In the summer of 2015, our shop decided it was time to put our own spin on BMW’s superbly customizable, R NIneT. As ideas bounced around we quickly realized that it would be a lot of fun to try inject a little bit of BMW’s high performance blood into the NineT, but our challenge would be to go ‘HP’ without compromising the retro vibe that is inherent in all of these bikes. After nine months of taking the bike apart, ordering parts, sending parts out for modification, building and tweaking we are pleased to show folks our ‘HPT’. Here’s how we did it.
The ‘HPT’ started with the idea of putting some wheels from a BMW HP2 Sport on to a NineT to give it a little more athletic look and a big injection of BMW Indigo Blue. To deepen the visual tie to BMW’s HP motorcycles we made the decision to color the frame but we didn’t want to compromise the strength of the frame’s finish by simply painting it. Instead we decided to shave all unnecessary mountings tabs and then powder coat the frame to give it the best chance of holding up over time. Unfortunately, it proved virtually impossible to get an exact match of BMW’s Indigo Blue in a powder so we used a slightly lighter powder that would look at home on an American hot rod.
Next we turned our attention to the fuel tank of the NineT. In the summer of 2015 we became aware that BMW was going to be selling fully brushed aluminum tanks for the NineT so we went ahead and ordered one of the first ones that became available in U.S. To keep a consistent aesthetic on the top half off the bike we sent one of BMW’s tail humps out to a local metal fabricator to be brushed to match the tank. After the brushing of the hump was complete we sent the tank and the tail to Bobby Keith of Cycle Finish for paint. We asked Bobby to paint the parts so that they would still allow the brushing of the metal to come through when the bike is in direct sunlight and we couldn’t be happier with the results. In the sun, what appears to be gloss black paint transforms into a bronze/root beer color with the brushed metal shining through. To keep the transition from painted to exposed metal clean Bobby also added a subtle pinstripe on the tank and tail.
As the bike was starting to come together our GM suggested that we do something special but quintessentially ‘BMW’ for the seat and pad on the tail. BMW has been making their water-resistant line of Atlantis leather jackets and pants for a long time. All Atlantis gear utilizes a nubuck leather that looks unlike any other riding gear we know of. But Atlantis jackets are a little too precious to us to be be sacrificed for a seat, so we contacted BMW Motorrad USA and they generously donated a sample Atlantis jacket to our cause. The jacket was shipped to Luimoto to be cut, stitched into a seat cover and individualized with the ‘HPT’ logo we came up with just for this project. Luimoto even helped us utilize the embossed ‘BMW Motorrad’ from the sleeve of the jacket on the tail hump pad.
For the controls of the ‘HPT’ we replaced the standard handle bars with Rizoma clip-ons, barend mirrors and grips. We wanted something sleeker and sportier than the stock levers so we replaced both master cylinders and their associated levers with radial versions, again originally found on BMW’s HP2 Sport. All brake and clutch lines were replaced with runs of black stainless steel hose. The stock instrument cluster was replaced with MotoGadget’s incredibly clever motoscope pro. The triple clamps, headlight bracket, steering damper bracket and Rizoma cover pieces for the handlebar clamp holes were all anodized black.
The stock foot controls were tossed to make way for black adjustable rearsets from Gilles. These rearsets originally came with aluminum heel guards but we wanted to add a little extra special touch so carbon fiber guards were swapped in.
To spread lightweight accents throughout the bike we also replaced the alternator cover, valve cover guards, side trim panels and front fender for carbon fiber bits.
For the suspension of the bike we went with fully adjustable Ohlins front and rear, utilizing Ohlins’ black forks option up front. An adjustable Ohlins steering damper was also installed in place of the stock unit. Because we appreciate the styling of BMW’s stock adjuster knob for the rear shock we modified that knob to work with the Ohlins replacement unit. Finally we had the spring of the Ohlins shock powder coated black to reduce the visual impact of all that gold out back.
The exhaust was originally intended to feature Akrapovic titanium headers but a misleading eBay seller from Australia left us with stainless headers and a titanium sleeved muffler, though everything was clearly manufactured by Akrapovic. After a couple of different exhaust mockups were tried, we finally landed on the minimal approach now featured on the bike. The resulting tone is deep but never obnoxious. On the intake side of things we removed the stock airbox and mounted an RSD filter housing with K&N filter. The filter was intentionally mounted rear facing to play off the ‘turbine’ look of the unit. To pull air into the engine, Mishimoto intake tubing was connected via a custom flange to the back of the RSD housing.
To finish things off a Daedalus Design’s tail tidy was installed. This unit integrates the turn signals, tail light and brake light into one and has a real high end look, Daedalus Design is a fledgling accessories manufacturer here in the Bay Area and we’re pleased to be featuring one of their first units on the ‘HPT’.
Below you will find some more pictures of our pride and joy but we hope that if you’re in the area you’ll visit our shop at 790 Bryant Street where you can see (or even buy!) the original ‘HPT’.