BMW R100 – Kevil’s Speed Shop
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.