Art Deco is back, and this time it’s on two wheels. Today’s emphasis on technology, research, and development has made us so keen on propelling the automotive industry into the future, but what happens when we want to take a minute or two to savor the past? Four-wheel bimmer enthusiasts have envisioned, reimagined, and constructed beautiful restomod examples over the years, as in the case of Gruppe5 Motorsport’s 2002, but we haven’t exactly seen the same energy from the Motorrad community, until now. Our retrospective urge can now be satisfied—at the hands of the NMoto Nostalgia.
Infused with the perfect blend of vintage and modern, the Nmoto Nostalgia is an elegant homage tribute to BMW’s illustrious R7, a 1934 prewar prototype motorcycle with a one-of-one status. The R7 was never meant for production; it was a gallery on two wheels—responsible for showcasing the design motifs and engineering marvels of the time. Its very existence created a domino effect of seismic proportions, introducing the entire Motorrad community to the very first telescopic fork suspension, a revolutionary discovery that would lend itself very well to future applications. With tubes and sliders enclosing a spring and damper system, the revised suspension quickly became the universally-used industry standard, that is, until the development of the four-damped, hydraulic system.
The Nostalgia is not an R7, nor is it an R nine T, despite sharing DNA with both. While it aims to encapsulate the vintage impression of the R7, this steel horse is entirely its own. Alex Niznik, owner and founder of NMoto, had the idea to reimagine the R7, not recreate it entirely. As a result, the Nostalgia pulls its powertrain from the R nine T, a highly-customizable and easily-tuned motorcycle with a rugged personality. Its air-cooled flat twin boxer engine has a fiery 1,170cc capacity, allowing the NMoto iteration to boast the same responsive power delivery. With all of the mechanical bits from the R nine T equipped on the new chassis, the Nostalgia could benefit from OEM-grade, modern engineering and performance—a key component of Niznik’s original vision.
Due to the prototype status of the R7, however, the visual aspect of the bike required some—albeit a lot—of finessing. The reason why the Nostalgia looks so wonderfully vintage is because it is a true work of art. Without the actual prototype, design engineers at NMoto were tasked with the impossible, that is, creating the design from scratch. Niznik recalls there being a large poster of the R7 on the wall in the studio, as that was their only reference. After creating a 3-D model, the aluminum components were produced, with those body lines that look oh so sleek. Each hand-built example is then furnished with all of the modern bells-and-whistles you’d expect for comfort and functionality, including a keyless ignition and LED lighting all over. The resulting masterpiece is a fully-customizable physical manifestation of Niznik’s dream—a handmade, modern interpretation of the renowned BMW R7, and an exquisite one at that.
While I think the Nostalgia is a stunning symphony of vintage and modern worlds, my opinion doesn’t matter; the sales speak for themselves. With a starting price of $79,500 and a six month build time, the Nostalgia offers enthusiasts a wonderful opportunity to park a slice of the past in their garage. NMoto has already received an inundation of orders for 2019, and are now currently taking orders for 2020, which doesn’t come as too much of a surprise, given its critically-acclaimed status.
Displayed currently in global museums such as the BMW Classic Museum in Germany, the Nettesheim BMW Museum in New York, and the Audrain Auto Museum in Rhode Island, the Nostalgia has been acquiring somewhat of a celebrity status, and for good reason. Its star-studded existence has granted it attendance to worldwide exhibitions, including but not limited to the Amelia Island Concours in Florida, Villa d’Este in Italy, Wheels and Waves in France, BMW Motorrad Days in Germany, and, of course, Pebble Beach.
The continued emergence of Art Deco and restomod builds over recent years makes me optimistic that this trend will continue, and I, for one, hope it does. I’ll never tire of seeing a vintage bimmer rocking a classy exterior and a completely refreshed under-the-hood setup. The pairing of new technology with vintage motifs shows promise of aging well and remaining complementary for years to come, whether that be on four wheels or two.—Malia Murphy
[Photos Courtesy NMoto.]