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BMW R100 – Kevil’s Speed Shop


Posted on October 27, 2015 by Andrew in Café Racer, Classic. 23 comments

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Written by Martin Hodgson.

Kevil’s Speed Shop describe themselves as “The UK’s premier custom BMW builder, producing top quality, one-off commissioned BMWs.” It’s a bold statement, but with bikes as perfect as this 1981 BMW R100 just one example of what rolls out of their workshop, they have plenty of evidence to back it up. Founded by Kevin Hill, a man with decades of experience, the team operate out of the seaside town of Paignton in Devon. Having seen one of their past builds Andrea, who is an IT consultant from Prague, knew exactly what he wanted. With the build in mind, he gave the team free rein to build him the ultimate BMW R Café Racer and boy, did they deliver.

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If there is one thing that is common to all Kevil’s builds its how clean they are, the attention to detail and the sheer perfectionism applied in all areas. This build known as “Wild Thing” is no different, you could literally eat off it and the tins are fit for the Queen. The paint work is a mix of gold with fawn grey broken up by black line work that flows seamlessly from front to back. The tank is as straight as any item you’d see off the show room floor and wears Kevil’s badges where the BMW items once were laid. The café racer style seat with its matching paint work sits on a reworked custom subframe with Andrea taking pride of place sitting on an incredible taupe leather seat by Kevil’s. Even the headlight features the same incredible paint work and attention to detail, a level of finish truly befitting of the Speed Shop name.

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There is something more than a little special about the engine fitted to the R100, a twin cylinder boxer engine of some 980cc means a hefty crank and two enormous pistons flinging from side to side. Hit the electric start and for a moment or two it feels like the world might end until the Bavarian balances up and ticks over at idle with just the slightest of vibration. Improving the fuelling and throttle response Kevil’s added a pair of Mikuni VM34 carburettors from Japan with pod filters. While the electrical side is just as impressive, all the way from Denver Colorado comes The Euro MotoElectrics EnDuraSpark electronic ignition, an electronic hall effect trigger and electronic ignition advance module that works with an EnDuraLast charging system. The exhaust is fed out of a stunning set of headers and crossover pipe that expel gases through twin matte black finished classic mufflers.

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A lightened flywheel helps the big BMW engine spin up and all that torque is sent through the 5 speed box to the silky smooth delivery of the shaft drive rear end. While earlier versions of the R100 had left riders feeling the need for a little more brake this bike suffers nothing of the sort, the twin drilled discs are clamped by Brembo calipers and give confidence inspiring performance all day long. The front suspension utilises the factory telescopic forks that are held in place by a beautiful billet top yoke and the whole setup looks better than brand new. While out back adjustable YSS shocks not only look the business but further enhance the performance credentials of this seriously impressive machine.

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But there is more to this amazing build than just the way it goes and stops, just take a look at the detailing of that engine. A mix of raw metal and black paint work in just the right places, the airbox has been removed and a cover added but rather than waste the space it’s become home to the ignition. This along with the custom top yoke further cleans up the front end aided brilliantly with the white-faced Koso multifunction gauge. Like everything and I mean everything on this build it has either been replaced or overhauled, that goes for the new master cylinder, clip-ons, switch blocks and levers that all add to the show quality finish. Signalling is left to the neatly installed LED indicators with clear lenses while the tail light has been mounted into the tail section for a factory like fit.

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The Café seat dictates this is a ride purely for one and so both sets of pegs have been ditched, the rider now using a set of custom rearsets. There is no rear fender but the blacked out front item is bobbed to precise dimensions and is also built as a fork brace to further refine the handling of the gator’d forks. The hubs and axles have been cleaned within an inch of their life and now support a set of the stock BMW wheels in black wrapped in Continental tyres for all conditions. Even the fuel taps are impressive in their truly NOS finish, the aircraft like linkages on the foot controls and side stand and the frame that is smooth, detabbed and not a blemish in sight.

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Perhaps what makes Kevil’s Speed Shops achievement with this build so impressive is that this is not a one-off item designed to drum up business, they build all their bikes to this lofty standard. And now on the streets of Prague, when his keyboard falls silent, Andrea can join an elite company of riders who get to pilot the exclusive bespoke builds that roll out of the Devon workshop one incredible motorcycle after another.

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  • Beautiful clean design and very tasteful colors… LOVE IT!

  • Ricky Rios

    very balanced bike, even the rear sets match up perfectly.

  • BoxerFanatic

    Very nice, very clean build.

    Just two things… the black stripe on the tank, can’t decide if it is trying to be a loop, or a scallop… it probably should be one or the other.

    Entirely blacked-out engine panels, and also with black cylinder barrels, but a silver smooth-sided, square-edged crank case looks like the BMW engine is made of lego, or something… The front cover should be silver with black vertical ribs, and the top cover and air box blanking cover should be silver. Or the crank case should be black, or something… to make the central engine block look like a whole form, not emphasize the pieces and highlight the square seams.

