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The ‘Bavarian Knight’ R75/5 – Fuller Moto

Posted on April 18, 2016 by Scott in Café Racer, Classic. 19 comments


If you’ve been building motorcycles for a long time, you will start accumulating parts like a housewife collects Tupperware. My garage, for example, is full of old parts I have taken off, upgraded, bought cheap at swap meets or had thrown in when I’ve purchased a bike – it’s damn hard to say no to free spare parts, right? Like many builds featured on these pages, the Bavarian Knight began as a big pile of metal from a multitude of different bikes. The owner, John Yeosock, initially purchased a stash of old cast-offs from John Landstrom at Blue Moon Cycles. Then, not knowing what to make out of all the random parts, he contacted Bryan Fuller from Fuller Moto in Alanta to see if he could help. Together, they went back to John’s warehouse and rummaged through all his bits and pieces until they had picked up all the parts they felt they could build a modern, yet classic BMW cafe racer.


Starting with a 1975 BMW R75/5 750cc donor, Bryan and his team really wanted the bike to have a distinctly minimalist design aesthetic. “We wanted to build something that could have originally come from the factory back in the 70’s, but with modern touches,” says Bryan. “That era of Beemers were some of the most beautiful bikes built. The BMW engine and parts are really clean the way they designed them back then, which is very much in line with how Fuller Moto approaches design today.”


One of the most challenging parts of the build was extending the swingarm. The team had to cut the metal in the front of the swingarm in order to get the boot to line up just right, as well as keep the original boot intact. In the end the swingarm was lengthened by 2″ to make way for a performance FOX Shox mono shock.


You can’t have a classic-looking café racer without a beautiful hump seat. The Fuller Moto team cut off the old dual shock mounts and made a new tail section out of chromoly, then they took the toaster tank shape and tried to emulate it the best they could with the new tail’s design. They ended up making the sides of the unit out of polished aluminum using a beautiful ’53 Buick porthole light for the brakes. They also made a stunning aluminum polished tank that looks like it was delivered fresh from the Bavarian factory.


To continue with the recycled theme, the seat was made from a lived-in, vintage leather jacket. The guys say it had just the right amount of wear to become the basis for the seat. The pleats in the seat are the lower part of the jacket and the snaps on the sleeves are what now hold the seat on. Genius.


They say the devil is in the detail, and it couldn’t be more true with The Bavarian Knight’s gas cap. “We decided to emulate the latch system used for the Grolsch beer bottles,” says Bryan. “We made the cap out of aluminum and cut out our own gasket. ‘Super B’, our lead fabricator, made the cap by hand out of stainless.”


Just like the gas cap, the attention to detail extended right through to the unique custom stainless exhaust hangers that suspend the martini-glass mufflers perfectly. The classic-looking front fender is from a Vincent – and yes, they left that stock.



To keep the bike minimalist but still modern, the cabling was replaced using American Autowire vintage stock. The battery was swapped out for a smaller Speedcell Lithium unit and electronic ignition was added.

The end result is an elegant BMW café racer that is as timeless as Gone With The Wind, but with some modern touches. Bryan Fuller and his team at Fuller Moto have knocked it out of the park again, creating a steed that is truly fit for a king.


[Photos by @matthewjonesphoto]

  • Doublenickle

    Nice bike! The /5 short wheelbase is an excellent handling bike. I wonder how the 2″ extension on the trailing arm affected the handling? Probably better on the high-speed straights, but what about the twisties? Plus the higher rise in the rear would steepen the rake angle, unless the bike settles a couple of inches with a rider. It would be fun to compare it to a stock /5 in side-by-side ride.

    But it is beautiful!

    • martin hodgson

      Good point on how well this chassis handled, very quick turning bike for the period and probably not appreciated by those who haven’t ridden one. I think on this build you’d probably get the best of both worlds, better high speed stability as you say with the 2inch over on the swingarm, but with a modern mono shock you’d be able to dial the rear end in to compensate for that 2inch increase. Reduce the preload a little and soften it up and I reckon a little dab of the rear brake as you go to tip it in would have you loving the twisties with that sharp handling front end that gives you plenty of confidence to flick it back the other way.

