One of our favourite bike builders in Europe is the super talented Dirk Oehlerking from Kingston Customs in Germany. Dirk is a self-proclaimed perfectionist and motorcycle fanatic. Not only was he the German Enduro Champion as a kid, but has owned 36 racing machines over the years. Now he spends his time building unique customs and pioneering the scene in Germany. After finishing his stunning red R75/6 bobber last year, he decided it was time for a new BMW project. “I really wanted to build a BMW café racer build” says Dirk. “A BMW café racer is nothing new, but I wanted it to look very different in the Kingston style.” Well, amongst other things, we think he has definitely nailed the ‘Kingston’ style.
The late 70s was not an easy time for poor old BMW Motorrad. With mounting pressure from the European Union regarding emissions, and their all-too-slow awakening to the fact that Japanese motorcycles were eating their lunch, the Germans were staring down the barrel or irrelevancy. Suddenly, water-cooled fours were all the rage; the 70s journo’s penchant for top speed tests always left the boys from Bayerische with das ei on their faces. What they needed was a unique, powerful, water-cooled platform – and quick. In a classic piece of outside-the-square engineering, they began experimenting with a Peugeot car engine which they decided to lay down in a ‘longitudinal four’ configuration not seen since the pre-WWI-era. And the rest is history – a history which Paul Hutchison from Melbourne has successfully reinvented with his über K100RS.
Written by Ian Lee.
When you’re rebuilding that barn find, what you are really doing is recycling. Bikes that may have been destined for the scrap heap are given new leases of life by those who can see beyond the rust and years of decay. One of the prime examples is this BMW K75, a rarely modified machine of which this is the first example to grace the pages of Pipeburn. This particular K75 sat for ten years in a barn in Germany – waiting patiently for someone to give it some love. Eventually Andres and the guys from Estonia’s Renard Speed Shop came to the rescue. The builders themself weren’t sure at first if the bike would be “interesting enough to build”, but we’re glad they changed their minds.
Written by Tim Holdup.
Let’s face it, building a custom motorcycle can be a financially draining task. But couple that with a post-GFC economy and it can really be a feat. Yet these are the very factors that can also lead builders to think outside the square and develop innovative, alternative fabrication techniques. This is how “Copper”, a 1973 BMW R60 was bought to life. Meet Dream Wheels Heritage, a shop run by Hélder Moura, a marketer from Portugal and Jose Miguel Martins, an automotive mechanic with 30 years experience.
Perception is a funny thing. It can be the difference between a positive or negative outcome, between liking or not liking something or someone and often the cause of missed opportunities. To change perception usually takes a change of mindset or to be shown there may be more to something than meets the eye. Until recent years, BMW R-series bikes from the 1980s could have been considered in a similar light. A bike for old guys into function more than form. Solid, dependable, but neither exciting nor innovative. Or at least that was a guy called Bruce’s perception of them when he visited Brisbane’s Ellaspede Customs as a customer. But that was a view which was soon to change – especially after eyeing a certain R-series on a little site called Pipeburn.
If you ever found yourself in England and in desperate need of a cleansing ale, get yourself a Fullers. And if you wanted transport to get to the pub, try a Jaguar. Then say, perhaps, you find yourself low on petrol while en route, a British Petroleum service station is ideal. But should you have a moment of clarity while refilling and decide you need a decent custom bike between your legs, then a Kevil’s creation will be your best bet. You see, if there’s one shop that’s as British as bulldogs and bad weather, it’s a Kevil’s Speed Shop creation. And here’s their latest victory; an R80/7 named ‘Artisan’. Just don’t mention the German thing…
As the school ma’am cliché goes, “begin as you wish to continue”. Or maybe legendary Australian racer Peter Brock said it better, when he coined the phrase “bite off more than you can chew and chew like hell.” Whatever the case, we thought that we’d kick things off after our big redesign with the latest (and dare we say sweetest) bike from one of Europe’s best shops. Or should we say ateliers. It’s a rather svelte-looking BMW R100R , and it’s from those famous Frenchmen with a German name, Blitz Motorcycles.
It’s the worst possible scenario for any bike builder. A project for someone ‘in the industry’. What chance have you got to satisfy a customer who’s seen it all? Someone who knows exactly what they want and isn’t afraid to micro-manage you to make sure they get it; someone who is about a likely to say ‘it’s up to you’ as Miley Cyrus is likely to keep her tongue in her mouth. Yet that’s just what Shaun and Carl from Down & Out Café Racers were up against when they took on their latest build. And who was this client, we hear you ask?
Here’s the second bike from a guy who’s reputation is growing faster than a wave of nausea at a Nickelback concert. Arguable one of Eastern Europe’s top shops after only his second build, we’re genuinely excited about what this guy has up his oily, rolled sleeves. This BMW follows his blinding ’83 R80 job from a few months back; this time he’s turned his eye to a rather nice R60/7 from ’77. His name is Blaž Šuštaršič. He has 5 diacritics in his name. His shop is called ER Motorcycles. This is ‘Macchiato’.
READ MORE ►
Alaska is referred to as America’s last frontier and in summer, thousands of motorcyclists flock there to experience the spectacular scenery and the endless miles of winding roads. Although, most of the bikes heading up there are touring, cruising and enduro bikes. It now looks like the café racer scene is starting to take off – one bike at a time. Alaskan local Erik Christensen and his friends have started the Northern Café Racers. “Our café posse is four deep” says Erik. “We are just a few guys with everyday lives, building café bikes in our garages in anticipation of the incredible Alaskan riding season.” This stunning BMW R90/6 isn’t just the first bike we have featured from Alaska, but it might just be the first café racer built in Alaska.
READ MORE ►