Motorcycles

BMW Motorrad's Concept 9cento points the way to a new model

BMW Motorrad's Concept 9cento ...
The BMW  9cento is only a concept, but we'd rate the chances of it being on showroom floors within two years as very high
The BMW  9cento is only a concept, but we'd rate the chances of it being on showroom floors within two years as very high
View 44 Images
What is most obvious from the 9cento is the unprecedented levels of mass centralization, most obvious in the above image taken during the development of the bike
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What is most obvious from the 9cento is the unprecedented levels of mass centralization, most obvious in the above image taken during the development of the bike
BMW Motorrad has developed two motorcycling jackets to go with the 9cento. The pictured sports version features a combination of leather and kevlar with integrated 3D-printed shoulder protectors.
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BMW Motorrad has developed two motorcycling jackets to go with the 9cento. The pictured sports version features a combination of leather and kevlar with integrated 3D-printed shoulder protectors.
BMW Motorrad 9cento on debut at this year’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este
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BMW Motorrad 9cento on debut at this year’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este
The addition of the panniers makes that narrow pillion seat look a lot more comfortable.
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The addition of the panniers makes that narrow pillion seat look a lot more comfortable.
The BMW  9cento is only a concept, but we'd rate the chances of it being on showroom floors within two years as very high
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The BMW  9cento is only a concept, but we'd rate the chances of it being on showroom floors within two years as very high
No weight has been claimed for the 9cento, but it sure looks like it has been pared away to the bare essentials.
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No weight has been claimed for the 9cento, but it sure looks like it has been pared away to the bare essentials.
It is difficult to show the fine detail of the BMW 9cento in images, but close up, it's a treat.
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It is difficult to show the fine detail of the BMW 9cento in images, but close up, it's a treat.
The BMW  9cento is only a concept, but we'd rate the chances of it being on showroom floors within two years as very high
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The BMW  9cento is only a concept, but we'd rate the chances of it being on showroom floors within two years as very high
BMW Motorrad 9cento on debut at this year’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este
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BMW Motorrad 9cento on debut at this year’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este
BMW Motorrad 9cento on debut at this year’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este
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BMW Motorrad 9cento on debut at this year’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este
BMW Motorrad 9cento on debut at this year’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este
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BMW Motorrad 9cento on debut at this year’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este
BMW Motorrad 9cento on debut at this year’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este
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BMW Motorrad 9cento on debut at this year’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este
BMW Motorrad 9cento on debut at this year’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este
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BMW Motorrad 9cento on debut at this year’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este
No weight has been claimed for the 9cento, but it sure looks like it has been pared away to the bare essentials.
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No weight has been claimed for the 9cento, but it sure looks like it has been pared away to the bare essentials.
The current F800S with traditional panniers highlights BMW's wish to find a better way. All that weight so far from the center of mass does nothing for any bike's handling. The 9cento's mass centralization theme and the relatively small volume of the pannier boxes will help to minimize those enjoyment-killing moments of inertia.
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The current F800S with traditional panniers highlights BMW's wish to find a better way. All that weight so far from the center of mass does nothing for any bike's handling. The 9cento's mass centralization theme and the relatively small volume of the pannier boxes will help to minimize those enjoyment-killing moments of inertia.
The strength of the vertical twin BMW motor is that it produces very strong mid-range and usable, controlable power, as evidenced by riding the F850GS on dirt.
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The strength of the vertical twin BMW motor is that it produces very strong mid-range and usable, controlable power, as evidenced by riding the F850GS on dirt.
The Project 9cento name signifies it is a 900. Whether that's a 900cc class motorcycle which has the same 853cc capacity vertical twin engine of the F850GS, or a full 900cc, we don't know. Prior art is not a reliable guide as recent F Series models have strayed from traditional nomenclature. The F 750 GS and F850GS both share the same liquid-cooled, parallel-twin 853cc engine, with 57 kW (77 hp) and 70 kW (95 hp) maximum power respectively. Significantly revised once already during its 12 year lifetime (both engines pictured), the strength of the vertical twin BMW motor is that it produces very strong mid-range and usable power, so it will be interesting to see if the mooted production bike actually gets stretched to 900cc or simply gets a further power boost and a new name. Regardless, 100 plus horses seems likely.
