After what’s been 4 months, 20 days and 56 minutes since the R nineT landed in our hands, we’ve finally decided on her name. Many sleepless nights passed pondering a name for this beautifully crafted creation, eventually our collective intellect and creative prowess decided on … The BMW (pause for cinematic effect).
Dating as far back as 1823, Dr Frankenstein created a sapient creature using an ambiguous method consisting of chemistry and alchemy. 196 years later, something German and fast has been created in Cullompton, England. Rumour has it, by similar methodology.
Dr Frankenstein’s claim to fame was the ability to create life and that’s exactly what happened when Cid got his hands on my personal BMW R nineT. No one is entirely sure how Cid (Anthony Daymond) does what he does, how he restores and fabricates beautifully crafted cafe racers. But as we delve into this customisation project, we start to understand how.
In an epic quest seeking desired motorcycle parts from California, Oregon, Italy and Berlin, with a small brief allowing room for sorcery, Cid got to work. These parts which have been sourced all have one thing in common. They are built, designed and produced from a backlog of years of passion, exhibiting great attention to detail. The hours which have been spent on this project are evident in the intricacy of the artistry; every detail has been accounted for.
Deep within this 2016 R NineT, is a soul dating back to 1923, yearning to be set free.
I love the purity of older motorcycles, you can feel the bike, you can hear the bike, you know when she’s not happy, she talks to you. I wanted to achieve this with my 1170cc 110hp German masterpiece, but how do we wake up this resting soul?
Firstly, we needed to hear her.
So we decided on Competition Werkes’ (CW) slip-on exhaust and valve eliminator kit. BMW install a ‘flapper valve’ within the exhaust system as a way to manage the sound. To tame the animal, to dampen the excitement, to keep the soul within it seems. Or maybe to pass Euro regulations, it’s hard to tell. Well, CW have a way to solve this problem with removing the valve to allow more flow to the slip-on exhaust, which, along with myself, but most of the surrounding neighbours can agree, opens the gate to what lays within this beautiful machine.
The main appeal of this motorcycle is the approach BMW took to keep it minimalistic, pure to its origin. We got to work, to build on what they started.
There’s no doubt that this beautiful example of fine engineering turns heads when it’s seen by the public eye, and that’s before it’s been in the presence of Cid. But as with most stock bikes having to reach the Euro regulations, there’s parts of the bikes most motorcyclists can’t wait to make amends. And it’s normally based around copious amounts of unnecessary plastic. For me this is the rear set up on the R NineT. The taillight, indicators and number plate is suspended behind the rear wheel by what looks more like a landing strip than a ‘tail tidy’. I could imagine it’ll be used as a surfboard once it’s removed. That’s where Motobox offer what most customers are after. A clean, no hassle solution to remove this (in my opinion) ugly looking part of the bike. With a beautifully constructed LED strip and mounts to support the number plate and indicators, this tail tidy does and incredibly effective job of simplifying the rear and not distracting the naked eye to what is an incredibly lovely looking motorcycle. Motobox also providing the bar end indicators which are pictured further into this blog and again, do a great job of tidying that front end.
State of the art technology.
The instrument cluster on the 2016 R NineT is something my dad thought was ‘super stylish’ so that in itself meant it had to go. The big on board cluster may be someone’s (my dad, Graham’s) cup of tea, but not mine. I wanted a smaller, smarter, more modern speedometer. And there was only one option that ticked these boxes. The Motogadget Motoscope. This piece of modern technology features on professional builds all around the world. For builders wanting a clean, crisp, and simple look to their creation, they go to Motogadget. That doesn’t just stop at the speedometer as their micro LED indicators are incredibly subtle and extremely effective. The ‘info’ button on the handlebar quite smartly, scrolls through information I didn’t think was possible to receive. Next it’ll be telling me next weeks lottery numbers… hopefully.
Adding aftermarket parts can somewhat be slightly unnerving as you’re never entirely sure if you’re adding quality to the motorcycle or inhibiting it’s original attention to detail and hours of designing. Rest assured with Motogadget that’s definitely not the case. The bar end ‘glassless’ m.view mirrors are perfect for any custom builder wanting to achieve this discreet, safe and practical aesthetic.
Can it be a bespoke build without some Italian injection? Probably. But we wanted Rizoma.
Performance Parts Ltd are the UK dealers for Rizoma and have been great to work with throughout this project. Did the front fender need replacing? Probably not. Did the fuel cap need replacing? Probably not. Did the handlebar need replacing? Probably not. So, was it worthwhile? Absolutely. There is a feel to these products that ooze class. It’s hard to rationalise but my advice would be to go to Rizoma if you’re looking to make your pride and joy that little bit more special.
This customisation project was only achievable thanks to Cid (Cid Motorcycles), Jody (Thornton Hundred) and Rory (Pier City Cycles).
Their time, knowledge and genuine help, was invaluable and really made what was a conceptual design come to fruition. Jody played a pivotal part of this project by painting the tank and incorporating our custom BMW logo. He also worked with Viking Motorcycle Seats to reupholster the seat to a beautiful alcantara suede with slightly more padding. Cid was busy throughout the whole process and to go into all the detail would take days.. In a nutshell, Cid put the whole project together with powder coating, painting his way throughout. Not to forget how ‘tidily’ he was able to implement the electronics through the handlebar and tail tidy. Rory was always on hand for advice and support and provided the servo buddy which prevents error signals from the exhaust set up, and a battery cover to add that flawless look.
Below are some behind the scenes shots.
Why are ‘we’, the enthusiastic custom motorcycle wannabes, having to go to aftermarket parts and bespoke services to get the bike of our dreams? Well, it starts with Euro regulations. Stay with me, I promise I’ll keep it concise.
I could write a blog exclusively on Euro 4 emission regulations but not even Sir Alan Sugar could sell that. Thankfully I’ve been able to string some other published articles together to come to a quicker conclusion.
Visor Down reported worrying statistics regarding motorcycle sales from the year 2016-17 as they went down by approximately 50%.
- Phasing out euro3 for the new models definitely caused ‘distortion’ in the market.
Bennetts suggested, “meeting them (euro 4) is far more complex than simply sticking a more sophisticated catalytic converter in the exhaust and leaving it at that. The testing methods are tougher and the test examining durability of the new motorcycles to keep them emission-compliant as they get older is providing to be expensive.”
In essence, you’re paying more for a newer bike which you’ll more often than not tear apart to rebuild to bring it back to life. For example, the ‘decat’ modification which removes the catalytic converter to save weight and provide an unaltered flow through to the (to be) aftermarket exhaust.
There’s an abundance of exciting new motorcycles available for the coming season. The baffle team have been ‘all over’ the new releases and it is causing a buzz around the motorcycle community. With the well renowned oil-stained, gasoline-fuelled Harley Davidson releasing an all electric motorcycle in Livewire, ‘the times they are a changin’’.
And now, the end is near…
The common theme however is how to get these brand new bikes to fit the consumer’s demand. Nine times out of ten, these consist of aftermarket parts which bring about the feel that was once apparent in all motorcycles. This isn’t a project that’s exclusive to a Welshman with a bit of spare time on his hands, thanks to Werkes, Motogadget, Motobox and Rizoma, riders worldwide can build and create their dream bike. It’s just more expensive and takes longer to achieve. Maybe good things do come to those who wait.