It’s hard for me to write about a BMW Boxer custom without making comparisons to the one I ride around on every day, but this one demands even more scrutiny than usual, as it’s been built by the same guys that put mine together, namely, Down & Out Cafe Racers from Ooop North. Before we get into spec or backstory, I’ll lay my cards on the table. I’m jealous. It’s lovely. I may even have to go round Shaun’s place and let the tyres down…
That’s the trouble with setting a high standard. After making their mark on the custom Boxer scene with the Gold Top, Shaun and Carl knew they had to go one better, especially for a build Shaun planned to ride around on himself… “After we built the Gold Top BMW scrambler it was set in stone that I had to do one for myself, so when a nice R80/7 came up for sale it soon ended up in the workshop ready for the chop.”
“I already knew what this bike was going to look like, as I had the bike in my head from day one. Unlike the Gold Top this was going to have a welded-on rear sub-frame as the bike was going just for one-up riding.” The wheels had to be spoked, laced to 18″ rims front & rear so the bike could wear the same tyres at both ends. The up & over exhaust would be custom built, and Shaun wanted the bike to have an older tank. “A tank from a BMW/5 did the job just right. Arnie at pro custom paint did a great job on it (thanks mate).”
Shaun was really happy with how the build was progressing; it had the 70’s scrambler look he was after, plus a bit of D&O flare (Shaun loves his custom stainless steel brackets), but then it all went a bit wrong. “I had an email off a man: ‘I want a BMW…’ So we arranged for him to come over to the workshop for a chat and sort out the right bike for him. He turned up the same day, and his first words were ‘I want that bike’.” (Well, Shaun’s job is to build and SELL bikes.) “…so this was me with no bike again”
Shaun agreed to let the bike go, but the deal was that the customer had to let Shaun continue to build the bike the way he wanted it. Having seen enough the buyer agreed, and the build continued as intended. Ally mudguards were fitted front back back, with more ally in the form of a one off battery box, slung under the gear box to leave the engine’s clean lines. A seven inch headlight was used to give a more classic look, attached with D&O stainless mounts. The slimline speedo also used one of Shaun’s custom mounts, with everything kept clean and simple. The remaining silhouette speaks for itself.
The seat base was to be made to fit the new subframe and then upholstered in black leather. It was all looking good, but then the owner stepped back into the frame and asked for more power. The R80 doesn’t lack grunt, but the R100’s extra 200cc really does add a noticeable kick in the pants when you twist the throttle, so when an R100RS engine turned up at the right price it was slotted-in and fitted with new carbs and pod style air filters. … Hmm, the jealous-o-meter is really heading into the Red now, LOL.
Posh micro switches were also used, with all the wiring tucked inside the bars. Classy touches are in abundance on this bike (Grrrr).
Finished in simple silver & black, with infils on the tank sides, this bike is the kind of build that the average biker Joe might not really appreciate at first glance, but as soon as you look a little closer the attention to detail leaps out at you, but it’s when you step back 20 feet and take it all in a single outline that you really appreciate the bike as a whole. Gorgeous.
And will Shaun ever get one of these to ride for himself? “The next bike I will build for myself is not for sale LOL, and I have a nice R90/6 with my name all over it.”
Photos: Simon Krajnyak