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The Project 9cento name signifies it is a 900. Whether that's a 900cc class motorcycle which has the same 853cc capacity vertical twin engine of the F850GS, or a full 900cc, we don't know. Prior art is not a reliable guide as recent F Series models have strayed from traditional nomenclature. The F 750 GS and F850GS both share the same liquid-cooled, parallel-twin 853cc engine, with 57 kW (77 hp) and 70 kW (95 hp) maximum power respectively. Significantly revised once already during its 12 year lifetime (both engines pictured), the strength of the vertical twin BMW motor is that it produces very strong mid-range and usable power, so it will be interesting to see if the mooted production bike actually gets stretched to 900cc or simply gets a further power boost and a new name. Regardless, 100 plus horses seems likely.
The 9cento name signifies it is a 900. Whether that's a 900cc class motorcycle which has the same 853cc capacity vertical twin engine of the F850GS, or a full 900cc, we don't know. Prior art is not a reliable guide as recent F Series models have strayed from traditional nomenclature. The F 750 GS and F850GS (pictured above) both share the same liquid-cooled, parallel-twin 853cc engine, with 57 kW (77 hp) and 70 kW (95 hp) maximum power respectively.
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The 9cento name signifies it is a 900. Whether that's a 900cc class motorcycle which has the same 853cc capacity vertical twin engine of the F850GS, or a full 900cc, we don't know. Prior art is not a reliable guide as recent F Series models have strayed from traditional nomenclature. The F 750 GS and F850GS (pictured above) both share the same liquid-cooled, parallel-twin 853cc engine, with 57 kW (77 hp) and 70 kW (95 hp) maximum power respectively.
These are the road versions of the BMW vertical twin currently available - could the 9cento become a third model in this line-up? You bet!
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These are the road versions of the BMW vertical twin currently available - could the 9cento become a third model in this line-up? You bet!
"It doesn't always have to be about 'bolder, bigger, brighter' nowadays: this concept bike focuses on achieving a sense of balance," says Edgar Heinrich, Head of Design BMW Motorrad, pictured at Villa d'Este explaining the bike to a select group of journalists
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"It doesn't always have to be about 'bolder, bigger, brighter' nowadays: this concept bike focuses on achieving a sense of balance," says Edgar Heinrich, Head of Design BMW Motorrad, pictured at Villa d'Este explaining the bike to a select group of journalists
"The BMW Motorrad Concept 9cento is our interpretation of a modern all-rounder for the new mid-range segment," says Edgar Heinrich, Head of Design BMW Motorrad, pictured at Villa d'Este explaining the bike to a select group of journalists.
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"The BMW Motorrad Concept 9cento is our interpretation of a modern all-rounder for the new mid-range segment," says Edgar Heinrich, Head of Design BMW Motorrad, pictured at Villa d'Este explaining the bike to a select group of journalists.
The BMW Motorrad Concept 9cento during the parade and presentation of models at this year’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este. That's the urban chic jacket being worn with the bike.
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The BMW Motorrad Concept 9cento during the parade and presentation of models at this year’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este. That's the urban chic jacket being worn with the bike.
The BMW Motorrad Concept 9cento during the initial roll-out presentation at this year’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este. That's the specially made sporting jacket being worn with the bike, complete with shoulder pads created by 3D printing.
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The BMW Motorrad Concept 9cento during the initial roll-out presentation at this year’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este. That's the specially made sporting jacket being worn with the bike, complete with shoulder pads created by 3D printing.
The BMW Motorrad Concept 9cento during the parade and presentation of models at this year’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este. That's the urban chic jacket being worn with the bike.
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The BMW Motorrad Concept 9cento during the parade and presentation of models at this year’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este. That's the urban chic jacket being worn with the bike.
The BMW Motorrad Concept 9cento during the initial roll-out presentation at this year’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este. That's the specially made sporting jacket being worn with the bike, complete with shoulder pads created by 3D printing.
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The BMW Motorrad Concept 9cento during the initial roll-out presentation at this year’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este. That's the specially made sporting jacket being worn with the bike, complete with shoulder pads created by 3D printing.
The BMW Motorrad Concept 9cento during the initial roll-out presentation at this year’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este. That's the specially made sporting jacket being worn with the bike, complete with shoulder pads created by 3D printing.
