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BMW Concept Ninety – Roland Sands


Posted on May 25, 2013 by Scott in Café Racer. 36 comments

Written by Ian Lee.

When a bike manufacturer commissions a special edition bike to be built outside of their factory, they don’t just put their creation in the hands of any nuff nuff who can swing an angle grinder and crimp terminals together. As part of this new trend to work with outside customisers, Yamaha approached Wrenchmonkees, Triumph went to Icon, and now BMW has collaborated with Roland Sands to create a homage to the BMW R90S – the German marque’s bad ass bike of the 1970’s. Forty years after it’s launch, BMW & Roland Sands have reimagined the R90S in a modern vein, while still retaining such touches as the blended paint job, ducktail and bikini fairing the original bike was renowned for. The spirit of the original is retained, with some awesome new design ideas thrown into the mix, making it clear that BMW has chosen the right bike builder for the job.

Visually, the bike is striking. The upper components are painted up in bright Daytona orange as a nod to the original bike. The lower end is splashed with black, R90S badging and othe aluminium hand crafted highlights breaking up the dark visual effect. An LED headlamp, wrapped in a bikini fairing envelops a two gauge meter cluster, RSD clip-ons and levers. The custom tail end is a healthy mix of Moto2 & café racer ducktail, with the paintjob blended from the psychedelic orange of the Daytona paintjob through to a white stripe running up the centre, adorned with a BMW badge. Roland Sands has crafted a lot of the componentry inhouse, but the most standout aspects are RSD wheels wrapped in Dunlop rubber making up the rolling stock. With a café racer styled aesthetique, the Beemer features an almost wedge shaped outline when viewed from the right angle. It features tank cutouts to grip your knees against when testing the flat twin to it’s full capability, and according to BMW’s press release, ‘an attack stance like a sprinter about to explode into action’.

The BMW R90s concepts first public outing is to be at the Villa d’este Concorso Eleganza, generally a car based event but this year with the R90S in attendance, more attention will be given to the motorcycle class. 40 years after the original R90S was released, this collaboration could be the start of something beautiful. A lot of people are asking if BMW could be using the concept as a gauge of public reception, to make a special run of bikes a la Paul Smart LE1000. With no technical specs released, if the bike was to go into production it would have to be able to live up to the name, reminding everyone of what bike it was that won the first AMA superbike championship, and an amazing homage to the bike that broke the mindset that BMW only made good touring bikes.

[Spotted on Ride Apart]








  • MotoTrooper

    Hmmmm, a custom bike that Roland hasn’t made into shit. Maybe BMW had him on a short leash.

    • Ur Momma

      Must have — the ergos look like a 6′ person may actually be able to ride it. Not the usual Sands custom.

      • whynot

        @1:35 “My biggest challenge was we needed to convince Roland Sands to build this bike for us. I thought of bringing over sketches to him, but then I thought need to bring him a prototype of this bike”. Sounds like BMW designed, Roland Sands built.

  • Adam Santella

    Wish I could put tires like that on my bike… id also wish for rain to not exist

  • AWLongmeyer

    Dunno.
    I’m not so ready to sell Roland short.

    Have to study it a bit more to determine if he achieved his typical excremental efforts.

  • bikey mikey

    I like this for what it ISN’T. It ISN’T a pipe-wrapped,Firestone equipped, acid-etched,sawzalled to death, ‘build’ that someone spent all of 1/2hr. working on and somehow got it posted on this,great, blog.
    This has some thought,effort and skill behind it, kiddies! There’s no hiding its faults behind the old, ” but it’s art in the artist’s eyes”, BS.
    While you may not like it, there’s no denying it’s not something just anyone could pull off.
    I think it looks great.

  • VR

    No Telelever in sight, Gott sei Dank!

  • nathas909

    Wow if people are going to be negative about this build, what hope to bike builders have of pleasing people. This thing is amazing.

    I love that front faring, slash headlight slash screen, its brilliant and that exhaust is just superb.

    There are very few BMW customs I would want to own, but this I would fight for.

    • MotoTrooper

      Referencing my comment, I was stating how surprised I was with this build. I’m stating that it looks good -great, in fact. However, Rolly’s overstyling of past ‘look-at-me’ builds has left me with the impression that while he does indeed have skills he didn’t have the taste to go with them. Perhaps I am wrong, perhaps he’s grown creatively. I still think the wheels on this are stupidly over-styled though. But he’s gotta represent his daddy’s business…

  • Darrell Schneider

    This is awesome, it is a very difficult build, not too many people could design/execute this one. I am and always will be a fan of RSD, they are still creative and crafty.

