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BMW R80 ‘Indira’ by Ton-Up Garage

Posted on May 25, 2015 by Scott in Café Racer. 26 comments


Words by Martin Hodgson.

When you’re a Frenchman who desires a German BMW to carve through the streets of London England then who better to turn to than Portugal’s Ton-Up Garage. This cross-continental custom BMW R80 is both a testament to its builders and the great state in which the custom motorcycle scene finds itself. Borders disappear, there are no limits other than your imagination and the skill of your builder; the language of cool customs is universal. Ton-Up’s Daniel and Pedro have proven themselves master builders and their BMW’s are some of the best in the world.

BMW R80 INDIRA back pres view

Whereas the most recent BMW to roll out of Ton-Up, Recall, maintained many of the styling cues and authenticity of a classic Bavarian, Indira as she is known is built to meet the customer’s request of a dark in colour, low to the ground and built for daily commuting. With suggestions based on past experience Daniel and Pedro were able to convince the customer that too much black would take away from the lines and with all in agreement the final design was completed. Suspension alone won’t give a low sleek look and so the BMW fuel tank was ditched in favour of a parts bin item that would give a more flowing appearance. Finished in a mixture of gloss black and matte black paint work with metallic brown detailing it sets the theme for the entire build.

BMW R80 INDIRA back pres2 view

To bring the BMW closer to terra firma the front suspension was rebuilt and lowered using shorter springs that still retain a level of comfort. While the single side-mounted shock is both stunning in appearance and function, but required a reworking of the fixing points to work perfectly. The factory lower shaft drive mounted position remains while the top of the shock swings on a custom bracket mated to tabs welded directly the strongest parts of the frame. All of this was vital as this bike is no show pony; it’s expected to crisscross the mean streets of London on a daily basis.


Aiding in rider comfort is one of Ton-Ups one off seats that have become a trademark of the workshop. Two tones of sumptuous brown leather are stitched with craftsman like precision and the Garage’s logo is stamped into the tail piece. The foam itself is shaped in such a way to both neatly fit the customer and also maintain the desired flowing lines. But you can’t just fit a seat like this to a standard frame, so the rear section first had to be entirely removed. A new subframe was built just for this bike and seat combo and once welded to the main frame the entire lot was sprayed in a subtle black chip-resistant coating.

BMW R80 INDIRA front pres view

Clip-ons for a low bike would have been the easy option, but the swept back bars fitted to Indira give a Brough Superior like elegance while also creating a more comfortable riding position. New levers, grips and twin button switch blocks clean up the front end. While a small headlight, single speedo gauge and even the gators add to the minimalist look and feel of the build. With being street legal a must, small bullet indicators in black feature at both ends of the BMW while a vintage style tail light is mounted to a new rear fender finished in the same gloss black that adorns the tank.


Then there are the final details, decisions that expert builders with an eye for detail make and pull the whole project in a single, uniform direction. First are the fitment of vintage Firestone Deluxe tyres whose vertical lines match beautifully to the BMW’s air-cooled fins when you view the bike front on. Finally there are those pipes, custom created headers that snake their way through the frame, neatly dressed in brown heat wrap and finishing with two snarling black reverse cone mufflers.


And therein lies the success of Portugal’s own Ton-Up Garage, an ability to take a design brief for a daily ridden low slung BMW and turn it into a show worthy custom machine that collects gazes on the streets and trophies at the show!



  • I think we might need to have a word to them about their Photoshopping…

    • To be honest, I don’t really like the bike with the background removed. At least, I prefer a custom motorcycle with a beautiful background or ridden by a beautiful girl. lol

      • arnold

        Maybe it shows better on the I Watch when it is shopped like that.

    • john john florence

      please take the chance and give a word about their colors scheme too…

  • arnold

    Like the exhaust look.


    One of those things I’d have to ride for a season to find out.

    • Ted Dumais

      With the lengths people go to to ensure their headers are the same length on each cylinder, I really don’t get pipes like this.

      • arnold

        I’m no expert at this, so y’all feel free to be chirpy.