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The BMW Motorrad Concept 9cento during the initial roll-out presentation at this year’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este. That's the specially made sporting jacket being worn with the bike, complete with shoulder pads created by 3D printing.
Edgar Heinrich, Head of Design BMW Motorrad, pictured at Villa d'Este during the bike's first public showing
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Edgar Heinrich, Head of Design BMW Motorrad, pictured at Villa d'Este during the bike's first public showing
The BMW  9cento is only a concept, but we'd rate the chances of it being on showroom floors within two years as very high
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The BMW  9cento is only a concept, but we'd rate the chances of it being on showroom floors within two years as very high
No weight has been claimed for the 9cento, but it sure looks like it has been pared away to the bare essentials
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No weight has been claimed for the 9cento, but it sure looks like it has been pared away to the bare essentials
The BMW  9cento is only a concept, but we'd rate the chances of it being on showroom floors within two years as very high
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The BMW  9cento is only a concept, but we'd rate the chances of it being on showroom floors within two years as very high
BMW Motorrad 9cento is shown to the public for the first time at this year’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este
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BMW Motorrad 9cento is shown to the public for the first time at this year’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este
It is difficult to show the fine detail of the BMW 9cento in images, but close up, it's a treat.
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It is difficult to show the fine detail of the BMW 9cento in images, but close up, it's a treat.
The BMW Motorrad Concept 9cento (pronounced ‘nove cento’) 
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The BMW Motorrad Concept 9cento (pronounced ‘nove cento’) 
The BMW  9cento is only a concept, but we'd rate the chances of it being on showroom floors within two years as very high
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The BMW  9cento is only a concept, but we'd rate the chances of it being on showroom floors within two years as very high
The BMW Motorrad Concept 9cento (pronounced ‘nove cento’) 
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The BMW Motorrad Concept 9cento (pronounced ‘nove cento’) 
No weight has been claimed for the 9cento, but it sure looks like it has been pared away to the bare essentials. Even the lunchboxes on the back will ensure that you can't stuff up the handling, even if you fill them with gold bars.
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No weight has been claimed for the 9cento, but it sure looks like it has been pared away to the bare essentials. Even the lunchboxes on the back will ensure that you can't stuff up the handling, even if you fill them with gold bars.
The BMW Motorrad Concept 9cento (pronounced ‘nove cento’) 
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The BMW Motorrad Concept 9cento (pronounced ‘nove cento’) 
The BMW  9cento is only a concept, but we'd rate the chances of it being on showroom floors within two years as very high
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The BMW  9cento is only a concept, but we'd rate the chances of it being on showroom floors within two years as very high
It is difficult to show the fine detail of the BMW 9cento in images, but close up, it's a treat.
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It is difficult to show the fine detail of the BMW 9cento in images, but close up, it's a treat.
BMW Motorrad 9cento on debut at this year’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este
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BMW Motorrad 9cento on debut at this year’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este
The BMW  9cento is only a concept, but we'd rate the chances of it being on showroom floors within two years as very high
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The BMW  9cento is only a concept, but we'd rate the chances of it being on showroom floors within two years as very high
The integrated panniers break new ground in styling. We've seen panniers designed to blend with the lines of a motorcycle before, but never to this degree. Though the capacity of the cases is not large, the innovative system essentially offers two versions of the same bike. With the cases removed, the 9cento rear end almost disappears, though there is still the capacity to carry a pillion.
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The integrated panniers break new ground in styling. We've seen panniers designed to blend with the lines of a motorcycle before, but never to this degree. Though the capacity of the cases is not large, the innovative system essentially offers two versions of the same bike. With the cases removed, the 9cento rear end almost disappears, though there is still the capacity to carry a pillion.
BMW Motorrad has developed two motorcycling jackets to go with the 9cento. They each reflect the concept's properties with their refined mixture of leather and Kevlar fabric: sports touring and urban chic transport. 
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BMW Motorrad has developed two motorcycling jackets to go with the 9cento. They each reflect the concept's properties with their refined mixture of leather and Kevlar fabric: sports touring and urban chic transport. 
The BMW  9cento is only a concept, but we'd rate the chances of it being on showroom floors within two years as very high
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The BMW  9cento is only a concept, but we'd rate the chances of it being on showroom floors within two years as very high

