Bringing you the world's best cafe racers, trackers, scramblers, bobbers & custom motorcycles.

‘Black Baron’ BMW R100RS – Relic Motorcycles

Posted on May 4, 2016 by Andrew in Bobber. 35 comments


The Red Baron, a.k.a. Manfred von Richthofen, was a German fighter pilot with a reputation that seems to have well and truly outlived the man himself. A legend in his own lifetime, he and his red Fokker Dr.I. triplane became synonymous with dashing heroism, chivalry and a decidedly old-school approach to battle in a time when gentleman were still gentleman. But imagine for a moment if, instead of the all the codes of honour and valour, the guy was just plain bad. No mercy or code of conduct, just an evil bastard with a cold, dead heart. Got that pictured in your head? Great. Now can you guess what bike he rides to the airfield? Why, this one of course. Meet the latest magnificent machine from Denmark’s Relic Motorcycles – their BMW ‘Black Baron’.


This bike is owned by Jonas – one quarter of Relic Motorcycles. It’s his personal bike that he’s clearly put a lot of heart and soul into. He has ridden a Yamaha XS650 for a while, but he got to thinking that it was maybe time for something newer and a little more special. Having always liked and admired the ‘pistons in the breeze’ look, solid performance and long history of the old boxer twins, he was pretty sure this was the next bike for him.

“I’ve always had a crush on the old BMW motorcycles,” says the Dane from his workshop. We pretty much know exactly what he means. Then, changing tack, he tells us about his creative process. “When building custom bikes, I always look to the past for a design’s beauty and function. With that said, I always plan ahead and play around with the ‘blue print’ way before I ever buy the donor bike.”


Basically, Jonas says he’s mapping out the design and visualising the finished bike in his mind months ahead. It’s hard not to think that more builders should work like this. While there’s a lot to be said with letting the build ‘guide’ you, you’ve somehow always got to know where you’re going to end up. “So nothing with our builds is really random, but is instead it’s all carefully planned.” Jonas also notes that this BMW was actually an old police bike back in the 80’s. “I picked it up in the south of Denmark last year; the thing was in decent condition but it really needed a proper overhaul.” It looks like that’s exactly what it got.


While Jonas actually started out making the bike for himself, during the process a good friend of his went and fell in love with the freshly named “Black Baron”. So eventually, after much convincing, he persuaded Jonas to let the bird out of its cage. Of course, that’s not to say the he didn’t put his heart and soul into the build. Actually, it was quite the opposite…

If lost, return to…

“I like my bikes looking special, with a lot of nice little details both hidden and in plain sight. For this bike I wanted to go all in. And in contrast to Kristian’s bike (pictured at bottom) I wanted to give the bike a little modern twist. The feature that stands out the most for me on this motorcycle is the black matte carbon tank that I had specially done to really make the bike stand out.”

What lurks in the shadows

Jonas then regaled us with the intricate details of the build. The old rear section of the frame was removed and the remaining metal was cleaned up and detabbed. Then the centre rear section of the frame was extended in order to mount a Biltwell Harley solo seat on. Look closely and you’ll also see the twin rows of LED brakelights underneath.

The frame was then repainted and fitted with twin Hagon 420mm shocks. Powdercoat was dutifully applied to the wheels, and a set of Continental TKC 80 Twinduro tires were added to keep things all nice and bouncy bouncy.

Next the carbon was applied to the tank and the engine block was sanded down and painted in a matching matte black. The engine’s logo and all the other highlights were sanded down to bare steel for some sweet-looking contrast.

With the airbox now removed, a custom engine plate with some Relic Motorcycles branding was added in its place. Right next door, a set of fresh K&N filters managed to find a new home. And upstairs, a small yet powerful JMT lithium battery was installed to get the party started right. A CNC’d and powdercoated triple tree with an integrated Motogadget speedo finished of the bike’s electrics.


