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Custom of the Week: BMW R80 G/S ‘Africa Shox’

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Modern Dakar bikes are lightweight, sophisticated off-roaders, with a maximum capacity of 450cc.

But the early days of the rally were dominated by mammoth desert racers—like the mighty BMW R80G/S, which racked up four wins in the 80s.

This immaculate 1982 model is a restomod owned by Mark Johnston, and it’s a spectacular homage to the Dakar-winning days of the Gelände/Straße. Remarkably, it’s only Mark’s second build: Bike Exif featured his first last year, and when we teased a shot of this R80G/S alongside, readers insisted on seeing more.

Mark lives in the northern suburbs of Cape Town, South Africa, but bought the bike blind from a guy upcountry in Pretoria.

“I wasn’t too concerned about the overall condition, as most of it was going to be replaced anyway,” he says. “But the bike turned out to be OK in the end.”

‘OK’ didn’t stop Mark from ripping out the G/S’s motor and shipping it to Volker Schroer in Port Elizabeth. Volker rebuilt it from the ground up, bumping the capacity to 1,000 cc with a big bore kit from Siebenrock. The work included gas flowing the heads, and installing valves suitable for unleaded petrol. The exhaust silencer is from Akrapovič, but the header is custom, courtesy of Scorch Design.

Back home, Mark began transforming the classic Beemer’s chassis. He started with a set of 48mm upside-down WP Suspension forks up front, liberated from a KTM 525 EXC. The forks were also fully rebuilt, with new stanchions and stiffer springs.

They’re hooked up to the bike via a set of custom triples, made by Mark’s go-to guy for machining: Ian Ketterer at BlackSilver Customs. The front wheel is an all-new custom setup, and the front brake caliper was rebuilt and connected to a new master cylinder.

Out back, the swingarm was lengthened by almost two inches, and an offset added so that a 140-section tire could be squeezed in. The rear shock’s a one-off too, built by local suspension guru Martin Paetzold at MP Custom Valve.

The subframe’s another custom piece, built for one and with a non-removable luggage rack. Look further down, and you’ll notice that the subframe support struts also include tiny hooks for securing luggage straps.

For the seat, Mark used the original two-up pan, but cut it shorter and reshaped the back with fiberglass to accommodate the rear fender. He then re-shaped the foam, added a gel pad and sent the seat to Alfin Upholsterers for a fresh cover.

Just in front of it is an HPN rally tank, imported from Germany and painted in a variant of the original Paris Dakar race livery.

The headlight mask is an OEM BMW item (from the original ‘Paris Dakar’ edition of the R80G/S), but revised to work with quick-release straps. Off-road style fenders conclude the bodywork at each end.

“The bike rides like a dream,” he reports. “With all the changes, you wouldn’t think you’re riding a 37-year-old bike. I put on 4,000 km in no time riding the South African countryside.”

 

This article first appeared on The Bike Shed; It’s republished here with permission.

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Custom of the Week: BMW R100RS by Bolt Motor Company

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MOST CUSTOM BUILDERS are juggling careers, building bikes as a side gig. Adrián Campos falls into that category: he’s the sporting director for Campos Racing, the team founded by his father Adrián Campos Sr, the former Minardi F1 driver.

Adrián Jr. is surrounded by high-tech missiles capable of 208 mph (335 kph), but he’s also nuts about motorcycles. So he started customizing classic bikes, as an antídoto to the ultra-modern race machinery that absorbs his working day.

His first build garnered enough interest to turn his side gig into a fully-fledged second business. Bolt Motor Company is now on its seventeenth build, and employs seven team members.

Bolt shares a workshop in Valencia with Campos Racing. But while the race team preps cars for the Formula 2, Formula 3 and GP3 race series, Adrián is swinging spanners on bikes like this stunning 1982 BMW R100RS.

We’ll admit it’s not the wildest custom boxer we’ve seen. But even though the style is well established, the perfect proportions and level of finish are something else. And the client wasn’t even looking for anything fancy; “He wanted a comfortable cafe racer for two people,” says Adrián, “so that’s what we did.”

The donor arrived in a pretty good condition, but it left in an even better state. There’s fresh paint and powder everywhere, from the motor right through to the forks, frame and tank.

Bolt tweaked the airhead’s stance by lowering the front forks internally just over two inches, then installing a pair of Hagon shocks at the rear. The fuel tank is stock, but the subframe and seat are custom made. The subframe’s a bolt-on affair, and the main frame’s been detabbed and cleaned up.

The taillight’s a particularly nice touch. Bolt built it into the seat rather than the rear loop, along with integrated rear turn signals. The whole setup’s barely visible—until it lights up.

They’ve also added some room for the customer to ‘customize’ his BMW at home. There’s a second tank and seat in a different paint scheme, which can be swapped out via four fasteners for the seat, and one for the tank. The second seat has it’s own plug-and-play taillight too.

Bolt have kept things practical too. The BMW’s airbox is still in play, and it’s also equipped with a BMW oil cooler and crash bars. Plus there’s a discreet inner fender at the rear. The exhaust headers have been shortened and run into a pair of generic cone mufflers, with the side stand relocated to work around them.

The cockpit’s sporting new handlebars, grips, bar-end mirrors and Motogadget bar-end turn signals. There’s a new master brake cylinder too, with some really neat plumbing. Up front is an LED headlight, tucked into a custom-made bucket.

Bolt rewired the bike from top to bottom and tucked away as much as they could. A set of Motone switches have their wires running inside the bars, while a Motogadget speedo has its cable routed through the BMW’s hollow steering stem nut.

This sort of consideration is rife, with every last nook and cranny cleaned up. We’ve spotted stainless steel fasteners throughout the build, nifty choke pulls on the carbs and a OEM-looking Bolt Motor Co. plaque on the side of the motor.

The classic white BMW motorsports livery is on point too. And Bolt have shunned the ubiquitous Firestone Deluxe Champion tires, going for the saw tooth tread of Shinko Classics instead.

We doubt that Bolt #17 could lap a track anywhere near as fast as a Campos race car.

But it’s just the sort of simple, classic ride we’d pick for getting to the track in the first place—via some leisurely Spanish back roads.


This article first appeared on Bike Exif. It’s republished here by permission.

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Video: Watch Sarah Lezito show you how to drift a motorcycle

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Yes, drifting on two wheels is possible. Especially if you’re an insanely talented stunt rider from France.

There are a few stunt riders worth following across social media and YouTube but few get the numbers of French stunter Sarah Lezito.

Shot in a cold, wet and snowy location, it’s hardly the easiest of environments for riding a motorcycle – although possibly better for skids! – but the control from Lezito, and her instruction, is captivating.

Why learn how to drift? Well, Lezito says that it might help in learning how to save from slipping, keeping the balance on your bike or just improving your stunting skills.

And her top tips?

  • First find a small bike – a 50cc or 125cc machine that’s easy to handle.
  • Find a slippery spot, like a wet floor after some light rain.
  • Put hard tyres on the rear and more air in the front tyre.
  • Protect everything… On you and your bike.
  • Prepare to crash. A lot.

We’re hoping she’ll be adding to her channel over the coming months and that this is the start of a series of ‘How To…’ videos from the young stunt rider.

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