BMW Motorrad's latest concept bike, shown at Concorso d'Elegenza Villa d'Este on the banks of Lake Como in Italy last weekend, takes the company's mid-range parallel twin engine to a new level of style and more importantly, function.

Extreme light weight and unprecedented levels of mass centralization combine with electromagnetically-attached panniers for a bike which crosses several class boundaries and, though not confirmed, is very likely to become a production model.

BMW has been steadfastly producing superbly balanced motorcycles with usable power for 95 years, only reluctantly joining the horsepower wars after its insistence on usability had earned it a staid reputation.

A decade after releasing the 200 horsepower S1000RR and laying that reputation to rest, the Concept 9cento (pronounced "nove cento") may well signify a new direction for the marque, which has been surging past its rivals with record global sales for the last seven consecutive years. BMW may still be a boutique manufacturer compared to the mass production giants from Japan and more recently India, but it now leads the chasing pack of low volume, high value specialist marques.

The BMW Motorrad Concept 9cento (pronounced ‘nove cento’) 
The BMW Motorrad Concept 9cento (pronounced ‘nove cento’) 

"A modern all-rounder for the mid-range segment"

"It doesn't always have to be about 'bolder, bigger, brighter' nowadays: this concept bike focuses on achieving a sense of balance," says Edgar Heinrich, Head of Design BMW Motorrad.

"We've created a bike that combines the appropriate power with reliable sports touring properties and above all lots of riding fun, so it's an attractive overall package. It brings together the best of the sports, adventure and touring segments to produce an exciting concept – in a class which has not seen this kind of model from BMW before.

"The BMW Motorrad Concept 9cento is our interpretation of a modern all-rounder for the new mid-range segment. Functional properties such as touring capability, storage space and wind/weather protection are relevant to most motorcyclists but they're rarely included in the design of a concept vehicle. In this year's concept bike we're demonstrating that all these rational aspects can be coupled with a dynamic design to create something really exciting and highly emotional."

The BMW  9cento is only a concept, but we'd rate the chances of it being on showroom floors within two years as very high
The BMW  9cento is only a concept, but we'd rate the chances of it being on showroom floors within two years as very high

Though details and specific numbers related to the 9cento were as sparse as with previous BMW Motorrad concept bikes, there are a few fairly obvious take-outs that can be discerned from the 9cento presentation we saw on the banks of Lake Como.

The first is that it is highly likely we'll see this bike on showroom floors. Concept bikes presented at the BMW-sponsored Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este often turn into production models, with precedents such as the R NineT and K1600B.

