The Burning Boxer – Tony’s BMW Café Racer

The beauty of motorcycles is that they can screech into your life at any moment, and 8 years ago that moment happened to Tony. In true Aussie tradition, his first bike was a CT110 Postie a mate of his picked up cheap at an auction. A license and 10 bikes later and the addiction has firmly taken hold. Starting and completing a motor mechanic trade straight out of school, Tony has been working on anything and everything as long as he can remember.


His current creation is a 1986 BMW r65 Café Racer, “I got the idea to do a BMW airhead when I visited the BMW Welt museum in Munich, after that i was hooked on boxers.” It’s a ground up rebuild/custom, having it all pulled down to the frame. All the unnecessary tabs, brackets and mounts were ground, filed or smoothed over in true Café Racer tradition. The result is something that is neat, sleek and nimble.

Having such a history working with motors and vehicles has afforded Tony the knowledge and skill to rebuild and replace everything on this bike. Once the frame was sorted, not a part on the bike was left unchanged, replaced or rebuilt. The bike had over 80 hours of fabrication work done to it at RB Racing, where Tony himself is currently working.

Some of the work that went on there included:

  • Custom rear set brackets
  • Custom sub frame
  • Relocated ignition switch
  • Hidden horn, number plate mount
  • Frame bracing
  • Rear brake linkage
  • Relocated battery mounts
  • Lower fairing bracket
  • Steering dampener mount
  • Mounts to raise the tank 1″ at the rear
  • And of course the custom full exhaust system.

Once the fabrication was done, Tony worked towards pulling the bike down once more (statues of Saddam Hussein haven’t been pulled down as many times as this bike) and got to work getting everything painted and reassembled. There were a lot of long nights in the shed with the help from mates.

“The boxer was always going to be ridden hard no matter what, I wanted to set up an aggressive riding position from seat to bars, and seat to pegs. Since I’ve always had an interest in race bikes from the past and present, I wanted to create a bike that was a throwback to a classic racer style with the upgrades and modern take on style and function. This can be seen in the custom exhaust system which exits out of the rear body work, by far my favourite park of the bike”

The bike is running with front Racetech suspension and Wilbers Type 631 Competition rear shock with remote reservoir so not only will the bike mimic sensibilities of an old school race bike, but will also perform well when the bike is being blasted through local backroads. “I also wanted to run the best possible tires on this bike, trying Pirelli Sport Demons first and then moving over to the Dunlop K81 TT100 which I liked better”

While Tony hasn’t got a new custom project on the board at the moment, he spends the rest of his time racing and maintaining his Honda RVF400 race bike. “Its always an ongoing project where I am looking to squeeze the most out of the bike and myself every lap, or I will break myself in trying”


Nils’ ’86 BMW K100 RS

It doesn’t get more badarse than appearing in juvenile court at the age of 16 for putting a 100cc tuning kit in your MTX80. Or maybe it does – actually it probably does. But resident fugitive Nils has served his time, spending a day planting trees for his social service. Now this hardened criminal has a new machine.

After fleeing his home country of Germany due to his life of crime (or just moving for a change of scene) Nils tricked out a Vespa PX200. Not the meanest of machines, but Nils changed this scoot to suit his needs.

“I customised this scooter and really loved it, but was after something I could ride a bit further than 20km so I started looking around for a new project. I usually buy things pretty quickly – more out of a gut feeling than tedious research – I then end up dealing with any problems later. The original idea was to customise a BMW R series bike but I couldn’t afford it. A friend of mine then told me about the K series, and how reliable the engine is. Not being very mechanically minded, and the bikes going fairly cheap I thought this might be the best option for me. A week later, I saw one for a good price and bought it sight unseen. Luckily for me, it turned out to be in good nick, so the next step in the journey had started.”

And so Nils hit the great tech oracle that is known as Google, searching for some custom K inspiration. “There wasn’t too many builds, at least nothing I liked. I then came across a build from Puzzle Garage in Italy, which struck a chord. This would be the basis for my inspiration, with my own twist to make it exactly the machine I was after.

