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‘79 BMW R80/7 – Kevil’s Speed Shop

Posted on February 14, 2014 by Andrew in Bobber, Brat. 22 comments


If you ever found yourself in England and in desperate need of a cleansing ale, get yourself a Fullers. And if you wanted transport to get to the pub, try a Jaguar. Then say, perhaps, you find yourself low on petrol while en route, a British Petroleum service station is ideal. But should you have a moment of clarity while refilling and decide you need a decent custom bike between your legs, then a Kevil’s creation will be your best bet. You see, if there’s one shop that’s as British as bulldogs and bad weather, it’s a Kevil’s Speed Shop creation. And here’s their latest victory; an R80/7 named ‘Artisan’. Just don’t mention the German thing…


“Kevil’s Speed Shop is based in Devon in the south-west of England,” says Kev Hill, Kevil’s owner and chief wrencher. “We have been building custom BMW motorcycles for around 5 years now and we have about 20 completed bikes. I like to think that we are probably the world’s biggest custom BMW bike business.”

“Belstaff recently purchased my own BMW cafe racer as a gift for David Beckham after they used it for their ad campaign”

Tank snorkel with speedo attached? Check

“Belstaff recently purchased my own personal BMW cafe racer as a gift for David Beckham after they used it for their ad campaign.” I hate it when that happens. “So I decided to build myself a completely new out-of-the-box, badass concept bike for 2014 based on a 1979 BMW R80/7.

The donor bike was purchased from a guy that left a voicemail message on my phone while we were in Ibiza last summer. It went something like this – “I know of a BMW for sale. Are you interested? If so, call me back. I’m in Devon.” Fate? We’d like to think so.


“Following a few comments from internet trolls about our bikes being ‘all the same’ I decided to create something completely different. Why not throw all we had at this build , which in our case meant all the spares we had kept from previous bikes. And for the critic out there, our signature style Cafe Racers are all completely different.  The devil is in the details, my friends.”


“So the bike was reduced to a pile of parts in a day and then ‘processed’. It’s basically sorting out the good the bad and the ugly. We keep the good, bin the bad and sell the ugly… and let me tell you, there was lots of bad and ugly with this bike.

The frame was completely de-lugged before being handed over to our very capable, semi-tamed fabricator. Ideas were thrown around, sketches were made and even a scale model of a early BMW R69 was purchased to explain my vision for this build. The challenge was to build a radical, urban, grungy industrial sled taking inspiration from BMWs of yesteryear. And all with a Kevils Custom Twist.”


“The wheels were sent off for rebuilding and a sliding top triple tree was fitted to drop the front end. With these chunky Coker Diamonds we didn’t want a chopper stance – more of a long, low and heavy one.

“The tank is from an old Yamaha from the early eighties that we had lying around the shop. With some work we made it fit and our logo, the rust and patina is all expertly custom airbrushed thanks to Killerpaints.”


“A vintage Brooke’s leather cycle seat’s proportions worked well and married up well behind the slim long tank. The exhaust system is a stroke of genius in itself, I do say so myself. I wanted the silencer box to run across the frame. It’s simple, minimal and loud.


“Finally, all the hardware was powder coated black, then wet sprayed with a special oven bake matting agent to obtain that industrial, almost gritty charcoal finish. The old engine and transmission have been completely rebuilt and upgraded with 1000cc R100RS barrels pistons, big valve heads and new Mikuni carbs. It pushes it down the road nicely. All new electrics, hidden wiring and a new Boyer Branson ignition and charging system is also fitted for reliability.”



Welcome to Sunny Devon

[Photography by Ashley Kent]

  • tony

    Looks cool but that seat has to go

  • nathas909

    Yeh I would have to agree, very very cool, but that seat is just not right. It would look cool with a long low slung seat sitting on the frame.

  • Стефан ‘Dobermann’ Петров

    I like it very much! Lots of nice details! The one thing I don’t like is the American chopper style handlebar since it is way out of the minimalistic, simple and clean vision of the bike.

    • Bar Stool

      I agree.. everything works for me on this bike.. even the seat.. but those bars are out of place.. does not fit the look of this bike..

  • Statenheimer

    That exhaust is absolutely fantastic. I love the overall look of the whole thing, and the patina airbrushing on the tank made me do a double-take.
    Since everyone is required to give some form of criticism… the bars are not my personal taste, and I feel a front fender somewhat mirroring the rear would be perfect. But to each their own

    @nathas909:disqus – that would probably look great, but would completely change rider position and thus the feel of the bike

  • mr to you

    you pushed the boat out on this build .try pushing it over the side of the boat next time when your 3 miles off the Devon coast ,,,,,

  • revdub

    This looks like what a Blitz bike would look like if they cleaned up the cables and such. I like it. I have to say though, I agree on the seat and handlebars. Change those two things and this minimalistic bike is spot on.

    • muit

      i like the bars

  • Paul McM

    If that exhaust works in terms of flow, back pressure, and DBs, then it is a brilliant design, one that deserves study by factory engineers. Kudos! I would have to ride the bike before passing judgment on the bars. If the hand grips have the right spread and fall naturally to the hands, then I don’t mind the 90-deg bar bends. What’s most important is that the bar ends are in the right place and the bike steers well. The Seat? Hated those Brooks saddles even on bicycles. Tank: “The rust and patina is all expertly custom airbrushed” — Hmm, as long as it’s not REAL rust I guess I can live with that. But painting fake rusts spots seems gimmicky, juvenile, and frankly, kind of lame. Like some idea you come up with after 5 beers, but regret later.

  • Tim Burke

    Great looking build. I love it when the wiring is hidden and everything is kept minimal. I see the lines of the old R69 in the inspiration. Kudos. Ride on!

  • Jed


  • Richard

    horrible seat

  • G Whain

    I like the handlebars… Does anyone knows where to find them in 7/8″?
    Or even better handlebars like the Biltwell Mustache or Maynard in 7/8…
    I have been looking for months but didn’t manage to find those.

    • revdub

      I have seen similar handlebars on It’s a moped part online store, but they have some cross over motorcycles parts as well. They have a set of bars called “untwisted chrome handlebars” in 7/8 that look almost identical to this set. The only problem is catching them when they are in stock.

      • G Whain

        Thanks! Exactly what I need!

  • mat cameron

    Everything is perfect because that’s the way you invisioned it , not because its how I would like it to look. Awesome build !

  • Bultaco Metralla

    Brutal simplicity hiding a whole lot of intricate detail. Superb!

  • woody

    Sorry don’t get the tank, or the seat.

  • Davidabl2

    Like they used to say about certain Harleys : ” not much more than a big engine-and a place to sit” Not that that’s a bad thing…

  • Very cool build – not your every day BMW custom. I love the look of the stripped down BMW frame that leaves those great big shocks sticking out.

  • Guzzto

    I don’t know where posh is going to sit? I guess that’s the point.

  • Ryan Colvin

    I love how neat and clean the BMW motors are. This bike really showcases the motor wonderfully. Would love to cruse this beaut around.