BMW’s R nineT range fuses present-day function and forgone form in a package that appeals to many modern riders. Whether it’s the Urban GS, Scrambler, or Racer variant, the Motorrad company achieves a balance of styling and performance that is hard to match. Though the R nineT toes the line between contemporary and retro, there’s still room to push the Beemer on either side of the divide. When Zillers Garage got its hands on an R nineT, it decided to take both the vintage aesthetic and the modern performance to the nth degree.
Zillers Garage is no stranger to masterful metal-shaping. The Moscow-based custom shop previously graced us with a Vincent-powered steel sculpture, but Zillers’ alchemists wanted to go in another direction for the R nineT. Wrapping a nearly seamless sheet of aluminum over the Beemer’s original form, the builders pushed the modern classic further into the past. Simultaneously steampunk and aviator art deco, Zillers’ build looks like a bullet train designed after a B-52 bomber.
While the curvaceous form is visually arresting, the project also boasts fine details like integrated turn signals, custom wheelset, modified controls, bodywork rivets, and the classic BMW white pinstriping that looks so fetching on the new R18. Zillers Garage also added an air suspension to achieve a low-profile silhouette, slamming the aluminum shell’s underbelly mere millimeters from the ground when it’s not in operation. Additionally, a larger front tire beefed up the R nineT’s presence, balancing the broad new fairing with the traditionally slender front end.
Gallery: Zillers Garage BMW R nineT
On the performance front, Zillers kept the 1,170cc boxer intact, but added a custom pie-cut exhaust. The new system not only opens up the 110-horsepower engine but also opens up the rear of the bike, showing off the single-sided swingarm that’s typically obstructed by the stock cans. Upgraded Brembo brakes help the hulking hunk shed speed quickly and a sliding tail section provides access to the electronic controls and a USB socket for charging devices.
Zillers’ main man Mikhail Smolânovym planned to reveal the build at Motovesna Motorcycle Show in Moscow this year, but COVID-19 had other ideas. However, like Suzuki and Honda, the Moscow-based garage didn’t let the novel coronavirus outbreak stop them from unveiling the motorcycle digitally. We look forward to hopefully seeing Zillers’ R nineT project in person one day—once the crisis ends.