Once the build was under way, the learning curve also began. Many hours spent on the Internet working out each step, what materials were needed and the correct processes. “There was a lot of trial and error, with the build process taking longer than I expected as I really had no clue about anything. “

“I pretty much took the whole bike apart, and then chopped the end off. From there I worked out the electrics, and created the look I wanted. Quite a few foam seats and wooden seat bases were created during that time – syphon jigglers make great tail loops by the way! With the help from Internet forums and friends I got it to a state I was pretty happy with aesthetically.”

“There were things l wasn’t able to do myself that I outsourced. The welding, seat shaping and the front fender were all done by Kyle from Rene9ade Customs in Brookvale. He’s been a huge help along the way and did a great job with all the bits. He’s also done other little things when I got stuck or couldn’t deal with it anymore.”

“The tricky bits for me were to create an overall shape that flows nicely. The K front end is quite high compared to the back but putting in different forks seemed way to hard for me then. Drop bars would have helped the shape a lot but I opted for the comfort with the nearly original seating position of the K100 so I just pushed the forks through a bit. The handle bars are also original but were widened by a couple of inches.”

“Once the bike was all together and I’ve ridden it for a few weeks it really grew on me and I got quite a lot of positive feedback so I took it apart completely again to have the frame and other bits painted properly. That was my biggest learning curve and a good process to do. It also made the bike “pop” a bit more.”

“I am never really satisfied and am always thinking about ways to improve things but overall I am pretty happy with the outcome of my first build (with the help of other people).

I love the engine of the bike, it’s very smooth with enough power but also very forgiving at the same time. It doesn’t feel like it wants to throw you off and falls nicely into corners. Keeping the original riding position was a good choice and I absolutely enjoy riding it.”


The Hand-Me-Down – Ross’ BMW R65LS

16,000kms, an Uncle, a Dad, and a Son – this marked the journey and the history for this 1984 BMW R65LS that has been given a new lease on life courtesy of Ellaspede (and the wife saying no to having 3 bikes in the garage).


Ross grew up around motorcycles. With his Grandfather having owned a motorcycle shop in Rockhampton QLD for many years, he had very little choice as his father and uncles tore about the streets on 2-wheels from a very young age. One particular bike would become something special however. Sold brand new in Alaska USA in 1984, this BMW R65LS had made it’s way down to warmer climate in San Fransisco to where Ross’ Uncle Rod lived. “Rod then bought the bike, rode it for a few years and then garaged it. My parents were in San Fransisco in the early or mid ‘90’s when my Dad showed interest in the bike. Sure enough a few months later it was packed up and on a ship heading for Sydney.”


Over the following years, Ross’ Dad would ride and enjoy the R65LS until he decided to swap out for something bigger for the long rides he did with his local club. “I had just sold a Kawasaki GPX600 and Dad had asked if I wanted to keep the R65. I figured why not, and have owned it since about 2001. I rode it stock until 2012, where it sat unregistered for 3 years as I was busy with work and family. By 2015 I was thinking of getting a newer bike to get back into some weekend rides, but didn’t really want to sell the airhead as it was a great bike to ride, my partner unfortunately put an ended to my idea of having 3 bikes in the garage (I also have a 1948 Stroud Panther) so the option was either sell, or customise.


Fortunately, what was now becoming somewhat of a family heirloom was to be kept; albeit with a major makeover on the cards. This is where the custom bike magicians at Ellaspede in Brisbane come into the picture. After a referral from a client that these wrenchers from Queensland were worth checking out, Ross was soon on the phone to Leo from Ellaspede. “Straight away I knew these guys were right for the job. We spoke about what I wanted from the build, which was to basically strip it right back, with flatter bars and shorter pipes. I wanted to keep the original tank, carbs and wheels as I hadn’t seen many airheads with snowflake wheels.”