    The black snowflakes, the tank, the seat cowl, all look really clean.

    • think that is about twenty things but am confused

      • BoxerFanatic

        1: black stripe on the tank should either be a loop or a scallop, not a broken loop.

        2: the engine block should be mostly one color, not a bunch of silver and black blocks and edge lines.

        Sorry if it was confusing.

        • is a zebra black with white stripes or white with black stripes

          • blackbird

            so. deep. mind. blown.

    • Loudboys

      A more appropriate phrasing would be: “I’d like it better if…” All the things you’ve mentioned are subjective-they are a matter of taste, and there’s no right (or wrong) way to do them.

      • BoxerFanatic

        At no point did I say that either of my points were anything other than suggestion.

        Being a comment on an open internet forum is implication enough that they are just comments, and in no way mandates. It isn’t my bike, and if it were, I would have done those things differently, as mentioned.

        I am not seeing a necessity to redundantly state that it is an opinion, of course it is an opinion.

  • dull as dishwater but no wrap or fat tyres so wonderful am so happy

  • I have never worked on a Boxer before and this bike just makes me thirsty for BMW knowledge….The lines are amazing, the paint is amazing, the electronic ignition sounds amazing, the carbs, the speedo, the bars……I think I’m in love

    • reckon there is a market for blow up versions

  • guvnor67

    Should be WORLDS BEST CUSTOM BMW BUILDER! Sensational!

    • Black dog

      If that’s the best the world has to offer we are all doomed !!!
      its a nice bike no more , no less.

  • Bultaco Metralla

    Wonderful bike. Great lines, great craft and a great deal of thought before they began.

  • Alasdair Sykes

    Fantastic and clean. Love the colour scheme particularly. I’d have been tempted to black out an additional portion at angle at the top of the crankcase, to level out the lines of the tank and engine and avoid that engine-going-uphill, frame-going-downhill thing that beemer customs always suffer from. But who knows, maybe the seam would still show through and it’d just look naff. Just a thought.

  • Now this is one clean BMW. Everything nonessential is taken away leaving a beautiful, light, purposeful cafe racer in the traditional sense. Great colors.

    • Hardley T Whipsnade III

      And more importantly . No pipe wrap ! Honestly this is a bit [ ok a lot ] too retro for my tastes and the whole Cafe genre’s becoming rather tired and losing steam rapidly but there’s no denying this is one clean little beauty .

      As far as another’s comment calling for Best Custom BMW builder ?That is one serious overstatement and hyperbole to the max with my going so far as to say not even in the top ten . This is nice mind you . But not nearly that nice

  • Well done, especially considering Kevil’s is a shop spitting out custom bikes to turn a profit. Having built a similar 1981 R100 café, I am noticing all the extra details that I myself didn’t bother with yet these guys did. Like the improved side stand and master cylinder and new hand controls. I know how much I spent on mine and this one has more money in it almost everywhere except for the wheels, where I converted to spokes which was very expensive. Bottom line is, this seems like a custom one-off more than a built-for-sale bike. And boy is it polished.

    Subjectively, I too think the motor would look better in one color rather than this “lego” look that someone else coined above. And on suck a clean bike, a rear inner fender would really help keep the bike clean if this is intended to really be a rider. But those are minor details.

  • cab305

    Really nice but….If you are calling yourself “premier”.
    The seat would flow better into the tank, and the seat cowl wouldn’t just be a long dull straight line along the bottom. The top shouldn’t just be rounded, it should match the curvature of the tank with a flatter top. The whole back doesn’t “look” like it belongs on this bike, a little slapped on and painted.

    Like I said, awesome bike… But here people tell you how they feel.

  • reddog

    This is a clean bike but calling yourself the UK “premier” BMW bike builder is a strong statement, from what i can see there is not a huge amount of skill gone into the design and build of this bike, most of it is bought in and bolt on parts.
    The biggest thing that lets this bike down is the seat unit it just does not fit, the sub frame is poor and you can see the battery box interfering with what should be clean lines. The plastic bolt on top engine cover amplifies the sloping look of the engine giving the bike a bent appearance, the mix of silver and black is not helping with the sloping look, they look much better with the standard cover. I will say the paint finish on the tank looks stunning its the poor fitting seat and the abundance of bolt on catalogue parts that let this bike down for a “premier” custom built bike. It needs attacking more with the grinder and welder and what ever other tools you have at your disposal for that premier custom build tag, if it was a shed built bike by the guy who does a bit of wrench turning after the office day job it would be a spot on build.

    • cab305

      Yup!

  • jakob El Greco

    Very great design 🏍 indeed.!!