In its fourth year, the Wheels & Waves Festival in Biarritz, France celebrates a unique intersection of custom bikes, surfing and art. The festival is a great event that provides a straightforward opportunity for people to get together in a unique atmosphere and express their lifestyle of freedom and individuality. In this special setting, BMW Motorrad introduced their interpretation of a scrambler based on the BMW R nineT, the BMW Concept Path 22.
The first scramblers in the 1950s were modified road machines with deep-treaded tires, somewhat increased spring travel and a raised exhaust for off-road riding. These features gave the bikes a characteristic appearance that came to symbolize an attitude. “A scrambler is the perfect match for Wheels & Waves,” explains Edgar Heinrich, Head of BMW Motorrad Design. “It’s the epitome of a motorcycle beyond established standards and conventions. Performance specifications are not so much of interest — style and originality all the more so. Scramblers express passion and are as varied as their owners. The Concept Path 22 is our own interpretation based on the R nineT. The latter is the perfect basis for a scrambler conversion.”
The BMW Concept Path 22 is the result of a collaboration that goes far beyond the motorcycle itself. At the request of the Wheels & Waves organizers and the motorcycle club Southsiders MC (in particular their member Vincent Prat), BMW Motorrad invited artist Ornamental Conifer and the surfboard shaper Mason Dyer of Dyer Brand to design the BMW Concept Path 22 together. “Based on our scrambler interpretation, we wanted to create a kind of projection of the particular 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,” says Edgar Heinrich. For this reason, the BMW scrambler interpretation is presented to Wheels & Waves Festival visitors in its own distinctive paint finish complete with BMW leather jackets designed especially by Ornamental Conifer and two surf boards created exclusively by Dyer Brand. All these various facets go together to reflect the creative scene that assembles every year at the growing Wheels & Waves community.
The name “Path 22” refers to one of the insider secrets among Europe’s surf spots. This particular stretch of beach is inaccessible to cars, located 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 BMW Concept Path 22 stands for freedom — freedom of thought and its expression,” says Ola Stenegard, Head of BMW Motorrad Vehicle Design. “There are no boundaries. Whatever you like is allowed — as at the Wheels & Waves-Festival. The Concept Path 22 is based on the BMW R nineT, which we see as the epitome of a custom bike. It is actually designed to be modified — customized according to individual preferences. The idea of a BMW scrambler is not new to us. Now seemed to be the right time to present our interpretation of this legendary vehicle concept.” At the heart of the BMW Concept Path 22, there is a powerful two-cylinder boxer engine with [shaft] drive — as is typical of BMW. The single-sided swingarm makes the five-spoke rear wheel visible, again a familiar BMW feature. The remainder of the bike is equally genuine and down-to-earth. The classic circular headlamp, the fuel tank and a short seat ensure clear, agile proportions. The body finishes visually above the rear hub, thereby promising versatile handling. Typical scrambler features such as studded tires, a large front wheel, slightly extended sprint travel and a raised exhaust mean the bike moves effortlessly over 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 BMW Concept Path 22 is stripped down to the essentials. Every element and surface has a function. At the same time, each detail expresses both aesthetic appeal and consummate craftsmanship. In addition to the rustic elements such as the studded tires and the protective grid in front of the headlamp, there are also high-end details such as the stitched leather seat, the handles with leather inserts and the typical scrambler-style Akrapovic tailpipes in high-quality stainless steel that add a touch of exclusive flair. High performance parts by Öhlins and Gilles Tooling, clever solutions such as direction indicators integrated in the handlebar ends, the MotoGadget instrument panel and the contrastcut milled parts created by Roland Sands Design further emphasise the bike’s quality detail. The milled aluminium wheels — likewise contrastcut — were produced exclusively by BMW Motorrad, rounding off the motorcycle’s minimalist appearance in top-class style. All parts of the concept bike are necessary essentials and offer the very best quality. In this way, 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 headlamp pan, fuel tank and mudguards of the BMW Concept Path 22 bear the artwork of Ornamental Conifer, alias Nico Sclater. He has been part of the Wheels & Waves movement for a long time and is co-founder of the scene’s graphic identity. Stylized lettering and graphic ornamentation are key to his work. The mischievous style of his typography is typically combined with profound and pithy puns. In addition to his work on vehicles, signs and windows, Nico Sclater is 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.
The surfboard holder on the right-hand side was developed by BMW Motorrad. It is as reduced, functional and high-quality as the bike itself. Made solely of machined aluminium and leather, it is highly variable and can be adapted to different board sizes. When not required it can be folded down to disappear into the bike’s silhouette or else simply unmounted. The boards to suit the holder were made by no less than leading shaper Mason Dyer himself of Dyer Brand in San Diego. He is famous for his high-quality custom boards that draw their inspiration from the 1950s and 1960s. Dyer has made two custom boards exclusively for the BMW Concept Path 22: a longboard (9’4″) reminiscent of the period when scramblers first emerged and a shortboard (6’8″) which meets the needs of modern surfers.
The graphic design of the bike, jackets and surfboards express individual style and creativity. Each one a unique specimen, they also feature a matching color scheme. This gives every element its own distinctive character while highlighting the core of the Wheels & Waves philosophy once again: joining together to celebrate Surf, Art, Motorcycles and the Freedom to do it your way.