The Project 9cento name signifies it is a 900. Whether that's a 900cc class motorcycle which has the same 853cc capacity vertical twin engine of the F850GS, or a full 900cc, we don't know. Prior art is not a reliable guide as recent F Series models have strayed from traditional nomenclature. The F 750 GS and F850GS both share the same liquid-cooled, parallel-twin 853cc engine, with 57 kW (77 hp) and 70 kW (95 hp) maximum power respectively. Significantly revised once already during its 12 year lifetime (both engines pictured), the strength of the vertical twin BMW motor is that it produces very strong mid-range and usable power, so it will be interesting to see if the mooted production bike actually gets stretched to 900cc or simply gets a further power boost and a new name. Regardless, 100 plus horses seems likely.
The Project 9cento name signifies it is a 900. Whether that's a 900cc class motorcycle which has the same 853cc capacity vertical twin engine of the F850GS, or a full 900cc, we don't know. Prior art is not a reliable guide as recent F Series models have strayed from traditional nomenclature. The F 750 GS and F850GS both share the same liquid-cooled, parallel-twin 853cc engine, with 57 kW (77 hp) and 70 kW (95 hp) maximum power respectively. Significantly revised once already during its 12 year lifetime (both engines pictured), the strength of the vertical twin BMW motor is that it produces very strong mid-range and usable power, so it will be interesting to see if the mooted production bike actually gets stretched to 900cc or simply gets a further power boost and a new name. Regardless, 100 plus horses seems likely.

Secondly, the 9cento name signifies it is a 900. Whether that's a 900cc class motorcycle which has the same 853cc capacity vertical twin engine of the F850GS, or a full 900cc, we don't know.

Prior art is not a reliable guide as recent F Series models have strayed from traditional nomenclature. The F 750 GS and F850GS both share the same liquid-cooled, parallel-twin 853cc engine, with 57 kW (77 hp) and 70 kW (95 hp) maximum power respectively.

The strength of the vertical twin BMW motor is that it produces very strong mid-range and usable power in either guise, so it will be interesting to see if the mooted 9cento production bike actually gets stretched to 900cc or simply gets a further power boost and a new name. Regardless, 100 plus horses seems likely.

What is most obvious from the 9cento is the unprecedented levels of mass centralization, as is made clear in the image below of the bike without the bodywork, taken during its development.

What is most obvious from the 9cento is the unprecedented levels of mass centralization, most obvious in the above image taken during the development of the bike
What is most obvious from the 9cento is the unprecedented levels of mass centralization, most obvious in the above image taken during the development of the bike

Light weight is only one of the elements required for surgical precision in the swervery. Borrowing from a road test we published 14 years ago on a Buell XB12S (one of the first bikes to employ radical mass centralization): "One of the main reasons big touring bikes wallow and yaw on undulating and bumpy roads at speed is the amount of weight they carry at a distance from the centre of gravity – panniers, a heavy fairing, a top box and heavy mufflers all contribute to the shimmy and yaw to warn the rider that any more power or speed or unwanted road forces might cause the motorcycle to samba out of control."

Like the Buell, the 9cento is at the opposite end of the scale, with every fitting on the motorcycle designed to be as close to the centre of gravity as possible. This reduces the moment of inertia in pitch, roll and yaw, and with a sweet motor with loads of mid-range punch, it seems obvious that the 9cento will be a precision instrument on the road.

Apparently, BMW has also reinforced the frame triangle of the Concept 9cento with CFRP fleece, enabling the lightweight frame's overall weight to be minimized.

Integrated Panniers

The integrated panniers break new ground in styling. We've seen panniers designed to blend with the lines of a motorcycle before, but never to this degree. Though the capacity of the cases is not large, the innovative system essentially offers two versions of the same bike. With the cases removed, the 9cento rear end almost disappears, though there is still the capacity to carry a pillion.
The integrated panniers break new ground in styling. We've seen panniers designed to blend with the lines of a motorcycle before, but never to this degree. Though the capacity of the cases is not large, the innovative system essentially offers two versions of the same bike. With the cases removed, the 9cento rear end almost disappears, though there is still the capacity to carry a pillion.

The integrated panniers break new ground in styling. We've seen panniers designed to blend with the lines of a motorcycle before, but never to this degree. Though the capacity of the cases is not large, the innovative system essentially offers two versions of the same bike. With the cases removed, the 9cento rear end almost disappears, though there is still the capacity to carry a pillion.

The current F800S with traditional panniers highlights BMW's wish to find a better way. All that weight so far from the center of mass does nothing for any bike's handling. The 9cento's mass centralization theme and the relatively small volume of the pannier boxes will help to minimize those enjoyment-killing moments of inertia.
The current F800S with traditional panniers highlights BMW's wish to find a better way. All that weight so far from the center of mass does nothing for any bike's handling. The 9cento's mass centralization theme and the relatively small volume of the pannier boxes will help to minimize those enjoyment-killing moments of inertia.

