There is one prevailing force in the motorcycle industry right now, and that force is personalization. OEMs are finally realizing that the aftermarket is cleaning up on providing custom parts to motorcycle owners so they can make their bikes their own. The result is a wave of OEM customization accessories from manufacturers. Ducati is doing this with the Scrambler, Moto Guzzi is doing the same in their V7 line, and BMW has made personalization a key part of the R nineT’s DNA.
From its debut in 2014, the R nineT has boasted a range of “factory custom” options, including vastly different rear sub-frames, seats and exhaust systems. Now BMW is taking that factory personalization a step further with a line of aluminum fuel tanks.
A staple of the custom bike scene, aluminum offers some key aesthetic opportunities, as well as a slight reduction in weight. The finish can be left raw without rusting, it can be brushed, and it can also be polished to look almost like chrome. BMW has opted to provide a handful of finish options for these OEM aluminum tanks. You can choose between exposed, brushed aluminum; or clear-coated aluminum. You can also choose between visible and ground-down welding seams. Opting for the exposed welds would give the tank a certain hand-made quality, even though these new aluminum tanks are the exact same shape and capacity as the stock steel units.
European pricing ranges from 1,695 Euros (with visible welding seam) to 1,795 Euros (with smoothed welding seam). The tanks are world-certified, and will be available to dealers starting in May, however actual US pricing has not been announced.
Personally, were I going to aluminize an R nineT of my own, I’d opt for the smooth weld seam on the uncoated tank, then polish the hell out of it. Some hand-painted graphics would also be a nice touch. What would you do?