CUSTOM & STYLE: BMW Concept Path 22

BMW hangs 10 on the trends at Wheels & Waves.

BMW Concept Path 22 static side view

The Southsiders MC, organizers of the Wheels & Waves festival in Biarritz, France, have been tearing up the Basque Pyrenees every June since 2009. There were 10 of us that year, and six years later the gang has grown to 10,000. The first official edition of Wheels & Waves appeared in 2012, and was modest by comparison, but smelled of gunpowder. The artists, writers, builders, and publishers who participated knew something was up, and it was only a matter of time before the rest of the world felt the blast.

BMW was the first brand to sign on with Wheels & Waves, the following year, as "Sonic" Seb Lorentz (of Lucky Cat Garage) cajoled his bosses at BMW France to literally take a stand. It was a shrewd move, and their presence has grown yearly. BMW first brought historic machines to display (a pair of Ernst Henne's supercharged world speed record missiles), then special collaborations such as the Blitz R NineT custom, with the world's first 3D-printed fuel tank.

BMW Concept Path 22 surfboard holder

This year BMW’s big reveal was the Path 22, an in-house collaboration with artist Nicolai Sclater (Ornamental Conifer), who hand-painted an appropriately fun Wheels & Waves scheme on a Scramblerized R NineT. Mason Dyer was commissioned to shape a board to haul alongside, on a special factory-made—but sadly not catalog-offered—surfboard carrier. When pressed about the missing wetsuit pannier, BMW Motorrad’s chief designer, Ola Stenegard, rolled his eyes and laughed. “I know. But then we’d have another one-off piece to explain we’re not going to produce,” he remarked. Too bad—the carrier was beautifully crafted, and surfers would benefit from a proper accessory instead of some cobbled up contraption with duct tape.

Obviously, the Scrambler theme has already been trod by Ducati. While BMW has long owned the street/dirt combo with its GS legacy, there's a whisper on the wind that the factory will offer its own Scrambler. Looking at the abbreviated lines of the Path 22, the way is clear. Riders will line up for this machine, just as they do for the standard R NineT, which has become BMW's top seller. Getting Nico to hand-paint a groovy geometric scheme is another matter, and might require a mix of patience and lucre. But what's important with Path 22 is that BMW has gotten the message—what people need from motorcycles right now is maximum fun.

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