Ross continued to feed Leo with his intentions for this build and ideas, and all was considered and taken on board. The design Leo came back with was right on the money. “At this stage, I had the option of either Ellaspede putting together a parts list with me undertaking the build myself, or have them complete the build for me. I certainly didn’t have the time or know how to complete the job to the standard I desired, so I organised a courier and the bike was off to Brisbane. From here the process was pretty straightforward with only a couple of things we hadn’t anticipated. There was some pinhole rust in the tank, which was addressed, along with one of the wheels having a flat spot so a new one was sourced. The only other problem that surfaced was when we came to re-register the bike. The powder coaters had done such a great job that the frame number couldn’t be read! We had to strip it back before it could be put back on the road. A mate at Autolac sent someone round to strip back the powder coat before resealing it with a clear finish on the small section of the frame so as to reveal the frame number.”


“This has always been a really nice bike to ride, and nothing has changed there. It certainly gets a few nods of approval when on the road, mostly from other airhead owners. I love the sound, it sounds amazing heading through the Royal National Park with either my partner or one of the kids on the back. It has been rewarding keeping my Uncle in San Francisco up to date with the progress of the build, and he certainly approves. My Dad passed away a couple of years ago, but I am sure he would approve of it also.”

And now it’s time for Ross’ two Sons to fight over who gets the bike next in the family.




Mystic – Drifterbikes 1991 BMW R100R

Having built countless custom machines for himself, Paul found himself in a creative rut. Something that deviated further from what he was normally creating needed to be made to sate his chopping desires – fortunately some beers with a mate would turn to be the catalyst for just such a build.

A good mate of Paul’s was in the market for a new project to work on, with the inspiration coming from a custom build he’d seen in Europe. With Nick wanting to try a different styled build to what he typically does, this joint project began to make sense. “Nick had an idea about a bike that he’d seen built by Atelier- although he wanted his to be more daily rider friendly, and so a plan was put together. We began with the search for a base bike, Nick managed to find a great original 1991 BMW R100R way out in West Australia. The owner was a great guy and just so happened to be coming over east in a month’s time and had a van to put the bike in. Call it fate, or a bloody good coincidence – it was paid for and we now waited for delivery.”


While the wait for the bike was ticking away, Nick and Paul made good use of this spare time to source parts from far and wide to keep the wheels on this build in motion. A tank that was exactly what Nick was after was found, albeit in Poland. Regardless, they bit the bullet and ordered the tank from Poland, with one slight hiccup. “The tank got knocked back by customs due to it not being flushed properly. We had to wait a further 6 weeks for it make its slow boat journey to Australia.” But once it did arrive, the build could commence full steam ahead.


The basic strip down of the bike revealed a very good frame set up, but it would still be modified to bring this design to life. The frame was de-tabbed and shortened with a kick in the rear for tyre clearance. The seat was laid over 2mm alloy sheet and foamed with closed cell rubber. “It’s easy to shape, and not too bad on your butt for longer rides. It was sent off to Michael from East Coast Trim Shop to have some beautiful leather in ox blood red. His stitches are millimetre perfect, and the finish is awesome.”


Now that the throne was complete, attention could be cast back to this troublesome tank. It would be sent off to have the magic of Kyle from Smith Concepts worked across it. “A simple but classic design was the plan to replicate the M colours from BMW. The actual process is never that easy. A whole lot of masking, then back masking had the tank looking amazing with an understated simplicity.  After the majority of the fab work was done, the bike was fully stripped and blasted and given a new coat of satin black powdercoat with the motor being given the same treatment to tie it all together.”


“In Australia, and particular NSW – the police tend to like to see some wheel coverage for tyres front and rear. The bike being a single sided swing arm, it had me working hard to make something strong enough to hold the fender without overpowering the look of the bike. I think it works well, and looks light enough to not take away from the bike. Integrated rear indicators blend the tail/stop light duties nicely. The front indicators are bar end style much like the Motogadget setup. There is a whole lot of detail in the bike that you have to look for. Tonnes of hours in the small things make the builds seems like marathons. Hiding wires and finishing off things is time consuming but well worth it for the overall look.”


