BMW Street Scrambler

A Life Loved


ABOVE: We rolled the beamer out the front of the shop for a few pics

RELAX!!! It's not like we took a classic R100 and beat it to death... No... No... This was a bit of a dog when we picked it up for £500. It was too far gone to be turned back in time, so we done the only humane thing and built this badass scrambler.

Before being rescued, this 1980 R100 was heading for the scrap heap, but she had so much character or as the yanks say 'patina' it would have been a shame to cover her scarred and battered past. Scramblers are all the rage but they have long been a love of mine, mostly due to the fact that my outings typically end in an off-road excursion and not always by choice! However on this occasion, off-road was the only way to go.

With TK's, new subframe and scrambler bars, you can see it taking shape

The temptation with a build is always to strip, blast, powdercoat, rebuild and admire. Nothing wrong with that, but what you end up with is a new looking old bike. You loose all the character, wrinkles, scrapes and tales of an lived-in existence.

A set of TK's were fitted and already it looked right. The aim was to keep the imperfections on display, this is a 36 year old bike, not a new build, so we decided to keep it simple and let the old girl express herself.

This yoke last lived on the road as a chopper. She had 18" apes, tool rolls, studs, leather saddle bags, skulls... Like Madonna, this beamer was vintage, knocking on a little, different but a tad out dated and in need of serious love.

'A life loved' was the general theme, so we set about putting in place a plan that would bring this old gal back to life. At this point I would like to say 'the team' took to the white-board, pooled the 3-D animations, brainstormed the design and set upon the unsuspecting Madonna like a plague of locusts... But that would be a total fabrication of the truth.

Fact is we run a rather unsexy but busy workshop, where Harley servicing and Royal Enfield tuning take place side by side. Broken Honda Hornets and Can-am Spyders must be rebooted and returned to their rightful owners. So a material girl finds herself shoved in the corner... out of Vogue.

Painted a battleship blue, we almost became blind to the old girl's charms and she languished in the corner for about 8 months. Our new diagnostic software arrived and we needed somewhere to put it, so 'true blue' was dug out of the corner, that would become home for our new systems. Suddenly it was in the way, and with nowhere to go, I needed her 'out the front'.

We dumped the old sub-frame and made a new one. The engine was pulled but rather than powdercoat, we decided to brush paint the frame with old skool enamel satin. A wisp of gloss on the rocker boxes and a bit of footering with the engine and hey-presto, it looked like a well loved and well used pair of boxers...

The frame was stripped, to bare metal then brush painted

The wheels were gloss painted and a new pair of gold-top home built rear shocks were fitted. At the rear, we replaced the link pipes with copper and although the rear brake is a bit of an ornament, it does enough to stop the thumper rolling back at the lights!

The front is pretty standard, we stuck with the standard headlight albeit with new internals and lens. Front forks are pretty much standard but rebuilt with a special blend heavy oil and new seals.

To stop the muck from chucking, we bent a big piece of steel for the rear guard. It was too long so we cut a lump out and fitted the remains to the new subframe... It looks great! The off-cut was used to make the front guard. It was about an inch too wide so we ran the grinder down it, cut the middle out and welded it all together. Thinking about how to mount it we decided a lump of chain would do a trick, so it was welded in place & bolted to the forks.

Hand made gold top shocks were a bit bling bling but they certainly look as good as they perform

We sold the bike a year previous and knew it was a solid lump, the next thing was to get a bit of fuel to the spark. The tank was in pretty good condition, and remembering an R45 I built a number of years ago, the decision was taken to paint the tank a brown/bronze colour which was an original BMW colour from the 70's.

The white bits were inspired by the old 70's BM's which had a block paint inlay on the front-side of the tank although it was taken a step further with a pinstripe all around.The guards were left as bare metal and lacquered, scrapes and all.

We looked at various seats, the internerd was filled with mass-produced brat, cafe, ribbed, quilted...The list goes on but they all looked a bit too perfect, so we called in our pal Claudio, a leather craftsman, to make something special. Claudio is an exiled Italian with a pet dragon who lives in Ireland, but going in his favour is the fact that he is a true master leatherworker.

sometimes even a bit of poorly placed masking tape can help confirm an idea for paint

Hand made leather saddle looks sweet as it feels

After a quick conversation he had the theme and quickly made up a beautiful rugged hand crafted saddle. We dumped the traditional BMW air filter and decided to mount the battery in its place, so when we were looking for a way to secure the battery, Claudio made a leather belt which was the perfect choice. Continuing the leather theme, when we mounted the new headlight internals, there was an uneven gap around the front of the headlight, we could have worked the metal to make it all fit, but we needed the oul thumper out of the workshop so our Italian stallion made a beautiful leather strip to hide all the imperfections, and the entire thing hangs together very well without being a bondage fest.

Numberplates always spoil a good build but they are a necessary evil, so in keeping with the rough and ready, we took a bit of chequer-plate, drilled, bent and mounted it on the left along with a mini LED light to keep it legal.First shakedown was a 3 mile run along the bumpiest road in the northern hemisphere (down the bann foot) and when she returned, not a single piece had come loose... Result.

She is now out the front and folk are undecided if it’s a good bike gone bad or a bad bike come good... Our job here is done!


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