Custom experts at work.

The BMW R nineT Soul Fuel Challenge.

An idea from the Netherlands caused a tingling sensation in the fingers of customising experts and fans of customised machines: in collaboration with a famous motorcycle magazine, famous motorcycle builders were invited to develop their very own custom version of the BMW R nineT. Then, from a shortlist of design sketches, the fans voted on which version would ultimately be built for all to see. The name of the idea alone sounds promising: BMW Soul Fuel Challenge.

The BMW R nineT had only just been presented and customising experts in workshops and garages already started to get nervous. This machine was a clear invitation for high-quality customising. It was merely a case of customising it immediately. Since then, the R nineT has already provided stimulus for specialists like Urban Motor, El Solitario, Blitz, Roland Sands and UCC to produce spectacular modifications. The results: wholly different. But all projects do have one thing in common: the dream of personalised motorcycling.
In the Netherlands, BMW Motorrad importers have adopted another interesting approach: custom experts submitted their suggestions for their very own R nineT. In the next stage, fans and interested parties were able to select their favourite model on the basis of the design sketches. So the public was able to determine which truly personalised R nineT draft would become a reality. BMW Motorrad Holland organised the campaign together with BigTwin magazine. And in so doing created the first 'BMW Soul Fuel Challenge'.
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"BMW Elegant Bastard" by Smokin’ Motorcycle.

"BMW Elegant Bastard" by Smokin’ Motorcycle.

Maarten Timmer and Rob van der Heijden of Smokin’ Motorcycle have christened their R nineT-based concept 'BMW Elegant Bastard'. Maarten explains why: “'Elegant' refers to the quality and craftsmanship that is reflected in this machine, such as the hand-crafted aluminium fuel tank or full-grain buffalo leather saddle. We have continued the quality for which BMW is renowned in the appearance of modern CNC-milled aluminium sub-frame and carbon engine covers.

We also plan to have fun with the design and have added some typical Smokin’ Motorcycles' features, such as CNC-machined triple plate, asymmetric clocks and flat handlebars with bar ends finished with leather details.” The result is a clear draft that is not all that radical. But it is so close to the original R nineT that it will surely appeal to many purists.

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"Café-Scrambler" by Arno Koorevaar.

"Café-Scrambler" by Arno Koorevaar.

The design by Arno Koorevaar for his R nineT is difficult to put into a single category. Arno explains: "My custom design for the R nineT is a cross between a café racer and a scrambler. You could say that it has been designed for people who want to go the shortest way to the pub. Even if that means going off-road through meadows and forest paths. The basis of the machine, including chassis and engine block, remain the same, but I want to add a retro café-racer fairing to it, along with some modern elements and a nice headlamp holder.

It may have been designed as a one-seater in the café racer style, but you can simply remove the rear hump. Leaving space for your passenger. I will also raise the exhaust system in order to follow the line style from tank and saddle. I have also fitted an engine protector and raised the front protective plate so that the bulky tyres have room. It also has high and wide handlebars and is painted in silver with blue rims." The result: an unusual combination of café racer, off-road bike and scrambler.

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"HP nineT" by High Octane.

"HP nineT" by High Octane.

There is a great deal of thought behind the HP nineT. The sketch was drawn by Ruben Ooms. The man behind the concept is Jeffry Sol from the High Octane Speed Shop. He explains to us: "I'd like all sheet metal parts to be handmade from aluminium, including the front fender, bikini fairing, lower fairing, rear heat shield, and intake pipe."

The finish will then be a combination of both brushed and polished natural aluminium. Then, on the bare aluminium, I'd like to put a pinstripe. The tank remains the same as the original R nineT. The seat design is inspired by the iconic kidney grille from the 1937 BMW 327, finished with the BMW logo of the time. The exhaust outlet is integrated into the rear seat, fitted with heat shielding and finished with reflective gold foil. The exhaust itself is made entirely of stainless steel with white ceramic coating. At the front end, I'd like to incorporate a JW Speaker LED headlight into the left of the bikini fairing and then on the right side I would have an aluminium inlet that connects to the original R nineT air inlet on the tank.” This is quite clearly an ambitious designer describing an ambitious design.

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