“For the most part the build went fairly smoothly, but BMW’s have a way of resisting being easily customised. They are an engineered bike, and as such they like being put back together a particular way. I found that out on a previous build I did on a 75/6 a few years ago. They’re great long-term ownership bikes as they are built to go forever. Being easy to ride with a unique character see’s many of these bikes being built by lots of custom shops.”


“The bike for Nick and I has been a fun project to work on together. From the design process to the actual building of the bike for us has been a labour of love/hate. It’s tested us in terms of resolving the problems that presented themselves as challenges that took away from our original ideas. Making things work in the real world is an interesting thing when it’s only existed in your mind up until that point. Form and function have to work together when building a bike. I think we have a bike that fits those purposes well.”





The Dirty Ranga – Mark’s BMW Café Tourer

The BMW Big K series is no doubt growing in popularity in regards to custom builds these days. While these 265kg machines might not be everyone’s first choice when choosing the canvas for their build, it’s a machine that can be stripped down and turned into just about anything your heart desires. For Mark of Rewind MC, that desire was The Dirty Ranga.


Mark’s relationship with these bikes goes a while back. Affectionately dubbed “the Big Flying Brick”, Mark owned his first BMW K100RS back in 1986. “What followed was no less than 5 more K series. From the Big Tourers to the Sports versions, I was racking up around 230,000km up and down the East Coast. You could say I have a soft spot for the model – it was inevitable that one day another would come through my shed. The idea for this build was a big, Café Racer/ Desert Sled style bike that could do the long distance rides with luggage and a pillion. It also had to be fast and nimble enough to enjoy all the glorious back roads Australia has on offer. What better base to start with than one of the best Sports Tourers of the 90’s!”


And so a 1992 BMW K1100LT SE would be picked up, and the stripping down would soon begin for this buxom Bavarian beast. The aim for this build would be to create a machine that would be a jack-of-all-trades. It would need to be reliable, happy to go long ranges, comfortable with a ton of luggage and a pillion – whilst also being able to smash through all the twisty back country roads. “The first job was to strip off all of the fairings and plastic – which would end up being enough to house a small family. The mounting paints for luggage and panniers were left in place, with the rear sub-frame being unmolested so both the luggage and pillion seat options were still operational”


The bones of the Big K bikes are strong and sturdy, providing an excellent base for Mark to work with. “The K1100, as opposed to the K100, is a better bike all-round. The brakes, suspension, shaft drive and handling are all much better. The turbine smooth torque loaded 16v flat four engine is also incredible. The induction set up and electrics were then tidied up and left in place to make for all weather, reliable touring. The lounge chair seat was chopped and shaped, with plenty of padding still left for those long hauls with provision for a special pillion under the removable, shaped leather Rear cowl.”


Something different to the Café norm, the seat was covered by Mark in soft deerskin leather. “It feels great, and deerskin is unaffected by rain and the elements unlike other leathers. Thanks Bambi!” A redundant Ducati 900SS fairing that was sitting in the shed gathering dust would be then put to use to solve an issue Mark found with K series builds. “You have to find a solution in regards with what to do with the tank and cut outs up the front. The fairing extends neatly back, and covers that particularly ugly part of the bike. The top of the fairing was chopped and trimmed with the normal SS screen left out. This meant that I could mount wide, flat drag bars with a slight lift. The riding position as a result is somewhere between touring and sports touring – ideal for me as a big tall unit!”


As per the bike’s name, The Dirty Ranga was covered in an aged, distressed flat orange scheme. Emblazoned across the fuel tank is “Das hassliche rothaarigen Stiefkind”or, The Ugly Red Headed Stepchild in German. “All the paintwork was done by myself and was based on the BMW concept 90, and the burnt orange superbike schemes of the ‘70’s.”


“What I like most about this bike? There’s a few things really. The long, lean stance of the Ranga as she sits there. That flat four motor has never been pretty, lets face it. The long slim fairing, combined with the long, exposed rear sub frame stretches the bike out. With most K builds you’ll see more of a stubby nosed custom or streetfighter look where the engine becomes a feature. The long lean lines of the Ranga seem to mimic the engine lines and bring it all together.

