BMW Shows the Custom-Built Bike Scene Some Respect

It’s no secret that we here at knowmadic news are two-wheel enthusiasts (hence, our logo). Actually, if we had our way everyone on the planet would be on two wheels—by engine or by pedal, it makes no difference. Both are fine by us. Cars are for the injured, the elderly, or the pregnant (much like those designated seats on buses and subways next to the door)… and, according to most reports, not exactly healthy for Mother Earth either.

So when we hear about big business, craftsmen, and motorcycles doing something warm and wonderful together, we get the chills and turn into geeky kids, giggling and envious that we weren’t somehow near the situation.


Last year, BMW Motorrad kicked off a project to help launch their 2014 R nineT motorcycle line. They searched out the help of four of the top custom bike designers in the world—all just so happened to be Japanese—to remake the 2014 R nineT in their own image.

Ola Stenegard, Head of Vehicle Design for BMW Motorrad, has stated that inspiration for the 2014 R nineT came from the Japanese custom-built bike scene—a scene that has given the American chopper scene a run for its money. As such, the project must have felt like a natural choice to the German motorcycle maker.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the project was that BMW didn’t set any boundaries—as only true motorcycle enthusiasts would. They gave the designers complete carte blanche, allowing them to cut, bang, hack, weld, change, paint, and customize at will.

The outcome was a beautiful display of high-level craftsmanship that would leave any practicing gearhead feeling more than just a bit inadequate.

It’s no secret that Japanese designers, in any industry, are some of the most talented and detailed designers around… and Shiro Nakajima, Hideya Togashi, Go Takamine, and Kaichiro Kurosu certainly did not disappoint. Their stunning designs are sure to make a big splash, not only in the motorcycle world but also on BMW Motorrad designers as well.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

And the finale…

  • Fuji

    I’ll take them all!