Adding the cases offers a far more roomy pillion seat and enough carrying capacity for wet weather gear and a change of jocks and socks, though the jury is out on whether you can carry enough for the needs of two people in such diminutive panniers. Sharing a toothbrush may be necessary. A comparison with the current F800S with traditional panniers (above) highlights BMW's wish to ensure that mass centralization is a key theme with the 9cento, right the way down to ensuring that even loaded for bear, it isn't going to allow any stray moments of inertia to get in the way of precise handling.

Accessorized already

BMW Motorrad has developed two motorcycling jackets to go with the 9cento. They each reflect the concept's properties with their refined mixture of leather and Kevlar fabric: sports touring and urban chic transport. 
BMW Motorrad has developed two motorcycling jackets to go with the 9cento. They each reflect the concept's properties with their refined mixture of leather and Kevlar fabric: sports touring and urban chic transport. 

Emphasizing the dual nature of the bike, BMW Motorrad showed two jackets designed specifically for the bike: one for sports riding and one for looking stylish around town. Each reflects the concept bike's properties with the sports version featuring a combination of leather and kevlar with integrated 3D-printed shoulder protectors, while the round-town jacket gets a light grey leather treatment.

We can't wait

BMW pioneered long travel suspension on road bikes and the 9cento is no exception, with high quality suspension designed to ensure ride comfort and, BMW assures us, a "sense of light-footedness." With a fairing for wind and weather protection, traditional BMW ergonomics and Brembo radial-mount brake callipers up front, the 9cento looks likely to cover long distances at extreme speeds.

Usable power, exquisite balance, agility and lightness are rare bedfellows in a sports tourer, and this bike fills a niche that seems certain to add to BMW Motorrad's sales.

All they need to do now is build it.

Source: BMW Motorrad

7 comments
Buellrider
With our air and it's ever increasing C02 count how are we supposed to get excited with the same old fossil fuel burning power plant. It could at the very least been a hybrid. Building concept bikes around a dirty ICE needs to end.
DavidRogerBrown
Until there is a battery break thru,electrics are a expensive niche product only good for urban travel. Like to know what the "extreme light" weight is? Does it compare with the weight of the Husqvarna Vitpilen 701?
Daishi
For some reason sport touring bikes seems to either have tiny windshields and fairings or they are big 700 lb beasts. I had panniers and a tail and tank bag for my 600 supersport and used to tour with it. It was 400 lbs, had a real fairing and windshield for the elements, and made more power than needed for public roads. The main downside was the leaned over aggressive seating position (which I tried to mitigate by often driving one handed and using a throttle rocker). This looks like it would address a lot of those concerns.
possum1
I currently have more than 85K on my F800GSA, and have been watching the upcoming F750/850's with interest. A sports package using the 850 motor will easily produce 100 bhp, as the production F850GS is speced at 95 bhp. The 800/700 motors are brilliant on fuel, so there much hope the new motors will be as frugal, or better. Clever marketing to use the same basic furniture to build a number of variants - just like John Bloor did in the early days of the new Triumphs. Waiting and watching.....
possum1
NB. the F800S shown above is really a F800GT. There has been no S in the line up for a few years- just nit picking.
DreadUK
Buellrider Atmospheric CO2 content - 0.04% ~400ppm. Annual human contribution - 0.000002% ~2ppm. The only empirical manifestation of increased atmospheric CO2 on the planet is that it has greened by 14% in ~35 years (NASA). Two continents the size of mainland USA worth of extra vegetation according to one of the authors. Observationally, there has been little to no warming for the last 20 years and the IPCC computerised prediction models are failing badly with satellite and land surface temperatures at the very lowest extreme of their models. So go and ride your ICE motorbike without worrying. It won't do any harm.
Mysta
Any idea how long bikes normally take to go to production?