BMW Motorrad France recently ran an online competition open to custom fans in France to submit a design for a customised BMW R nineT. From the many entries received, an official judging panel has selected three bikes to go forward into a global online vote to decide the winning machine. Your vote can make a difference in the final decision that will be made on 4 May, so visit the web special, choose your favourite 9T and push that button...
The stakes are high: the winner will achieve fame and fortune by way of a new 9T and €10,000 to create a working version of his or her winning design.
As a basis for personal customisation, BMW’s 9T was designed exactly for that purpose. In standard trim it is a stunning looking bike, but given the choice of ‘tailoring’ a 9T to suit one’s own taste and style then who wouldn’t want to apply a little piece of self-expression for a unique look?
As the many 9T owner photos appearing world-wide show, it seems this unique roadster has indeed proven to be a formidable basis for customisation. Without doubt these home projects have been spurred on by some of the big hitters of urban customisation extending their wealth of creative talent across the 9T’s flanks. Notable projects have already been completed by Blitz Motorcycles, Roland Sands, UCC, Urban Motor and many others, including four special machines from a Japanese quartet of top bike builders.
Not surprisingly, the R nineT Custom Competition set by BMW Motorrad France received a huge amount of interest. All the quality designs submitted were carved down to just three by a panel of professional judges. The selected three finalists behind the designs have remained anonymous so far and will continue to do so until final voting is completed on 4 May with the winner announced on 6 May. Anonymity ensures impartiality, but as can be seen on the voting page of Custom Contest (http://customcontest.motobmw.fr/index.html#/), the anonymous designers have explained the reasoning behind their choice of custom style and the inspiration for such a machine…
The three selected designs going to the public vote are indeed worthy of their placement. “Project 1” has been tagged by its creator ‘Heritage 37’ in respect of the year 1937 – the year legendary BMW rider and speed racer Ernst Henne set his final record-setting top speed figure of 279.5 km/h astride a supercharged 500cc Boxer-powered machine. In the words of the Project 1 designer: “The combination of clean lines and technical modernity is a success on this bike. This was the case of the 1937 model that has inspired us and which dates back nearly 80 years. What pleases me in this challenge is to respect this spirit to the letter.”
‘Project 2’ is altogether different and a change in direction for the 9T that has never been seen before – a creditable starting point for a customisation challenge if ever there was. “I started from the question: ‘What has not yet been proposed on R nineT?’” said the designer of Inglorious Basterds. “The project is inspired by the early BMW outfits, a nod to these special sidecars that made history. We want beautiful finishes, with leather and aluminium elements, but also a driving experience and seating comfort worthy of the brand.”
The final podium position is ‘Project 3’, a machine that also draws heavily on BMW Motorrad history and is also arguably the most technically complex to construct of the three finalists. On the drawing board the machine is seen to have a slammed chassis and the engine features a turbocharger. Aptly named the “Georg Meier Special”, this bike owes its title and powerful stance to famous BMW racer Georg Meier who became the European and German 500cc champion in 1938 and defended this title in 1939. In the same year Meier also achieved the first non-British win in the famed Isle of Man Senior TT.
The three finalists were not chosen at random. An official ‘jury’ was elected to undertake the selection process; this jury was made up of five influential seats occupied by:
• Fred Krugger – twice winner of the AMD World Championship of Custom Building, 2012 and 2014. Krugger’s 2014 bike was based on the BMW Motorrad K 1600 GT six-cylinder touring machine
• Ola Stenegärd – Head of Design BMW Motorrad. The man responsible for the origination of R nineT and who also likes to build and customise bikes in his own time.
• January Kounen – author, film and documentary director and confirmed motorcycle nut. Loves the new wave of BMW inspired custom machines.
• Marcel Driessen – Director BMW Motorrad France. Driessen has been involved with motorcycle sales and marketing for most of his life to date and lists attention to detail and originality as requisites for a cool custom bike.
• John & Nico – founders of popular French blog site 4h10.com dedicated to custom and free expression.
The jury admit to taking time in choosing their final three machines to go forward to the public voting process. Not just because of the amount of entries but also because of the quality of thought behind the designs. But even with just three finalists going forward the jury has made viable comments about each entrant’s design. The final decision on which design makes it to fruition depends on the public. Final voting day is 4 May 2015. Make your vote now and if your chosen design wins then you can honestly tell your friends that you helped build that bike. Press the button at http://customcontest.motobmw.fr/index.html#/
Find out more about BMW R nineT at www.bmw-motorrad.com/rninet