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BMW, scramblers and secret Atlantic surf

2015-06-13 11:32


CLASSIC STYLE GOES SURFING: Under the dismountable board-carrier, fancy artwork and high-end styling of the BMW Concept Path 22 is a new R Nine T. Image: BMW Motorrad

BMW Concept Path 22 – The Expression of Freedom.

BIARRITZ, France - This past week (June 11-14 2015) a Wheels & Waves Festival in Biarritz, on the Atlantic coast of France, has been celebrating a “a unique meeting of custom bikes, surfing and art”.

In this special setting BMW Motorrad presented for the first time its interpretation of a scrambler motorcycle – it’s called the Concept Path 22. We’ll tell you why just now…


Sure, BMW is known for its terrain-bustin’ on/off-road motorcycles, but a true ‘scrambler’ is a whole different machine – as BMW explained at the expo, an event with “a unique atmosphere to express a lifestyle of freedom and individuality”.

As the bikemaker explained, the first scramblers, back in the1950’s, were modified road machines with deep-treaded tyres, longer spring/suspension travel, and an upswept exhaust to avoid contact with Mother Earth when riding way off-road.

GALLERY: BMW Concept Path 22 Scrambler

These features gave those early bikes a characteristic appearance that came to symbolise an attitude; Edgar Heinrich, head of BMW Motorrad Design, took it further:

"A scrambler is the epitome of a motorcycle beyond established standards and conventions,” he said. “Performance specifications are not of prime interest - style and originality are. Scramblers express passion and are as varied as their owners.

“The Concept Path 22 is our own interpretation based on the R nineT – a perfect basis for a scrambler conversion.”


The Concept Path 22 is the result of a collaboration that went far beyond the motorcycle itself, an initiative of the Wheels & Waves organisers and the motorcycle club Southsiders MC in France – in particular their member Vincent Prat.

BMW Motorrad invited artists Ornamental Conifer and surfboard-shaper Mason Dyer of Dyer Brand in San Diego, California, to design the BMW Concept Path 22 together.

Heinrich again: "Based on our scrambler interpretation, we wanted to create projection of the blend of people and cultures to be found at Wheels & Waves and we found the perfect partners to do just this.

“The BMW Concept Path 22 captures everything that makes the Wheels & Waves people, festival and lifestyle so special. Its interpretation was presented to festival visitors in a distinctive paint finish.”

It was displayed with BMW leather jackets designed especially by Ornamental Conifer and two surf boards created exclusively by the Dyer Brand.”


 "Path 22" refers to one of the secrets among Europe's surf spots, a stretch of beach inaccessible to cars on the Atlantic coast of southern France, half an hour's walk through one of Europe's biggest pine forests.

The path leading to this spot bears the number 22.

The scrambler, BMW said, “is seen as the epitome of a custom bike - the R nine T was designed to be modified – customised according to individual preferences.

The idea of a BMW scrambler is not new to BMW but, as Ola Stenegard, head of BMW Motorrad Vehicle Design explained: “Now seemed to be the right time to present our interpretation of this legendary vehicle concept.”

The heart of the BMW Concept Path 22 is a powerful, two-cylinder, boxer engine with Cardan drive - as is typical of a shaft-driven BMW. The single-sided swing arm makes the five-spoked rear wheel visible, again a familiar BMW feature.

“The rest of the bike,” BMW says, “is equally genuine and down-to-earth.”


Its classic circular headlight, fuel tank and a short seat “ensure clear, agile proportions”. The body finishes visually above the rear hub, “promising versatile handling”. Other inclusions are studded tyres, a large front wheel, slightly extended spring travel and a raised exhaust allows the bike to handle gravel and sand.

“These elements also create a striking appearance, instantly suggesting the kind of experience the BMW Concept Path 22 is able to offer,” the bikemaker suggests.

The designers stripped the Concept Path 22 down to essentials. Every element and surface has a function, they say, and each detail, BMW says, “expresses aesthetic appeal and consummate craftsmanship”.

Its ruggedness is emphasised by “rustic elements” ­- the tyre studs and grille shielding the headlight – which are contrasted by high-end details such a stitched leather seat, leather hand-grip inserts and stainless-steel, scrambler-style, Akrapovic tailpipes.

High-performance parts by Öhlins and Gilles Tooling, clever solutions such as a direction indicator at each end of handle bar, a MotoGadget instrument panel and milled parts created by Roland Sands Design.

The milled aluminium wheels were produced exclusively by BMW Motorrad.


“All parts of the concept machine,” the bikemaker says, “are necessary essentials of the very best quality… the BMW Concept Path 22 perfects the art of reduction and harks back to the very essence that gives motorcycling its underlying appeal: the unity of man and machine.”

The headlight pan, fuel tank and mudguards of the BMW Concept Path 22 bear the artwork of Ornamental Conifer, alias Nicolai Sclater, part of the Wheels & Waves movement for a long time and is co-founder of the scene's graphic identity.

Images from Wheels & Waves

Stylised lettering and graphic ornamentation are key to his work. The mischievous style of his typography is typically combined with profound and pithy puns. Sclater is said to be especially famous for his graphic enhancement of leather jackets.

He not only created the concept bike's special paint finish but also painted a number of exclusive BMW leather jackets for the Concept Path 22 team- each one a unique specimen.


A particular highlight of the BMW Concept Path 22, BMW says, is the surfboard holder on the right-hand side that was developed by BMW Motorrad – a far cry from the angle iron adaptations seen around South Africa’s KZN and Western Cape surfing spots.

It claims to be as reduced, functional and high-quality as the bike itself and is fabricated in machined aluminium and leather and can be adjusted to take various sizes of board.

If not needed, it can be folded down to disappear into the bike's silhouette – or simply taken off.

*A drive shaft, driveshaft, driving shaft, propeller shaft (prop shaft), or Cardan shaft is a mechanical component for transmitting torque and rotation, usually used to connect other components of a drive train that cannot be connected directly because of distance or the need to allow for relative movement between them.

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