Sports fans will do anything for a fix, and during the troubled times of Covid-19 it has been all eyes on the Eastern European country of Belarus. With all major sporting competitions shut down and the Olympics delayed for a year, the Belarusian Premier League has become the centre of attention. But here at Pipeburn we’re not fair weather fans and thanks to Minsk based outfit Recast Moto we’ve been paying attention to the country for years. And it seems nothing has been able to slow them down, turning out more brilliant bikes, like this military-inspired BMW K1100LT that’s ready for a scramble filled summer in the Northern Hemisphere.
Just like the countries primeval Białowieża Forest, that once stretched across the entire European plain, there is a dark and brooding vibe that comes from every Recast Moto build. Their distinctive style is applied exclusively to bikes with a commanding on-road presence and each has elements of a back street brawler, with plenty of flat black applied. So when a client came calling with the idea for a 1997 BMW K1100LT designed for scrambling with a military vibe, he’d found his perfect home!
With a wet weight over 600lbs you might think the Bavarian luxo-tourer is a large motorcycle for a machine destined to be tackling some trails. But as we’ve previously pointed out, in Belarus they like their bikes big and beefy and set for a weight loss program the BMW is capable of being far more nimble than some might expect. But first, the team had to get the bike back to a bare frame to see what they were working with and tossed aside the fairings, panniers and that enormous seat, never to be seen again.
To get the look they were after and shed some of those pounds, the clunky rear subframe designed to carry a weekend’s worth of luggage was cut right back. In its place is a replacement hooped item that finishes over the middle of the rear wheel and ensures the bulk of the bike now appears more centralised. All the unrequired tabs and brackets were ground back, some extra weld added around the shock mount to soak up the future abuse and the whole thing given a matte black finish. The same was applied to the sturdy mono lever swingarm and the mood was starting to set in.
Making the compromise between a sleek look and useable fenders is never an easy one and some of it comes down to a trade off leaning either toward form or function. But the workshop has struck a nice balance with a 3mm hand-rolled aluminium front fender that sits close to the tyre. At the rear, there is less coverage, but the custom unit with round bar mounts also serves as a numberplate holder. These two get the murdered out matte black treatment that is a favourite of Recast customers and the custom side covers are no exception, helping deliver the uniform look.
The sole piece of colour comes in the form of a very militaresque hue, a khaki-green satin finish on the tank that allows the shiny new BMW badges to pop. The look helps to define the lines of the tank that slims down and fits up perfectly to the seat that makes the bridge between the two a clean juncture. Diamond stitched black leather sits on top, while at the rear there is extra padding for a potential passenger and the footpegs remain should the owner decide to go two-up. But the stripped-down front end with MX handlebars and the beefy Bridgestone rubber suggest that won’t often be the case.
Those bars are a much flatter style than stock and now no longer feature the endless array of switches that makes an LT feel like sitting at the helm of the Starship Enterprise. While the enormous instrument binnacle is also tossed aside and replaced with only the essentials, T&T instruments speedometer and tacho. The LED headlight provides a neat modern touch mounted hard up against the forks and with the integrated taillight in the frame helps to provide a more compact feel, with bar end mirrors ensuring nothing sticks out.
The big four-cylinder engine with the best part of 110nm of torque really doesn’t need much more than a blacked out paint job to match. But the stainless steel shorty muffler gives it a far more appealing soundtrack and shows off that exposed rear wheel. Which like the front is wrapped up in those ultra aggressive Bridgestone TW302 tyres, that despite the look are a genuine 50/50 compound. The completed machine is a far cry from the luxury barge it started out as but built with only the required parts and without having to break the bank. So as the world begins to wake from its pandemic slumber, one lucky Belarusian will be tearing up the trails on a moto very well recast.