
At first glance, the BMW Motorrad Birdcage looks like a 3D model viewed in wireframe mode. It’s easy to make that mistake, because the Birdcage, sure enough, has an incredible, wireframe-inspired design. Designed as an homage to the BMW Motorrad boxer engine the company developed 50 years ago, the Birdcage houses the absolutely stunning piece of engineering in a titanium see-through mesh-esque cage that gives the engine the attention it deserves. The titanium frame allows the curvilinear boxer engine to be viewed from practically every angle and was assembled along with the other individually crafted components such as handlebars, footrests, shift lever, seat, and unique carbon suspension.
Meet designer Bernard Nauman, or Blechmann, as is the nickname bestowed upon him. The Giggerl is a custom version of the BMW R NineT, modded so much that one wouldn’t ever recognize it. From curvaceous beauty, Blechmann takes the R NineT to new heights with an aesthetic that makes you want to fear and respect the motorbike, with its aggressive and incredibly futuristic style. Blechmann makes rather fantastic use of sheet metal, creating multiple planar surfaces placed at positions making the motorbike look ripped.
Informed by bold, brutalist design cues found in urban setups and modern architecture, the R Nine T-X by Hyun Jik Song takes a different approach to designing a superior two-wheeler. Instead of an overly aggressive design, faceted paneling, brutish chassis, an abundance of air-intakes, and saturated color-schemes, the BMW Motorrad R Nine T-X concept opts for simple shapes, a sensible design approach, and subtle palettes. The result is a remarkable bike that’s difficult to ignore. It’s commanding yet unaggressive, and clearly looks like the adult in the room. An interesting part of the BMW Motorrad R Nine T-X is the way it’s built. Rather than having a standard chassis forming the frame for the entire bike, the R Nine T-X sports a central mass which holds all the bike’s innards, and acts as the supporting element for all of the bike’s parts, including the two wheels which branch out from it, and a snap-on frame that holds the seat/saddle.
Created on the request of automobile-patron Bobby Haas (of the Haas Moto Museum), the Good Ghost’s aesthetic evolves on the other two bikes in Kingston’s Phantom Series, with a design that feels more superior and like an evolutionary progression. In classic Kingston fashion, the custom comes with little to no change to the bike’s original chassis. Everything is additive, with painstakingly hand-shaped 2mm-thick aluminum paneling covering the underlying structure of the bike in glorious steampunk fashion. The bike’s bulbous body-work sort of feels like a floating ghost, with a sheet draped over it. The outer clad conceals both wheels, and comes with a continuous leather saddle that goes from the dashboard to the very end. This design detail involved cutting into the fuel-tank, but Dirk fixed that problem by fabricating a small fuel cell to sit behind the transmission, with an external fuel pump to send the gas where it needs to go.
I can’t stop looking at that hand-shaped tank! But that’s just the first noticeable thing about this ambitious custom BMW R100R cafe racer build by Paul Brauchart and Philipp Rabl of Austria-based Vagabund Moto. The stripped-down, streamlined design also sports near-seamless seat integration to the tank with a built-in taillight, a matching front mudguard and headlight shell, minimalist Motogadget turn signals, and sleek black powder-coated rims. Even more interesting is a leather-clad secret compartment under the hinged seat for keeping accouterments.