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BMW R45 ‘Pure’ by Ton-Up Garage

Posted on June 6, 2014 by Scott in Classic, Scrambler. 25 comments


Written by Martin Hodgson

When the Bavarian Boffins released the R45 in 1978 as a conservative middleweight they could never have imagined that their little BMW that could would one day be turned into a Two-Wheeled Urban Assault Vehicle. But renowned “Scrambler” builders from Portugal, Daniel and Pedro, of Ton-Up Garage in Portugal have done exactly that and the result is anything but German conservatism.

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Hailing from the seaside city of Porto, a UNESCO listed Heritage site with a history dating back to the 4th century, Ton-Up build bikes that can look as good pulled up at a small café as they do screaming down the rough cobblestone alleyways of the old city. But this is no commission build, collaboration of the style of a builder and the demands of a customer, the R45 is Ton-Up’s own and no compromise would be accepted. “We’ve started from a previous custom attempt on this bike that we’ve felt that had failed to end up with what we thought this bike was all about, simplicity and purity.”


The bike starts and ends with the wild off road rubber fitted to a set of freshly laced spoked rims that immediately takes the bike back to its 70’s origins. Controlling the way the rubber meets the road is a new set of adjustable Hagon shocks for the rear and rebuilt and altered front forks. The side on profile is the most important of any Scrambler build and so Ton-Up built a new rear subframe to give the perfect bone line before complementing the look with aggressive front and rear mudguards.

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Scramblers are about simplicity, so anything that is not needed is removed and anything that can be smaller now is. The indicators, rear tail light and speedo all copped the reduction method while the headlight has been readied for battle with a custom grill and any unnecessary plastics tossed aside.


Torquey and reliable define the Boxer Twin, making it the perfect heart of a scrambler build and a few more ponies are added to the factory 35hp with a handmade heat wrapped exhaust and high flowing pod filters. The valve covers are painted the same Earth Brown that adorns the tank, complimented by a striking pure white. All flowing rearward towards the custom trimmed flat seat with embossed Ton-Up Garage logo that also has been cleverly incorporated into the BMW badging.

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The finishing touch comes by way of off road motocross bars and brown gum grips for wrestling the R45 down the back streets. What you are left with is signature Ton-Up; tough, simple and incredibly well built!  It’s the name of the bike, the philosophy behind the build and the best description of the end result, “Pure”!



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[Street photos by Manuel Portugal]

[Technical photos by Joel Bessa]

  • Michael Kork.

    Hoooooooly Sh!*t ! I’m moving to Portugal right now to drool outside their garage. Where to start. The colour palette is wonderful, the attention to details is magnificent. I wouldn’t ride this thing. I’d put it to a glass box and look at it all day. P.S. The link to their site is not working.

  • Cliff Overton

    Blech! I know what I like and this isn’t it. It’s like the builder got a brief from a committee to go all out to create the perfect fashion statement. It doesn’t gell as a complete bike, it’s a ‘bits stuck anywhere – tick a box’ attempt to be cool. Hey, I don’t hold back (get used to it).

    • Jorgan

      Not to mention the studio shots looked photoshopped to the point that it looks like a rendering.

      • Agreed. They are a little overworked. Amazing bike, though. Looks almost like something BMW could have built themselves.

    • grammarbird

      Well, its probably good they didn’t build this for you then, whew! However, what you mean to say is, it doesn’t “jell” as a complete bike. You also meant to say “Belch” as maybe in “armchair quarterbacks make me want to belch!” Or maybe “Belarf” instead? Like a half Belch and half Barf????

      • Correct spelling is either ‘gel’ or ‘jell’. Means the same thing. It’s just American/English variations. No ‘gell’ currently used in common English language, but used to mean ‘girl’ in certain parts of England.

    • If this is what does’t ‘gell’ in your eyes, I’d suggest you get new eyes. I agree the exhaust colour is a daring choice, but as someone who sees a LOT of bikes, this thing ‘gells’ like a mutha.

  • These white exhausts torture my eyes. Don’t get me wrong, but this color looks magical for me only on F1 Ferraris of the ’60s.

    • Jorgan

      Probably because the Ferrari was built for a specific purpose. This BMW, not so much. Unless being parked outside a cafe 3 minutes from home is a purpose.

      • Parked at a local café? You mean like an, umm, café racer?

      • arnold

        In the old days,and with some license, I could wear it out in a week, two weeks tops.

  • Art.

    • arnold

      As beautiful as this motorcycle is, I don’t get the feeling that I would be left at the side of the road (unless I got too aggressive with the knobbies).
      Speaking of which, the double disks are a sure sign of trouble with the tire/ macadam para-dime shift.
      I’m sure Mr Manx’s eyes lit up as did mine at the ISDT look.
      It must get dirty, It must suffer for it’s art.

  • blackbird

    Hey guys. I really like the copper brown of the tank. The white muffler is also quite different. I haven’t seen that on any bikes here that i can remember. Its pretty cool. Question for y’all if you get to reading this. After the addition of the pod filters, What considerations lead y’all to retain the air filter box a top the engine. Don’t get me wrong here. I like the pods on there. I have even though about putting um on my BMW. However, I found that after removing the air box produces some pretty sharp angles that were highly contrasted against the roundness of the frame and engine and became very distracting to the eye. Did y’all end up with the same issue?

  • Leroy

    Nein danke.

  • Jeffrey Wallis Bell-Zekas

    really like this scrambler styled Beemer- here in the states, the “small” BMW bikes are less popular and cheaper to buy- makes we want to get one!

  • Frank White

    The number plate is appropriate…

  • Frank White

    At least the number plate is appropriate…

  • Deej

    Love it!

  • Paulo

    I live in Porto, Portugal and I’ve seen this bike in a number of occasions, either parked or moving and I have to say it’s quite stunning. The pictures don’t make it justice (and the white exhaust fits quite well).

    • Paulo

      I meant to write “on a number of occasions”.

  • Bruce Morris

    Yes, ticks all the boxes (no pun intended). Stunning bike and certainly inspiration for my next build.

  • Ken Lindsay

    That bike, if it were mine, would have two tanks. One to put on a shelf for the day I might (I wouldn’t though) part with her and one that would get all the dents and scratches from day to day riding, off road included. Wow, amazing work. Normally, I would say I am not a fan of the pipe-wrap or white mufflers, but I wouldn’t change a thing. Its that nice!

  • Unicron Case

    Not a fan of those mufflers. but the rest looks great.