We've seen many custom motorcycles made out of the BMW R NineT, but we've never seen one remotely like this. It's either a hideous futuristic deformity, or the ultimate artistic expression of BMW's design ethos, and we're not sure if we love it, hate it or hate to love it.
It's just a motorcycle. I mean, one with a chopped backside and a twisted, postmodern metal sculpture draped over the front of it. But just a motorcycle, so I'm not sure what's so provocative about this bike from German designer Bernhard Naumann, also known as Blechmann, or Tin Man.
Perhaps what's so confronting is that Naumann seems to have really done his homework on BMW Motorrad's design philosophy. This bike features chunky shutlines, bold angles and a feeling of tight modularity that would make BMW's own designers proud. It genuinely feels like a bike only BMW could make, albeit in some far-flung future.
Naumann stripped the tank, bodywork and seat unit off the original R NineT and started work from there, using a normally hidden trellis frame above the Boxer motor as a design feature and going for a chopped-back single-seat unit.
From the rider's belly, the tank starts out as something you might find on the 2025 F800R. But where a tank would normally flare out, Blechmann flares it upward, featuring a bare metal sculpture around the tank filler.
Than, as you move forward, things flower out into pure surrealism, with panels extending forward over and under the clip-on bars to form a face like a metallic representation of some floppy-eared Star Wars snow creature.
Right down to the raised screen and projector headlight, though, these bizarre shapes are executed in a way that's pure BMW, as if Blechmann has taken a bunch of unidentifiable pieces from various Beemer cars and bikes, glued them on the front of the bike and somehow made it all work together. It's maddening to look at.
The exhaust is handmade, and it took us a minute to even work out where it was. The pipes come out the front of the two cylinders, then go into a flattened tube that wraps from the left side under the motor to meet up with the right-side pipe. The exit is a slot in the front right of the bellypan.
The front guard has a reverse groove cut into it that will ensure it's basically no use as a front guard anymore, and there's a pair of what look like handles in the front side fairings that make no sense to us whatsoever. They even look like they have some degree of articulation, perhaps recalling some wind deflectors on larger BMW tourers like the K1600GT. Who knows what's going on there.
Another bizarre decision is the way it's been painted, using BMW's signature subdued silver for the most part, but with a flash of the brand's racing tricolor red, white and blue. Except the tricolor panels have been done to look as though they've been painted, finished, then crashed, then left exposed in a windy desert for a decade before fitting.
And yet, somehow, it looks like a bona fide BMW, perhaps because the flash of color is only on one side, echoing BMW Motorrad's famously asymmetrical designs. Blechmann says this is no mistake, he didn't want to make a one-off wacko special, he wanted to make a concept bike that could inform BMW's future design direction.
In one final subversive twist, he chose not to give it a tough, futuristic or technical sounding name. His Bavarian buddies saw it front on and told him it looked like a chicken. So that's what he called it – in South German. "Giggerl."
Objectively, by any measure, this is an ugly and unbalanced motorcycle design, front-heavy and overcomplex. But as a piece of design art, we think we might love it. And as an expression of BMW design philosophy on acid, we think the execution is stunning.
Source: BMW Motorrad
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