Most people love the classic looks of a vintage motorcycle, but not everyone loves the maintenance and performance issues that normally go hand in hand with older bikes. So when a customer approached Untitled Motorcycles (UMC) in London wanting to build a BMW R nine T with a vintage airhead vibe, it was like they had been waiting for a project like this for a while. “We’ve built dozens of older BMW’s but never had the chance to customise the R nine T, so we jumped at the chance,” says head designer Adam Kay. To kick the project off, Adam sat down with the customer Nick Wooller to throw some ideas around and work out how this Urban GS should look.
After they had both agreed on the final design, Adam had Ian Galvin illustrate how the final custom would look for Nick – so there were no surprises when the bike was completed. Nick was really happy with what he saw and gave the green light to start work.
Then the fun began, Nick picked up a brand spanking new R nine T GS Urban from Parklane BMW in London and rode it directly the Untitled workshop. “I stripped off everything that wouldn’t be needed,” says Adam. “Subframe, airbox, handlebars, rear and front guard, headlight cowl, indicators, tank, cat and headers, silencer, rear foot rests, mirrors and side panels.”
Once all these parts were removed Adam started to add the new subframe in sections to see what could work. “I didn’t want to cut or weld the frame so it had to be a bolt on and off job. I had to make the new / old BMW toaster tank fit onto the new subframe in a way to clear the ABS system and keep the same amount of fuel capacity of the original tank the same.”
Adam enlisted the help of Dom from Brighton Motorcycles. Dom used to work with Adam at UMC so he knew he was the right guy for the fabrication job. “I wanted the bike to be as clean of parts as possible. Rizoma stop, rear light and indicators were fitted at the rear and just indicator lights at the front. Dom 3D printed the front indicator mounts to clean up the section the old indicators had left behind.”
A new fuel cap mount was needed to give the bike that classic look, so a broken BMW R80 tank was cut up and the fuel mount section was welded into the toaster tank. “The great thing about the Toaster tank is how slim it is. When sitting on the bike you really see the engine sticking out either side. You truly know what you’re riding.”
Once the fabrication was completed, all the little parts had to be done. “Moving the ECU, battery and throttle box to clear the frame and seated up the rear section. I also wanted to fabricate new side panels to hide parts that you just can’t remove or hide – unless you make the tank really small by putting them underneath the tank.”
As the stock pipes and silencer was removed, a new silencer was fabricated by Pro Race Exhaust Systems. “They made it small enough to allow as much of the rear wheel be seen. They also made it for me while I waited. I wanted this custom to be as usable as it was intended to be. The tank has the same fuel capacity as the original, the ride is more comfortable due to the larger padded leather seat made by the talented Glenn Moger.”
The bars were made higher than standard to help Nick who is well over 6 feet tall. When it came to the colour choice on the tank, Nick wanted to have the classic Motorrad triple treat. The guys at Image Design Custom used those traditional Motorrad colours, but made them look faded over the years – to add to the vintage look. To visually slim the height of the toaster tank, a black bottom section was painted to follow the new sub-frame line.
When it came to unveiling the final bike, Nick was blown away with how the UMC classic styled version of the R nine T had turned out. He was last seen tearing up the streets of South East England with a grin from ear to ear.