EB202 – BMW R65

EB202 – BMW R65 main image

Given the current popularity of BMW’s R series bikes, one would be forgiven thinking there must be something about owning an Air Head…

Our latest client, Sandy, certainly thought so when he purchased this early ’80’s BMW R65. The bike had already undergone some mods and seemed to be in reasonable condition.

The plan was to extend the theme that had already been started with the previous mods and fully explore a cafe racer look.

Sandy wanted a project that he and his son Alex could get involved with… something that was fun. They already had off-road and adventure bikes, so to get a road-going rig was another attraction of the R65.

The previous mods included a seat sub-frame made from tree-trunk-sized tubing, an engineer- passed custom rear mono-shock suspension set-up, mufflers, clip-ons and a digital gauge with keyless start.

After stripping the bike we realised the seat subframe wasn’t following the same line as the rest of the bike. Some doctoring had it back on the straight and narrow allowing us to make a custom seat pan to suit.

Sandy asked if we could soften the custom suspension somewhat as it tended to ‘buck’ a bit over bumps. Some internal pre-load work by our local suspension specialist sorted that out with the ride now feeling more compliant and conducive to staying in the saddle.

Mechanically the bike was sound but for good measure kits were put through the Bing carbs along with new foam pod filters.

The engine was cleaned up and touched up with paint to freshen the look, as was the frame and all associated items.

The paint scheme was a combination of Sandy’s thoughts and ours. It seems to draw some inspiration from 1970’s Martini race team liveries, whilst not copying directly. (Knee pads will complete the theme, when they arrive).

Front guard is the original, trimmed, whilst the rear is a custom made unit. An Ellaspede Ninja Star mounts the number plate at the rear (which we’re told is soon to be a black n white personalised unit).

The new seat was shaped to suit the styling of the bike and finished in vinyl with light blue contrast stitch. The 65 is self-explanatory.

What isn’t so obvious are custom name plates replacing the fork leg reflectors. These subtle CNC machined inserts reference a travel tale from Sandy’s past that he chose to incorporate into the build.

Headlight is aftermarket 7”, whilst the taillight is a flexible LED strip, frenched into the frame. Indicators are Posh Chamfers and a new Acewell 2853 gauge replaced the ageing former digital unit.

To ensure the electrics were reliable, a full re-wire was undertaken with aviation grade wire. Bar-end mirrors complete the front-end picture.

Wheels were cleaned and painted black with new Bridgestone tread applied… the rear 130/80 being the largest size the shaft drive swing arm would allow.

The mufflers were treated to new stainless tips and re-painted.

Whilst the 65 has a few kms under the belt, it’s delivering the air-head fun-factor that Sandy and son Alex were chasing… and turning many a head in the process.


Albums we listened to during the build of this bike:

1. A$AP Rocky – Live. Love. A$AP 2. Fonz Whaler – Fonz Whaler EP 3. Paul Kelly – Songs From the South

Photos and Features:

Photos by AJ Moller Photography As featured on The Bike Shed

Comments (1)

awesome frame design

By: on 4 September 2018
Wow, beautiful bike. I love the clean lines and minimal fenders. That frame upgrade looks well designed - how much is rear suspension/handling improved? any chance you could make a subframe like that for a 92 R100R? Mine has the monoshock and paralever, which I really enjoy. keep up the great custom work!

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