      But I also agree would be fun to compare to stock and maybe that is something that can be done more in the future. Shootouts between stock and modified custom bikes to see if improvements really are being made, what works in the real world and what is purely for looks and a widowmaker with the wick wound up!

      • Bultaco Metralla

        Back in the day, my brother had a short wheelbase R60/5 and I had a long wheelbase R60/6. We often swapped on a tour and I grew to prefer the turn in of the /5 especially on roads like the Snowy Mountains Highway. I love the look of this bike and it gives thought about what I will do the the R100/7 in my garage awaiting my retirement.

  • Soapy Loofah

    This is truly beautiful. The lines and proportions of the tank/seat/tail are perfect. It has a vintage feel, yet it looks light. And the finish work…impeccable. This is one of the best builds I have seen on the site. Truly well done.

  • martin hodgson

    You can see Bryan’s Hot Rod background coming through in this build, perfect metal work on every surface, even the headlight ears have got the liquid metal look you can only get from absolutely dead straight, even thickness steel and alloy. A master craftsman and with a designers sense of style he hits it out of the ball park again! This bike has AMD written all over it!

    • Hardley T Whipsnade III

      Unfortunately as clean and well done as this bike is it wouldn’t even make the grade at the AMD never mind win it because what the AMD wants is the spectacular such as Max Hazan’z bikes not quiet and tastefully done builds such as this .

      • martin hodgson

        I agree with you in terms of the Freestyle class, but a different set of bars (Stupid rule) and I give this bike a really good chance in the Cafe Racer class. If you look at previous top 5 builds this is easily on par with most of what is out there and like all of Bryan’s work the more up close and personal you get to it the more you appreciate his craftsmanship.

  • Hardley T Whipsnade III

    Like everything that comes from Fuller be it two wheels or four this bike is extremely clean , the craftsmanship is superb etc . But overall I’d have to say it is uneventful .

    • So is an ice cold beer on a summer’s eve…

    • JayJay

      I don’t agree, all the small details make this an event on its own. It’s maybe not as flamboyant and it probably doesn’t turn as many heads as some other custom bikes, but I’m sure the new owner is stoked with it.

  • Jim Stuart

    There is only one thing that bothers me and that’s the brake switch on the front wheel. I appreciate all the time and effort that when into making the cool bracket on the fender stay but in my opinion it was adding something that wasn’t needed regardless of how cool the application. Finding the proper balance and know when to add or subtract is what defines true artistry.

  • Ian Thomas

    Interesting comments. There is usually nothing I like about the look of BMW motorcycles – This one I like a lot.

  • Definitely the cream of the current crop of custom BMWs. And has managed to beat the beeper’s usual wonky lines challenge. Amazing.

  • Less is more! By not trying to outdo all the other Beemer builds that are flooding the interweb, they have outdone every other Beemer build. They have put their effort into craftsmanship, engineering and finish work. Very well done.

    • Mo Denaro

      Agree 100%. Just not sure about the Tootsie Roll tail as seen in the 2nd photo. Other than that A+ MaRk

      • I agree. There’s a bunch of stuff I’d do different, but obviously as a builder, I have my own tastes. But overall….very impressive. That said, there’s a jillion BMW twin builds out there where the guys just don’t “get it”. It’s a lot easier to build a bike than to build it “Right”.

  • WhatsAppalachia

    How are they getting away with that much shaft angle @ the swingarm? I thought that was a big limitation in getting these BMW’s to have horizontal frame/engine lines.

  • the watcher

    To me, this bike represents the biggest problem in the custom biz; it is beautifully built/ engineered, whilst simultaneously being as dull and uninspiring as dish-water. And I don’t accept “refined”, “understated” or any other apologies for dullness. If motorcycles aren’t exciting then what’s the point?

    • Go to a show and look at the mob gathered around a GSXR that’s purple and chrome with naked women airbrushed on the tank and red bolts all over. Isn’t that exciting? NO. The bike here shows some thought given to improving the bike without trying to incorporate every idea the guy ever had all in one build. It shows class and restraint. Maybe not ultra exciting but to me, more like a bike I’d want to own. Among many that is.