The almost industrial, unfinished look of the triple and all the bits attached to the engine cry raw to me, “leave me messy and honest”. I love the offset headlight and instruments, a fairing that looks familiar but not. People that know me, know that I like things to be odd.

Oh, and I like Orange… I really like that Orange finish.”

Check out more of Mark’s work over at



The Ellaspede R80 Street Tracker

Long distance relationships can be trying, and often difficult to make work. For Chris and the blokes at Ellaspede however; thousands of kilometres would not hinder their combined efforts in creating this nimble and unique machine known now as the Ellaspede R80 Street Tracker.


Chris’ longstanding love affair for Airhead BMW’s would be kicked into gear after selling his Triumph Thruxton build – the itch for a new project would keep him up at night as he mulled over ideas and possibilities. This new machine would tick off the boxes that his previous builds did not, mixing a more practical design for Chris’ riding stance along with the perfect balance of heritage and modern tech. “As time passed, it seemed to me like every second café racer build around the world was an R-series BMW, so I decided mine had to be unique. After the compromised riding position of my previous Thruxton I decided a Street Tracker would be a more usable design for me. So the original brief was simple – 1) make the engine layout the star of the show, 2) make it every-day comfortable to ride and 3) use a BMW M Sport colour scheme.”


The battle plan was now taking shape; some troops were required before the big push however. This is where Ellaspede would enter the picture. While at a bike show in Brisbane, Chris met the lads that had been making incredible custom motorcycles. “I loved their builds and their attitude, so I asked them to work with me on some CAD designs. That part was easy to do from a thousand km’s away. After a few iterations we landed on a great design. I didn’t have the skills to build something that good myself, and I thought about trying to find someone in Sydney who could do it, but in the end I decided Ellaspede would be the best people to bring their design to life.”


The chopping now started, and a few trips up to Brisbane by Chris the bike started to take form. There were a few critical decisions during the build that I needed to actually throw a leg over the frame for, but it’s surprising how much can be done by phone, email and lots of photos. The team at Ellaspede were excellent at keeping me informed along the way.”


Each part for the build was carefully considered in both regards to quality, and the style of the final product. After struggling to find a headlight design that Chris thought was worthy for such a build, they began to experiment with different sizes and concepts. “We even toyed with the idea of a rectangular ‘80’s Kawasaki styled headlight. In the end, Ellaspede suggested this LSL unit. Initially, I thought it didn’t fit the look at all. However, the more I stared at it, the more it grew on me and the more I loved it! It’s probably the thing I like most about this build, but it polarises people – some think it wrecks the bike, while others think it makes it. Luckily I love it!”


After the minor headlight dilemmas, the bike was now complete. The result is a sterling example of mixing a 1980’s bike with some more modern parts and pieces. It’s a colourful and enjoyable bike not only to look at – but to ride. The BMW M Sport colour scheme is brilliant, with accents of the scheme placed in parts on the exhaust, rocker covers and integrated into the custom leather of the seat. The modern styled headlight brings this bike into a new field, a lightweight amalgamation of style that’s resulted in a truly head turning machine.


“I picked up the bike in Brisbane and trailered it back to Sydney – unfortunately it was during a 10 hour biblical downpour! I discovered that pod filters capture the rain brilliantly so I had carbs full of watery fuel to drain before I could ride it properly.

Overall the bike has exceeded my expectations – I love the look, the integration of the Motogadget gear works even better than I hoped and there’s some beautifully engineered solutions like the copper wire choke cables on the carbs.

Everywhere it goes it seems to draw a crowd – it seems lots of people have a soft spot for airheads!”



Bavarian Beard Basher – R nineT Scrambler

How do you become the highlight of BMW Motorrad Australia’s Boss throughout a new bike launch? Get yourself crossed up sideways with him hunting you down and wear a nice milky top lip with pride, easy!

To celebrate BMW Motorrad’s 90th anniversary in 2013, the retro-styled R nineT was released to the world, a bike that paid homage to the hugely popular and iconic R series motorcycles of the mid 70’s, in particular the R90S.

