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‘85 BMW K100 – H Garage


Posted on March 9, 2016 by Andrew in Scrambler. 22 comments

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The relationship between client and creator is always a tricky one. Just ask any designer; their customers always want a game-changing creation for nix, and they usually want it yesterday. But great work always takes time. Time, and the patronage of someone who understands that the bike builder might actually know more about, you know, building bikes. When this happens, art often follows. Art like this, for instance; the latest and dare we say greatest from Kentucky’s best custom bike builder, Scott Halbleib of H Garage.

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Moonlighting as a bartender to get some time outside of the workshop paid off for Scott in off more ways than one. Enter ‘Coop’, a regular drinker for the past 6 months or so who, after a few vodkas one evening, said he’d like to get himself another motorcycle. We’re guessing someone like Scott could probably help him out with that. “A couple more vodkas, some discussions on makes and models and he leaves telling me to see if I could find him something,” says Scott. “Two days later I emailed him an Ebay ad for a fairly rough K100. 3 days later it was being shipped.”

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Scott’s not typically inclined to do commissioned builds – mainly because he says he always feel constrained by budget, but times are tough and Coop seemed like a good guy who, unlike most, understood that building a solid, bespoke custom bike is no cheap or simple process. In the end, Scott was up for the challenge and Coop was on board. After a brief test ride on dry rotted tires and with a handy self-detaching mirror, Scott took it back to the shop and stripped it down. “I was hoping I could convince Coop that, while we would most likely go over budget, I really wanted to do a little more with it. A dual-sport headlight shroud, an engine guard, some high pipes and a rear hugger would make for a nice build. And one that I would be willing to badge with the h garage emblem, too. Luckily, he agreed.”

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I, for one, welcome our new Flying Brick overlords

The first big task on the list was the headlight shroud. Scott had an idea in his head, but he wasn’t sure where he’d seen it before. “At first I thought it was an old GS design, but now it seems a little closer to an old KLR.” A headlight from an FT500 and some posterboard mock-ups gave Scott the basic shape was looking for. He then formed the frames out of 1/4″ round bar and welded on the panels. The ‘windscreen’ is a separate piece that can be removed; four fork clamps attach the shroud to bike.

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Rear hugger sourced from Ducati Multistrada

Two fenders were sourced; the rear unit was chopped and welded to the frame, while the front was shortened and channeled. A slimline, arched LED taillight was then built into the underside of the new dirt catcher. Rectangular aluminium turn signals we also added while Scott was down there.

“Things seem so easy on paper,” Scott laments. “In this case, it was the hugger. New units were very expensive, but a friend suggested we try one from a Ducati Multistrada, which turned out to be half the price of the unit from a BMW GS.” It was an easy decision, but mounting it to a cast aluminum housing was a hell of a lot harder. After much faffing about, Scott decided to use the brake caliper mount and the shock mount as anchor points, with a tabbed band running around the wheel housing that secures the actual hugger. Can’t you just imagine the cussing?

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Next, the exhaust. Cue a pesky little clutch arm that extended directly into the path of the new mid-pipe section. It was slotted, then turned, then welded to a custom-bent 1 1/2″ section which then attaches to two Emgo mufflers with some pretty fancy heat shields.

“After a long search, an aftermarket ATV guard I found on Ebay looked like it had potential to work with the build. Once it arrived, I realized I would have to mod the cross-bar to allow it to fit. I designed a bracket on the computer and sent to Metal Supermarket to be plasma cut and bent accordingly.”

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One of Coop’s requirements was to be able to haul around the occasionally lady friend. Scott chopped the frame as much as possible while leaving just enough room for an extra set of moneymakers and then fabbed up a seat pan out of multiple pieces of metal. Then, with the tire selection made beforehand, he wanted to match up the ‘tread’ pattern on the seat. “I measured and laid out a few patterns on the computer, but ultimately Ginger at New Church Moto worked her usual magic.”