Kristian, one of Jonas’ partners in crime, sits on his R100 in the background

Final touches include the always killer twin cutaway exhausts, some ‘thermal cloth’ on the pipes (I figure if I call it by a different name, it may get a better response. You can;t blame a guy for trying, can you?) and a cherry on top of the ice creams in the form of some custom bent handlebars with a set of black Biltwell grips. Job done.

It’s true that we’ve been featuring a plethora of Beemers lately – and with build like this arriving in our inbox, who can blame us? Besides, we’ve always been suckers for a good WWI story.

  • John Wanninger

    I’ll just go back and look at yesterday’s bike again… *sigh*

    • Hardley T Whipsnade III

      Agreed ! Sigh . This might of been ok had the builder skipped the ubiquitous dysfunctional knobbies and pipewrap . But he didn’t and there you have it . Another potentially good design gone wrong and another waste of a perfectly good Beemer due to the builder’s genuflecting before the throne of the almighty trendiness.

      Apologies Andrew for the additional words here but this must be said . Somehow on the horizon I’m seeing a massive business opportunity putting all these trendy Beemer customs back to right : eliminating all the form over function aspects returning them to being ridable and usable motorcycles rather than aesthetic dysfunctional nightmares

      • Nick D

        Not that your name sounds in any way made up or your language indicative of any possibility that you could be a writer / editor from another Bike blog, your comments point more to a generational divide between what’s popular with young riders and what’s seen as sensible by more established, mature riders. Both will always exist, no matter how loud you are able to shout “GET OFF MY LAWN!”. Everyone has an opinion… But I’m pretty sure it’s the rider’s / bike builders choice what they do with THEIR bike. I don’t roll knobbys on my bike for street use, and I’m somewhat dubious of the likely ride quality of doing so but they do look pretty amazing, and for some the trade-off is apparently worth it. As far as pipe wrap: It not only reduces the chance of pipe burn to the rider by reducing external pipe heat, It also enhances performance… The hotter exhaust gasses created by the wrap’s insulation are less dense, so intake and exhaust gasses get pulled more rapidly through the engine… so increasing performance. Have a nice day!

        • Jeff Loffert

          If you get a burn off the headers of this bike, you’d need to be a contortionist. If you can feel a performance difference in an Airhead with wrapped vs unwrapped pipes, you are a human dynamometer!

          • Nick D

            Hi Jeff…With or without a gauge, it is a well established fact that the use of pipe wrap in most cases, as I stated, increases performance. But I’m not sure you grasped the intention of my comment… I’m specifically questioning the generational attitudes of some, whose constant outcry suggests that another rider’s use of pipe wrap or their tire choices are somehow a personal affront. I can read that wrong all day without measure.

          • Fast2Furious

            Sorry but pipe wrap has no effect on performance. If it did
            then every motorcycle on the starting line of every race would have it.

          • Nick D

            Actually. In racing there are more advanced coating techniques like, thermal barrier coatings that are used for the same reason, to manage exhaust heat for performance tuning purposes. At the high-performance level, I have personally seen wrap on pro racing motorcycles. Thermal barrier coatings are also used in Formula 1 Racing… But this doesn’t need to be a pissing contest. I’m just saying to riders who moan about pipe wrap and tires… You do you and let others do them. Nuff said.

          • Jeff Loffert

            I don’t disagree that insulating the header will increase performance, but this is a Airhead Boxer for cripes sake. You’re not going to realize any measurable performance increase. I just don’t see the point of adorning a bike with things that do nothing but look “cool”. Not to mention that if you ride it/wash it on a regular basis, the wrap will be a ratty mess is no time. Then there are the aggressive knobby/no fender combo. That will work out really well in the real world.

          • Nick D

            I see what you are saying. There is no law against putting cool shit on your bike and people have been doing so on bikes and cars since they existed. I don’t think these bikes are trailer queens so I’m guessing the guys are okay with an occasional rock. I get rocks thrown up off the road all the time. I don’t have a large fairing to stop it. If I wanted everything 100% safe, practical and pragmatic I would take the car…

          • Jeff Loffert

            And I see what you’re saying as well, we just look at things from a different perspective. There are builders who make cool looking bikes, and those that make supremely functional/performing machines. Then there are the rare few, who have the knack to build bikes that are both functional, and beautiful, and that’s the sort of thing that turns my crank. Function is beauty, to me.

