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SMACK TORQUE. Kingston Custom’s No-Nonsense BMW R75 Bobber

Posted on January 6, 2018 by Andrew in Bobber, Classic. 37 comments

Written by Martin Hodgson

Plenty of people talk a big game and smack talk has filtered down from the highest levels of sport to the worst kind of keyboard warriors. Sometimes it can be funny, other times it’s down right wrong but there is something particularly satisfying about seeing the guy with the big mouth get taken down. Dirk Oehlerking is a builder who lets his bikes do all the talking, letting others spruik their wears while his killer customs simply take care of the competition. To start 2018, the German owner of Kingston Custom has thrown the perfect overhand right with a stunning BMW R75/6 bobber to put you down for the count.

Dirk takes this approach so seriously that his bikes don’t even come with a name, they’re purpose is the very purity of riding a classic motorcycle that has been built to the absolute highest of standards. As he explains, “I launched my own New BMW Style Design five years ago, there are only a few of these probably most beautiful BMW in Kingston style, but many copies. Kingston Custom is a one man show, I design and build five motorcycles a year. Not everyone gets a motorcycle like that, everything has to fit. Driving classics is pure motorcycling, as it should be. These are real motorcycles, as we still all have in mind.”

Building only a limited number of motorcycles a year allows Dirk to take his time and ensure everything is done to the highest of standards. For this R 75/6 that meant a total disassembly until the entire bike and its engine where broken down into individual pieces. This allows for each and every component to be inspected, refurbished where required, replaced if worn out and customised to fashion the final incredible product. To create the bobber look and feel the sprung chassis has the entire rear subframe cut off and no replacement re-installed. Instead a set of Kingston’s own rear shocks are attached straight to the main frame, their design giving a solid strut style appearance.

Looks light, is light

The rest of the frame is smoothed out, heavily de-tabbed and painted in a bodywork matching black. As you’d expect on a bobber there is no front fender but the rear is a thing of beauty and is the second element in the rigid look. With exquisitely curved struts running off the factory shaft drive swingarm a full rear fender wraps around the tyre floating just millimetres from the rubber at all times. While finishing out the metal work at the rear the drilled seat support relies on mounts from the backbone with the subframe having been removed and completes the second floating element.

Sitting aboard the solid mount is a gorgeous leather seat, the diamond stitching and distressed leather giving a distinct classic touch. But unlike so many who rely on the use of the factory Bavarian fuel tank, Dirk goes his own way and custom fabricates a secret spec unit that’s slimmed down dimensions are far more befitting of the genre while still retaining some of the original style points. These are further accentuated with the stunning paint job that covers the entire bike, a mix of rich metallic black and large areas of chrome. A look that is brilliantly carried over to the rear fender and displayed at the front on the Bates 5 ½in headlight.

“Sitting aboard the solid mount is a gorgeous leather seat, the diamond stitching and distressed leather giving a distinct classic touch.”

At the heart of it all is the iconic BMW boxer twin that Dirk has become so experienced at he can practical reassemble one hanging upside down with a blindfold on. Totally rebuilt the cases, barrels and covers are blasted to remove years of grime and grit and left in a raw metal finish. From the factory she spits out an even 50hp and every single pony has been returned to this paddock with the Bing carbs also given a full going over. But to really allow the rider to revel in the boxer burble the stainless header pipes feed rearward to twin hand-built HATTECH mufflers designed in-house by Kingston.

Dirk accurately describes the BMW engine as, “robust technology” but with “average brakes and an average chassis.” It’s the essence of riding a classic motorcycles, but those brakes are given far better feel thanks to LSL steel flex lines. While adding extra grip for the old school chassis is modern rubber in a vintage pattern, Metzeler ME77’s. The rims are custom chrome Kingston items that are laced with stainless spokes to cleaned up factory hubs. The rear remains factory spec at 18×4 with a 19×3.5 allowing for a slightly meatier front tyre. The front forks are rebuilt to suit the reduced weight and height and dressed up in more metallic black they’re not at all as bad as Dirk implies.

Allowing the rider to click through the gears with increased precision is a set of rearsets from  Tarozzi with linkages to suit. The new bars wear LSL grips but the factory levers have been retained with more modern items deemed unsuitable for the classic ride. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some new touches with bar end indicators from Hella cleaning up the appearance. Mirrors tend to be a thing of necessity but the single HASHIRU 12 oval chrome brings some beauty to the functional piece. While the MMB single speedo is nestled between the tank and the headstock for a minimalist look that all bobber’s deserve.

The final touches are uniquely Kingston, markers of the shop’s belief in placing function and form squarely together. A spare exhaust flange provides the housing for the taillight while a bent up ring spanner creates the most useful kickstand you’re ever likely to see. “Working with these classics, giving them new life, changing their lineage, bringing things together that were never meant for each other, is an incredible challenge and deep satisfaction.” It’s a joy only a select few will know given Kingston Custom’s limited run, but even in picture form the BMW bobber with no name is a hell of a sight.

