There was no question that BMW Motorrad could let the 80th anniversary of the R 5 pass without officially marking the occasion. What better way to honor one of the favorite BMW motorcycles of all time than by creating a dedicated homage bike. BMW showcased all the classic beauty of the original, while incorporating a whole host of modern twists.
Ola Stenegard, whose long-held dream of creating this concept bike to pay homage to the fastest and most modern BMW motorcycle of its time has brought together a select group of experts in classic racing and restoration, design, engineering and custom building to make this build a reality. We were able to get Ola on the phone so we could get the full story behind this build and how it all came together...
What was the motivation behind building a BMW concept with such an old motor?
We wanted to honor the original R5 and doing this, with for example a nineT motor, just wouldn’t cut it. The simplicity of the original motor was the heart of the r5 and it had to remain so. Besides… on a personal level, it’s always been a dream of mine to actually base a homage bike on an old original motor. No OEM did that before! Of course we were also very naive…none of us knew how incredible rare these engines are.
Do you see the R5 reflecting the attitude of BMW Motorrad moving forward?
I think it shows that we are thinking freely. We have balls to do a project like this without being caught up in to many corporate “angst”. We just do it and Villa D’Este provides a perfect platform to do such avant-garde and out-of-the-box projects like this. I think this bike is the perfect “birthday present” for the 80th of the R5.
Why did you use the Super Charger and how well does it function?
Haha, it was just thrown in for good measure. I don’t even remember who came up with the idea. During the early brainstorm sessions we said we need to boost the performance a bit. And someone said “Supercharger?” And we all went “Hell Yeah”. Of course we had no clue what went into at that point. It wasn’t easy! But we finally came up with a good solution that really works well!
All show, no go or is she a ripper?
It rips! Sebastian Gutsch, who helped us with the motor parts (he is racing R5’s and one of his broken crankcases provided the base for this build) has been racing these bike for years. HE also rode the R5 Hommage for the photoshoot. He thought that this motor pumps out at least double compared to the original 26 hp. And that ain’t bad for a 1936 500cc motor!
Was this your vision, or was there a team working on this idea and who are they?
The initial idea and sketches came from me (hey I only did the four you see in the press-kit…am I getting old and lazy…?) . But as in any build of this nature, and as you and I always worked too (concept ninety, concept 101), a sketch is just a sketch. It takes a committed and extremely talented team to create something like this. This is also part of the trigger for me. In this case, we brought two worlds together. On one side, Sebastian from the BMW vintage scene, and on the other brothers Ronna and Benna Noren from the custom scene. Like it says in the press text:“He enlisted the help of brothers Ronna and Benna Norén and brought them together with Sebastian Gutsch to see what might happen when the custom and vintage worlds collide. “Bringing people together from different specialties is what makes customising special,” says Ola. “It’s all about the motorcycling ‘family’ and it was great to see these specialists from polar opposites of the motorcycling spectrum sharing ideas and talking about what could be achieved.”
We’re stoked you wanted to use some RSD parts on the bike and many of the other recent BMW concepts, why was that important to you?
When we started working on the concept ninety, we realized how we somehow share the same philosophy: we both like cool innovations, always pushing the envelope, performance, good looking parts and all combined in bikes that you can ride really hard. For the R5 Hommage the Tracker grips and pegs and Slant mufflers just perfectly fit the bill! They just blend in and all have a sophisticated taste of performance, gently spiced up with some badass attitude!
There seems to be a lot going on in the BMW world in the custom scene, how do you see the past few years of concept bikes playing into that strategy?
When we launched the BMW/RSD Concept Ninety, I think it opened up a whole new door to a fairly unexplored corner of the custom world. It inspired so many people out there to build bikes based on the Boxers. When we launched the nineT we also provided the perfect base for customers to do so, it made the boxer cool again! It also directed the spotlight on old boxers too! Bikes you can still pick up fairly cheap and easily customize. The scene just went bonkers on boxers! So rad and so inspiring for us at BMW! When I went to Glemseck 101 last year I saw hundreds of nineT’s…but only 1 stock bike, and it sat in our booth. The rest were all customized one way or another! How damn cool is that? So friggin’ awesome to see all this creativity unleashed!!!
Do you think the perception of BMW motorcycles has changed in the past 5 years and if so, how?
I really do think so. People and customers we meet out there keep confirming this to us as well. We have of course constantly been pushing in the performance field. The RR changed a lot. The watercooled boxer too. What especially the nineT managed to do was attract a whole new crowd. A crowd looking for more basic and simple bikes, BMW’s inspired by our rich heritage and history. And BMW’s made for customizing!
How’s the hips?