          • Nick D

            Well said. I agree and respect your ideals on the beauty of form equaling function and bikes that hit on every level. Great thing is there are all kinds of bikes out there and many grades of performance and style options available…. I have never personally been into sports bikes but I respect their level of
            performance and the people who ride them. The great thing about custom bikes is you don’t have to accept what is… You can build what can be… strip down what was once a hideous looking sports bike and mold it into a modern day cafe racer. The possibilities are endless and there may be trade-offs along the way… At the end of the day it’s each rider’s personal preference and what they can afford or want to do to their own bike. Please slap me if I sound like a broken record.

          • Jeff Loffert


          • Hardley T Whipsnade III

            I’m not sure where you’ve managed to dig up your so called ‘ facts ‘ when it comes to the ever present trend of pipewrap but suffice it to say every engineer on planet earth as well as every and any technological papers on the subject state point blank you are wrong good sir . Every one to a number stating clearly pipewrap increases the heat of the exhaust pipe wrapped thereby inhibiting the flow of the exhaust thereby decreasing performance by a substantial amount . As to the name might I direct you to the Whipsnade family name and the many accomplishments therein !

          • Nick D

            Hardley…. Your best bet is to google: EXHAUST HEAT MANAGEMENT or read Hereby, thereby peace out.

      • Hardley, meet Nick. Nick, meet Hardley. PLEASE play nice now, won’t you?

        • duh

          my assumption has always been that Hardley is Andrew or his cousin adding some drama to the posts. The punctuation drives me nuts!

      • kylane

        Yes. how dare someone share something they love and enjoyed making. the bastards!

      • Don’t forget the the clip-ons with knobbies are now one of the requirements as well.

  • Awesome bike! Looks very aggressive with it’s all black design, dirt tires and low handlebars. I’m curios if that riding position isn’t too uncomfortable, but I guess you don’t ride this bike for hours…

  • Larry Kahn

    Sorry, but a waste of time and material.

    • Punkyou

      just like you!

  • kurtjens

    Knobby tires and no rear fender? So, you go riding through the dirt and mud and end up wearing the muck? I like the murdered look but between the knobby rubber and the painfully low bars, I’d pass.

    • kylane

      Damn kids and their silly haircuts and rock and roll music!

  • Cam

    gorgeous, an engine, fuel tank, two wheels and handle bars. Looks like a bike to be ridden on the road and in the dirt. So much fun, but I bet its not this clean so often.

    • Cam

      subjective maybe. but relvent to this design – the most confidence i got too laying a street bike low, was through tearing up the sand pit.

  • Jim Stuart

    Does it float?

  • Bobinthemtns

    I was going bemoan the use of a relatively rare/classic R100S as a donor… but that doesn’t appear to be an actual S model….

  • Angus C-T

    Everyone gaze over these creations as a conceptual artist,leave the design rules inspector goggles in the bin 🙂

  • Peter J

    Plain…and boring… nothing innovative, just copying all the others… seems like Relic are wannabee Wrenchmonkees

  • Kimberly Adams

    Come on.. hasn’t Pipeburn something better to post… how trivial can it be?

  • mick

    Nope. Sorry.

  • Mat

    As someone who has never riden a bike, and has no idea on functionality, this looks awesome. Who cares how it rides when you look like a badass, right?

  • Andy Rappold

    Carbon foil will be the new pipe wrap 😛

  • Michael Merritt

    It’s a beautiful and well done machine. Restoring it to original condition would be the sacrilege. Dual purpose tires are OK too. I’m just not sure about the handlebars. Maybe a set of Flander’s half mile, or TT black handlebars would be a better choice for off road use? However, like the man said, “It’s his bike…”, If you can’t appreciate the handiwork then ride some piece-of-shit stock motorcycle designed by automotive engineers using a computer. 🙂

  • rein skugler

    True penis extensions (intended in the best way possible!)