Top Motorcycle Designers (Part 4) – Ola Stenegärd

  • Ola Stenegärd is the father of the BMW R nineT series

  • His other projects included the HP2, S 1000 RR, G 310 R, among others

  • Stenegard’s inlfuences are deeply rooted in classics, cafe racers and customs


Ola Stenegärd is the current Head of Vehicle Design in BMW Motorrad.

Stenegärd studied Industrial Design in Stockhölm, Sweden and is also a graduate from the famed Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. His predecessor at BMW Motorrad, David Robb also graduated from that school. He first joined SAAB and then Indian Motorcycles before starting at BMW Motorrad in 2003.

Stenegärd said in an interview that no one was interested in sportbikes at BMW when he joined, hence he was given the HP2 project. The success of the HP2 saw him proceeding to lead the S 1000 RR’s development. Stenegärd could’ve chosen the conservative route for the S 1000 RR’s design, instead he went on to create a motorcycle that’s distinctive and instantly recognisable.

But Stenegärd’s roots are buried deep in the realms of cruisers, cafe racers and classics. He had known the legendary custom motorcycle builder, Roland Sands for many years and approached the latter about building a custom BMW. Stenegärd showed Sands what his team had been working on and the latter was intrigued. They went on to work together on the Concept 90.

Up to that point, BMW Motorrad was without a specific model to commemorate their 90th Anniversary in 2013. In the end, it was Stenegärd’s design for the R nineT which they chose.

The R nineT went into production soon after and it began the the legacy of an entire range of motorcycles based on the R nineT platform. The R nineT family now includes the base R nineT, R nineT Scrambler, R nineT Pure, R nineT Urban G/S and the beautiful R nineT Racer. Furthermore, BMW Motorrad has recently entered the small-displacement, lightweight market G 310  R.

Click here for Part 3: David Robb

Click here for Part 2: John Britten

Click here for Part 1: Fabio Taglioni