The R nineT was an instant hit with media and the buying public due to a combination of superb performance and nostalgic design. It was this popularity that saw BMW Motorrad decide to develop the Heritage series of bikes upon the R nineT tubular framed platform.

Fast-forward three years and a series of firsts were about to take place. I was going to do my first bike review, ride off-road in anger for the first time, attempt my first ever motorcycle ride on sand, have my first experience in discovering the joys of ABS & traction control and all this on the first of the ‘Heritage’ series from BMW Motorrad, the R nineT Scrambler.



You could almost say it was my first time riding a boxer too, however I did get a small blast on an R nineT a couple of months ago and already knew how great they are, what I wasn’t prepared for was just how much fun I was about to have on the Scrambler!

Kicking off at Ellaspede Custom Motorcycles in Brisbane, it was an opportunity to meet and greet the seasoned writers and bike reviewers, as well as get up close and personal with the Scrambler for the first time. One thing became abundantly clear, there was a distinct lack of facial hair amongst the ensemble, and so despite not being an experienced reviewer at least I’d look the part!


Miles Davis (Marketing Manager) and Andreas Lundgren (General Manager) from BMW Motorrad Australia gave us the low down on what set the Scrambler apart from the existing R nineT, and I was relieved to learn that it came standard with a 35mm taller seat height (820mm) due to longer telescopic forks with 125mm travel (versus the 120mm of the USD), rear shock with 140mm travel (versus 120mm), and a redesigned seat with slightly more cushioning to ensure that someone of my height and girth didn’t look too much like a Russian bear riding a monkey bike.



In standard form it’s a great looking beast, with cast rims (19’ front, 17” rear) shod with Metzeler Karoo3 Dual Sport tyres (no cost option), brown leather seat and ABS.

We also learned that the Scrambler comes with a great range of options including tubeless cross spoke rims (19” front & 17” rear), larger capacity alloy tank with weld porn straight down the guts of it, (1L more capacity at 18L) and traction control which happened to be upon one of the test bikes. It so happened to be the one that drew me in like a magnet, after all, this is Throttle Roll and I needed to ride the one that had the most personalisation done to it (and it looked mighty fine too).







The Scrambler’s electrical system also allows the easy integration of aftermarket speedos and indicators without the computer wigging out and making the bike a 222kg paperweight. Mind you, the stock gauges and optional white indicators look so good in their simplicity you probably wouldn’t bother going to the trouble.


For the adventurous and skilled fabricators out there, the Scrambler’s modular tubed frame design allows custom rear sub frames to simply bolt in place, however as we all know, you change the sub frame, then comes a custom seat and so on an so forth. We’d be keen to see what some clever builder will come up with in future, as the stock bike is a tough act to follow.


After getting the low down on the Scrambler, it was time to jump on the bikes and hit the road to Mount Glorious for lunch via the twisties through the Enoggera Mountain Reserve. Not having ridden boxers much at all, the torsional twist from the horizontally opposed twin was very apparent. From the moment you give the throttle a twist, you very quickly notice the bike moving from side to side, giving it a certain soul and character not found in most bikes from manufacturers that pride themselves on clinical smoothness. To me, a motor that bucks between your knees adds instant character and screams to be ridden hard. Admittedly it did take me around 20 minutes or so to realize the bike didn’t want to kick me off and in fact I was starting to feel quite confident by the time the corners arrived.


What was most impressive was the ability to throw the Scrambler around with ease, and the confidence that the engineers made a great choice in pairing the bike up with the Metzeler Karoo 3 tyres.






Despite the bike not being a lightweight, it was more than chuckable and easy to fling up the hilly roads with ease, especially with the grunt delivered by the twin cam, four valve per cylinder air-cooled boxer. It’s more than capable of powering along in third gear, due to the 81kw (110hp) motor with a hefty 116nm of torque. Mind, you, shifting through the gears is where the fun is at, with the bike absolutely loving a quick downshift and hefty twist of the throttle to boot it out of the corners. The stock Akrapovic pipes give it a good roar without trying to rip your eardrums out, and didn’t leave me drained at all after the two days of testing.