      • Can’t you tune different lengths of headers with varying amounts of back pressure?

        • arnold

          Again, no expert.

          • Arnold, are you sure you’re not Kevin Cameron?

          • arnold

            Kevin is still much better looking.

        • Ted Dumais

          Google, my friend. It will tell you many things you don’t know yet.

      • looks like it has been fitted upside down

        • Ted Dumais

          And routed to the other side, meaning it’s longer. People modifying vehicles have preached even exhaust lengths for ages. But what do those guys know that can’t be proven wrong with some pipe wrap? I kid. If one side is shorter the gasses will get out quicker. Have fun trying to balance that. Especially with pods.

          • BoxerFanatic

            keep in mind, the right side cylinder is slightly more aft-ward than the left side, due to crankshaft offset. The left-side pipe may be straighter, but the straight section is longer by that cylinder offset distance. The right side pipe might still come out being a couple inches longer over-all, and the curves seem tighter on the right side pipe, also.

            I doubt that is the bottle-neck in terms of engine tuning on this air-head motor. The pipe work might still be larger diameter than the valve diameter and port size in the cylinder head would make truly efficient use of anyway, in terms of fluid dynamics. The ignition timing and fuel mixture could still be of more consequence than the slightly unequal length and unequal flow characteristics of the pipe bends and length.

        • guvnor67

          Just had another look and thinkin it kinda looks a bit like a CX500 (?)

  • Funny how nowadays when I see a bike like this the only thing I think it what would I steal for my own bike. I would steal the seat, everything else might be great, but the seat is what stands out as special. It’s a bit of perfection.

    • guvnor67

      That seat is my favourite part too

  • Mikey Yeah

    i wonder how many rainy london days those firestones will see before theyre turfed for a tyre that actually works to ride the bike. file em under “looks good, functionally useless in the wet”

    • guvnor67

      Yup, London’s roads have heaps of slippery crack repairs too (overbanding) which is bad enough on good tyres in the wet …. Hope he’s an experienced rider?!

    • yamahappy

      Not to mention a fender. But then a lot of the bikes seen here are claimed to be daily riders yet are highly impractical.

  • BoxerFanatic

    Very nice.

    The curvaceous tank actually looks quite good on this bike, and the seat is very nice. It almost begs for an R1100/K1200 tail light to be integrated into the back taper, like Renard Speed Shop Schmetterling K75 custom.

    The bracket to anchor the top of the shock is interesting… it doesn’t brace both sides of the shock’s mounting eyelet, despite the bracket’s width, there is a stand-off inside the bracket’s width, requiring a longer bolt, and increasing the bending and shearing force between the shock eyelet and the mounting bracket, on that bolt.

    It also looks like a trade-off, the upside-down orientation of the shock keeps the damper body and oil reservoir away from the hot exhaust, which is good for thermal management, but puts the heavy end of the shock on the un-sprung side of the equation, increasing the mass and inertia of the un-sprung swinging assembly slightly more than if the shock were mounted the other way up.

    Routing the right side exhaust crossover a bit lower, or perhaps just above the shaft drive inside the main frame loop might have give the shock more room for mounting the other direction, and may have kept some of the heat further away from the seat.

    Speaking of heat, I hope that exhaust wrap is effective, because it does cross close to the rider at several points. High exhausts look cool, but there are pragmatic reasons why they are not commonly used… and I would think it might require more heat shielding even in addition to pipe wrap, or alternately being ceramic coated inside and out.

  • vishnu

    guys…hw ds byk runs without any conctn btw wheel n engine….no chain or belt..

    • Uhm, because it’s shaft driven?

      • John Wanninger

        Bcs ts th nw tchnlgy mgic. Incrdble.

  • Hamish Lamont

    I LOVE it. Nicest airhead I’ve seen in ages. The tank, the colour, the gorgeous seat and the general cohesiveness of the thing, the unequal length (but innovatively styled) pipes; it really floats my airhead boat. Even the pipewrap is well done.