Operation Transformation!

For those that know, the BMW R1100s is a fairly solid bike. Lots of electronics and a good dependable bike.
Neither rocket ship nor slouch… as we say it’s a beige bike.

You probably cant even think of what it looks like in standard trim (checkout the photo below)
Despite first appearances, dig beneath the horrendous jelly-mould fairing and bodywork, they are actually a pretty cool designed bike.

Everything hangs from the main chassis, the odd front suspension set-up is strangely cool as is the single sided swingarm which doubles up as the enclosed shaft drive.

 “I want something Mad Max would be afraid to ride”

When Andy initially approached us with a view to a custom build we chatted about various donor bikes.

It so happens that Andy, who calls himself a plumber, had been commuting to his ‘plumbing job’ in Belfast on a trusty BMW R1200s.

 Andy is actually a surgeon who specialises in human plumbing!!!


The EMW looks a far cry from original


It made sense to take his BMW and turn it into something different, he still had his KTM Supermoto to commute on!

Andy basically gave us free reign on the build. He did say he would like something that Mad Max would be afraid to ride, so we printed that on our ‘build board’ and made it our mission statement.

"The thought of stripping the entire loom was unappealing.."  

These bikes have an extraordinary amount of wiring and relays which is neatly positioned in two boxes inset into the front of the original fairing. As we were doing away with all the bodywork, we needed somewhere to hide the spaghetti.

The thought of stripping the entire loom was unappealing so we set about isolating the essential sensors and signal wires. Once you get stuck into it, a wiring job seems to flow and we managed to get most of the essential wiring re-routed back up under the fuel tank and out of sight.

Lurking beneath the plastic cover is a beautiful alloy petrol tank which was almost usable in its native format. We shaped it a little to even it up on both sides while removing as many wrinkles as we could. Then the tank was polished to a beautiful glint.

Initially we planned on making a new ‘spine for the tank to house the protruding petrol filler cap. However when the tank was all polished and shaped, just for the craic, we set the standard piece on top and it worked.

There was a gap running between the tank and the spine so we took a row of white LED lights and mounted them beneath to give the effect that the spine is floating on the allow tank. It’s subtle enough not to be gawdy!!!

"It's subtle enough not to be gawdy!!"  

The rear end was cut off the bike and we made a new subframe where we would hang mini-led indicators. During the scope phase of the project Andy said he liked the look of a beefy front with a minimalist rear. So we opted for a seat at the rear and pretty much nothing else.

We used an old Harley seat base cut and shaped to get the basic lines. Then we handed it over to our leather guru Claudio to come up with something special. Claudio never lets us down, his craftsmanship is astounding. He takes the time to look at the bike and chat about what we want to achieve. My only request is that he incorporate the screaming skull off our latest T-Shirt design, into the seat design. What he came up with is… well… judge for yourself! 

Idiot lights housed in a 6 shooter

A minimalist wedge shaped LED tail light was mounted under the seat and it is very bright.Keeping it as close to original, we never changed the geometry of the bike, Andy liked how it handles so the only change we made was lowering the seat height by about 2 inches to get the lines of the seat and tank right.

If anything it improves the handling as you now sit right down into the bike rather than sitting on top of it.
The front of the bike was stripped right back, all the wiring and system relays repositioned and only the indicator and headlight wires remain, all tucked neatly behind a hand made numberplate shield which houses a pair of spyball lights.

Due to the suspension setup at the front of the bike, we were able to get the front guard (essential piece of kit) mounted pretty close to the tyre. We moulded and twisted the front guard to get it to follow the contours of the lower suspension arm… a small detail but an important one.

The oil cooler on the BMW sits out in front under the headlight, so we had to flip it upside down and re-do all the plumbing to get it positioned on the bottom arm… We should have called Andy to help with the plumbing!This bike is a real head turner and the first question is usually…”what is it?” followed closely by…”ooh it’s a BMW”It used to be a BMW it’s now an EMW!!



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