It wasn’t long after lunch that the second of my first encounters arrived, and that was the discovery of ABS thanks to the quick thinking of Tom the videographer doing his best interpretive dance to get me to slow down right away for a 20kph left hand hairpin. It was at this moment that I was way too close to do anything other than look as deep into the corner as I could whilst scrubbing off speed entering the corner via application of the rear brake. It was at this moment that the bike gave me a gentle wiggle from the bum to let me know all was ok, and that I was able to gain confidence in taking the corner without either low siding or having to stand it up into the wrong side of the road and the Armco alongside it. Tom tells me he caught the wiggle, that I’m sure sounds more exciting and dramatic than it actually looked.

With my heart rate settled it was time to power on to the next regroup point where Miles, excited that I hadn’t binned the bike or myself duly proceeded to give me a full demonstration of ABS, and how effective it really is under trying conditions. I have to say, it really is an impressive piece of kit, particularly with the twin 320mm discs and 4 pot calipers up front. This demonstration certainly helped me out plenty of more times throughout the launch as the bike managed to get me places far more efficiently than I’d ever expected and anticipated, as it really is a confidence inspiring package.

I well and truly discovered just how great the electronics were when I lead Andreas down the garden path after heading the wrong direction at an intersection upon a super tight 20kph hairpin that we were already committed to, as we blasted off on our merry way towards the twisties again. There’s nothing quite like the MD of BMW Motorrad Australia chasing you down hard and then getting yourself crossed up in all directions whilst entering another of the deceivingly tight bends. It seems he found it entertaining as I managed to save myself and the bike thanks to the electronic aids, and admitted it was one of the highlights of his day, me, not so much.




After 230klm of riding on some brilliant twisty and challenging roads, we arrived at the evening stop for a bite to eat, beers and banter before hitting the sack. What surprised me most, especially as someone with chronic back pain was how well I felt after the ride. The seat is surprisingly supportive and didn’t leave my backside numb, or my back in the excruciating pain that I’m used to. In fact, I didn’t even take my daily dose of Ibuprofen that day. The seating and handle bar position also minimized the back pain that I regularly endure, so top marks there too.


Day two was set be the one filled with dirt sections and a trip to the beach, thankfully it was to ride the bike on the sand and not to show off my gentle curves to the unsuspecting public.

This is where the traction control combined with the ABS shone as a complete package. The test bikes we were riding were optioned with traction control for the media launch, and I’m glad that they were. It wasn’t long before I started to build up my speed on the dirt, with the bike never wanting to throw me off despite my lack of experience, in fact the best fun was had on a section that had dirt and tarmac alternating every few kilometers that I didn’t feel the need to back off for, and just kept pressing on with the same momentum the whole length of the way. It was a hoot!



During our regroup I put the bike through it’s most important test, how it looks when drinking a coffee upon it. Because let’s face it, doing the café’ crawl is something a good Scrambler should be proficient at. The seating position is quite upright, but it does maximize the opportunity for passers by to notice you whilst sipping back your favourite double roasted coffee. The shots tell the story.




The dirt sections got a bit more challenging when Chris Vermeulen joined us to show him some of the gems in his own backyard. The potholes were deeper and commanded more attention, especially at speed or without standing on the pegs. Doing so made the front end bottom out, however I didn’t get launched off the bike and kept on powering on through the more rugged fire trails without incident despite hitting a couple harder than expected. The Scrambler is no lightweight trail bike, but it certainly is capable of taking you off the tarmac and into your favourite camping spot with ease.





So far so good, went insanely hot into tight bends, barreled through unsealed roads and hit fire trails without dropping the bike because, hey, no one wants to be the newbie that drops the brand new bike on their first media launch. Miles on the other hand was determined to push me to the limits though, as right where we were in the Sunshine Coast is one of the few beaches in Australia that you can take a motorbike for a thrash upon in Laguna Bay.





Here is were I was super tentative, hauling a pretty heavy bike on sand for the first time, and exercise that demands a huge amount of attention and skill to do well. