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With the Concept Ninety, BMW Resurrects a Legend

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If only movie remakes were this good. BMW has just pulled the covers off the BMW Concept Ninety at Italy’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este at Lake Como. Consider this one of the finest homage bikes ever, created in honor of both the legendary BMW R90 S and 90 years of BMW Motorrad, the motorcycle division of the famous Bavarian car company. In partnership with prominent designer Roland Sands, BMW brings to life a truly modern bike with echoes of the vintage R90 S.

The R90 S itself was remarkable for its day, though under-powered by modern standards. It was one of the fastest production motorcycles of its time, manufactured for only three years (1973-1976). But in its short life, the R90 S accomplished much — utilizing industry leading aerodynamics and going on to podium 1st and 2nd at the first AMA Superbike race at Daytona in 1976. Power was rated at 67 horsepower, top speed was 124 MPH, the quarter mile arrived in about 13.5 seconds and 0-60 took 4.8 seconds — a bona fide superbike, to be sure. The R90 S was also unlike any other bike BMW had produced before, evoking powerful emotions with its slippery shape, exposed dark engine, big round halogen headlamp and screaming Daytona Orange paint. Even today, it’s a sight to behold.

The new Concept Ninety quite obviously ups the power ante, but most importantly echoes styling elements from the original bike with its sleek fairing, gas tank and tapered rear end. The black engine remains uncovered against the contrast of the orange paint — thank goodness. The numerous parts by Roland Sands are naturally state-of-the-art, milled and contrasted against the blackness of the engine. Most importantly, the bike is actually meant to be ridden (as well as drooled over). The celebration of BMW motorcycling history through the Concept Ninety is nothing short of stunning. In fact, given the opportunity to own just one of these bikes, we’re not quite sure which one we’d take.