  • This RSD custom and the Galaxy Customs’ BMW are the best custom BMWs I’ve seen:

    • barney fife

      I agree!

  • $30724656

    What does the right hand side of it look like?

    • taka-tz

      In the 6 min. segment of the video there are a couple of shots of the right side. To save you the trouble it looks just like the left side, without the mufflers.

  • hotballs

    the most standout feature being the custom rsd wheels????? like all the other wheels he makes

  • revdub

    Absolutely beautiful design and photography. I’m becoming a fan of RSD.

  • We all know that RSD can be a bit OTT at times, but in my eyes all is forgiven with a build like this. Sure, the wheels are a little too bling, but just look at the thing! Debating it’s merits is pointless. It’s beautiful!

    • JimmyR14

      It would have been very interesting if you had out this bike up for comment without revealing the builder. Most comments here are about Roland Sands and our perception of him, rather than of the bike in question.

      • This is a very true conclusion Jimmy.
        The bike is exceptional, the last two days is in almost every two wheels site or blog, and the most remarkable about this project, in my opinion, is the fact that BMW durst to push the boundaries and create a project, paying homage to its past according to the vibe of the custom moto-scene nowadays.
        We keep moaning that OEM bikes are soulless with no attitude, and all the sudden we have this muscle-stance bike where the past meets the future.
        I wish that BMW will go for a limited production on this one, even an HP version, and may this be the impulse for other companies also, to create similar bikes not only purposeful but with a reviving attitude of the past, when bikes like R-90 were badass !

    • coldsunshine

      OTT is a relative term.

    • barney fife

      I don’t get “the wheels are too bling”…I think they’re very reminiscent of alloy wheel styles from the 70’s. They look great. Much of the rest of the bike is a monotone so the wheels are needed.

  • Roland hit it out of the park with this build. I can’t find any fault – it’s beautiful.

  • Love the paint and bodywork, but the wheels are 100% pimpmobile. Black Marchesinis or something like that would have mellowed it to the point of having a ton more class. The rear view is awesome!!

    • Ur Momma

      I vote for some CF Lester replicas.

      • After watching the video, I think it looked great with wire wheels! And the billet wheels looked really good with the bodywork off. Maybe the combo is too much bling. Beautiful project regardless!!

  • coldsunshine

    I like it. I’m not sure why it’s making people so pissy. Seems to be a solid representation of a ‘cafe fighter.’

  • coldsunshine

    This may sound harsh, and I may be mistaken, but the video feels like BMW re-imagined one of their bikes…oh yeah, and Roland Sands was there too.

  • MF

    Seems I’m the only one who thinks the wheels are a great addition. Sure, possibly not utterly perfect, but beautiful nonetheless. This is a gorgeous bike, really amazing. Well played RSD.

    • coldsunshine

      I think the wheels are fine.

  • BoxerFanatic

    I am not sure I have ever wanted a bike more, ever.

    The only thing better, would be if it had Duolever on the front.

    A bullet half fairing on a new BMW boxer, as a neo-R90S… Top of my list.

    BMW’s version of a Sport Classic, with shaft drive, and easier cylinder access.

    • Richard Gozinya

      Looks like it has the torturous riding position down already.

  • rennie61

    What a great merging of the past and future. Shows that modern bikes could look beautiful too.
    Personally I think one should take a bike on merit rather than worry about who built it. Who cares, if it looks this good? Plus it’s a great advertisement for the big bike manufacturers to hook-up with more custom shops. Like when Kawasaki commissioned the Spirit W800 and Yamaha got WM to do the XJR 1300. More please.

  • barney fife

    Dammed sexy. Never mind “a limited run”…bring THIS bike back full time. They’ll sell like hot cakes.

  • Tunafish76

    The metal flake paint is not a normal association with BMW in my mind, but orange begs for another pairing of any sort I guess?

  • Hamish Lamont

    It is lovely but… IMHO: the tank is too big (relative to other parts) or the tail is too small, perhaps the fairing and tail need a tad more more length, the fairing is too ‘pointy’. And it’s too blingy in the cylinder head and wheel dept, i.e. carriers and wheels need to be lighter in both look and appearance. Having said that, it’s a gorgeous awesome effort, which I’m sure would find a market.

  • Nuno Miguel Oliveira

    Awsome BIke, built it fast!