Roland Sands takes BMW's retro bike waaaaaay back to the 1930s with the R NineT Classic

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RSD BMW R NineT Classic: looks the goods as a retro roadster, but still wheelies like the 110-horsepower beast it is.(Credit: Roland Sands Design)

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Taking inspiration from 1930s-era classic Beemers, Roland Sands has had another crack at overhauling BMW's massively successful retro roadster. The RSD R NineT Classic is a distinctive looker that goes as hard as any of Sands' customs.

BMW's terrific R NineT has proven itself to be a gift that keeps on giving for custom motorcycle builders. Something about that boxer engine, the simple subframe, the wrong-way-round single sided swinger … it's been a huge success.

BMW itself has turned it into a retro racer and a scrambler. Four Japanese tuners made vastly different bikes out of it. And now it's time for Roland Sands, who had a lot of input on the retro racer project, to have a second crack at it.

Taking the 1937 BMW R5 as inspiration, Sands wanted to channel the style of pre-WW2 Beemers. The teardrop tank, the small black headlight, the blacked-out forks, the oversized fenders and fender-mounted license plate.

To that end, Sands engaged Sosa Metal Works to fabricate the frame, tank and fender work – the first time RSD has outsourced such a job, because the in-house team was too busy. The forks went to GP suspension for internal upgrades, and the shock went in the bin for a sportier Ohlins model.

Sands plonked a 19-inch front wheel on, as is his wont, but added sticky tires and aggressive brakes, because the man likes to ride his creations hard, no matter how pretty they are.

The rest is in the details. The tiny solo seat, the multiplicit covers and bezels and monogrammed bits and pieces, the clear viewing ports in either side of the fuel tank to check your petrol levels, and the custom RSD twin exhaust system (which Sands says runs well without any tuning whatsoever). Sadly the exhausts don't mimic the old R5's fishtail jobs.

The end result looks great, if a little awkward from some angles – but more importantly, it sure seems to ride like a rocket, if Sands' promo video is anything to go by. Check out that snarling exhaust sound!

Click through on any of the pics for a huge gallery of close-up detail shots to enjoy.

View gallery - 20 images

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