Our kind of flowers

[ Kingston Customs – Facebook – Instagram | Photos by Kati Dalek ]

  • Greybeard1

    I was thinking “what I don’t like about this build isn’t worth mentioning”, then I focused on the peg/seat relationship.
    That’s a quad stretcher for sure and the resultant stress of the seat/anatomy region is a deal breaker…
    I’d add “big time” but that would sound like bragging. ;o)

    • Interesting. I’d very much like to see a shot with a rider aboard.

      • KD

        The design is gorgeous, the execution flawless, the ingenuity admirable. I have owned a /6 for a long time. It is one of the most comfortable bikes of its day. Having noticed that Dirk positioned the foot pegs so far to the rear (even past the seat’s center, which is very rare and found mostly on salt racers), I, too, wondered how comfortable the rider would be. This video of Dirk’s BMW on youtube provides the answer:

        • Doesn’t look too crazy. Better (I think) than having them forward & directly behind the cylinder heads…

          • Greybeard1

            I’m going to archive that statement and play it back to you in the future because it’s precisely that young stud attitude that jams you up in your autumn days!
            Take care of your joints now so they don’t get roached later.
            heh heh


          • I’m probably older than you think…

        • guvnor67

          That thing is sex!! Have a listen to it!! I like the feet position, reminds me somehow of the Agostini/Hailwood/Duke era Manx TT Bikes. Probably not too comfy on a long trip, but then it’s not trying to compete with a Goldwing either. Love it. Ein wunderbarer BMW is right Dirk!

  • Martin Walker

    I think that’s a really nice build and I especially like the tank, am I right in thinking that “secret spec” tank is a modified Yamaha FS1 (FS1-E here in England) tank? I have the same tank (modified) on my 1934 Rudge racer.

    • Martin Walker

      I thought it looked familiar, is this the same bike but revised?

      • Vince Martinez

        This appears to be the third example of the style, this one, the red one and a blue cafe all featured on Pipeburn. I really like the style and since /2s are too expensive, this would be a great substitute for those of us with parts piles.

      • Vince Martinez

        Correction, 4th of the style, BikeEXIF recently features a different blue bike.

        • Martin Walker

          Oh right, thanks for the pointer Vince I missed those, I’ll check the others out. Not a bad idea if you’ve come up with a great style to continue honing it and make more!

          • Vince Martinez

            Pipeburn also featured a TR6 from Gasbox that used a similar shock mounting, somewhat similar to the Vincent.

          • You guys know more about Kingston than we do!

        • Yes. Well spotted.

      • Chris Saddler Sam

        u got a point there… (was just checking the link and they really look quite the same) 😉

  • the watcher

    Not my favourite example of Kingston’s work, but you’ve gotta admit they’re (he’s?) good.

    • He. We were lucky enough to meet him at Wheels & Waves this year. Top bloke.

  • guvnor67

    I like Kingston’s/Dirk’s bikes a lot. Yes, he seems to have settled on a formula, but it works. The look and attention to detail really making these bikes shine and leap out from the crowd! Helping this along, I think the photographer has “Exterminated” the opposition!

  • guvnor67

    Um, did anyone get my photographer reference . . . Her name’s Kati DALEK!

    • Martin Walker
      • guvnor67

        Dammit. . .

    • the watcher

      Depressing, isn’t it? You go to all the trouble of being witty and urbane and no fucker can even be bothered to get it. Happens to me all the time….

      • guvnor67

        It’s an unfair world we live in!

        • the watcher

          I blame my elegant turn of phrase. Laugh out fucking loud!

          • guvnor67

            Giggle, chuckle, giggle!

      • I grew up on Doctor Who. Met Tom Baker once as a kid. Signed my copy of Pyramids of Mars, too.

        • the watcher

          Ahh, the golden age of Who! Fancy a Jelly Baby?

          • guvnor67

            Ah, the memories!

        • guvnor67

          It was quite a treat I thought as a little fella when the Doctor was on TV, he was quirky, camp, poetic, but the bad guys could be quite terrifying!

  • Steve Bekkers

    i don’t want to be critical on an otherwise superb fabrication, but the tank looks out of proportion to me, it looks to small for the engine! some may like the peg location but I prefer my feet under my body mass.

    • I get your point – but I was looking at it around the other way. I.e. The tank makes the engine look boss. 😉

      • guvnor67


      • Martin Walker

        Agree too!

  • Sharp beemer bobber. I really like the mini-toaster tank. Where are all thse old airheads coming from? Can’t find any in my neck of the woods.

  • Chris Saddler Sam

    it’s hard to find a KC bike that i really don’t like…
    Dirk, u did it again! 😉