Stripped-down ratty rides adorned with upcycled components from the sublime to the seemingly ridiculous are a mainstay of the current custom scene. When well executed the results can be fantastic and sometimes the more thrown together a build the more charm it instills. For some though the very thought of riding a bike that looks like its ready to fall apart is what puts them off in the first place.
Sergey & Mikhail (a film director & marketeer) from Moscow, Russia wanted to explore their custom building hobby using BMWs as a platform but without heading down the well trodden Airhead path. Admittedly there have been quite a few K75 and K100 customs built of late but the stocks of quality, inexpensive donors is still plentiful and the guys wanted to appeal to customers who appreciate fine Bavarian engineering and the refinement that these later models bring to the party.
The customer for this project, Artem, is a BMW guy through and through, whether it be two or four wheels, and had become accustomed to the bulletproof reliability and wasn’t about to settle for cool over dependability. This ‘flying brick’ is the full fat one litre model from 1991, complete with ABS. The latter not something that usually makes the cut on most customs. I wouldn’t want to generalise here but I’ve seen a fair amount of dash cam footage on YouTube from Russian vehicles and the ability to stop in a hurry certainly isn’t a bad thing, even if those three letters aren’t exactly considered cool.
First job was to sort the rear end so Sergey & Mikhail shaped a mould for the cafe tail and fabricated an internal structure to support it. A simple LED strip incorporates the indicators and stop light without fuss. A cradling seat was also made in-house and upholstered in black vinyl, offering Artem the comfort he’s used to from his other Beemers.
The K100 engine was BMW’s first foray into liquid cooling motorcycle engines, so they cheated slightly by taking a Peugeot four-banger, slamming it on its side and poking a shaft drive out of the back. The resulting low centre of gravity, silky smooth power delivery and minimal maintenance make for fairly decent riding, accentuated here by the removal of the fairing and a few heavy components. A single stainless silencer should at least release a some of the rebel inside that reserved looking motor.
Artem is a Spartak Moscow Football fan so there was no question when it came to paint, bright red with a white stripe and BMW’s swatch book revealed a resplendent Imola red which made life very easy. Keeping things simple upfront the guys fitted a new headlight and all-in-one speedo, leaving the controls stock.
OK so ground hasn’t been broken with this build but it does highlight the proliferation of the custom scene and the abundance of customers from all nations wanting to ride something unique. Sergey & Mikhail and z17 have just started out but future projects are already on the bench and we’ll no doubt hear more from them over the coming months.