Other miscellaneous niceties include fork gaiters up front, a RAM Xmount for phone & speedo duties, a push-button ignition switch, Moose handguards, low-rise dirtbike bars, a pair of mesh side panels and some low slung, non-detachable mirrors.

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All told the project took a little over three months, which isn’t bad considering there was another build happening and the aforementioned bartending gig to deal with. “It’s meaty, raw and the exhaust note matches the look. We went 70% over budget, but it’s good to have a client that shares your vision and realizes that time is money. It’s renewed my interest to take on commission. Bring ’em on.”

[Photography by Ted Wirth]








  • Fez

    Wow! That is sweet. Flying Bricks really are picking up on the customisation front. Super reliable and pretty goof aesthetics. How does the phone and speedo connect up?

  • Fez

    I meant good aesthetics.

  • Hardley T Whipsnade III

    OK . Could we cool it with the knobbies for fashions sake completely out of context with the overall build ! Guaranteed one trip off road would leave this bike and all its ancillaries in pieces . Enough already ! This is the 2nd bike this month [ the other being the previous chopper ] thats had all its credibility utterly destroyed by the current trend irony for irony’s sake irrelevant tire choices . Put a set of road tires or at the very least some ADV rubber on it and this bike’d be the bee’s knees and a brutal Urban Warrior to die for . But as it is its a weak interpretation of a ‘ Mad Max ‘ special neither radical enough to be a n MM bike nor sensible enough to actually want to ride or own .

    • John Wanninger

      I hate a lot more than just the tires on this pile. Enough with BMWs altogether already.

      • motomick

        Haters gotta be haters.

    • agree but check out the posted video on the previous chopper, nuts

    • I must agree with you on the knobbies front. I have a rear knobbie and it gives away under minor breaking and acceleration on pavement way more than a suitable street tire would. I’ve learned my lesson, no more ‘fashion first’ choices where it matters, like how much rubber meets the road. The contact patch for a motorcycle is already miniscule.

  • Jim Stuart

    I would like to second HTW3’s request for less knobbies unless they’re poking through a skin tight tee shirt.

  • Gregory Doppstadt

    Knobbies not only make the bike look tuff, but they also make it sound like a deuce-and-a-half going down the road. The ride would be a lot better with a set of Metzelers but you do a custom build for vibe. This does it well. Most customs are designed for a quarter mile straight-a-way or one twisting road outside LA and are useless otherwise. This thing can do a lot and looks like it does it well. Great build.

  • revdub

    Another stellar build. I can’t wait to see this in the wild.

  • does the h tank decal stand for horrible?

  • Bango

    That exhaust routing hurts my soul.
    I like the rest of the bike!

  • just swap those tame knobbies for some ice spikes!

  • This bike is a compilation of unrelated styles. All nice stuff, but they don’t work well together as a group. Weird does not automatically equal better or even good in most cases.That said, IF the bike has a wicked stance, maybe that would work, but instead it has the frumpy fat woman kinda look, draggin’ it’s butt.

    • guvnor67

      The forward lean of the tank and rearward lean of the seat makes it look like it wants to snap in half. Aside from that it could be the next bike for Daryl from “The Walking Dead”.

    • Dave Coetzee

      As usual, I value your spot-on comments as I do your highly professional builds. I was wondering whether you could kindly crit my recent low budget, amateur build, that would never make it onto the pages of this glamorous and most enjoyable website. If so, your contact e-mail address will be most appreciated.

      • shalbleib

        Thanks Dave. My thoughts exactly. Salt they prob won’t get it.

  • Mo Denaro

    Am sure it took lots of hours to build.
    Hours you will never get back.

  • axcoping

    wow-using pvc conduit piping to connect the headers to the exhaust was a stroke of genius.

    • shalbleib

      There needs to be a idiot filter on here

  • Chris

    All of the parts are individually terrific. I’m not sure that the look is cohesive…front fender and tail light assembly vs rear fender/plate holder? Headlight shroud vs tank? Overall, a cool bike, but maybe a little disjointed.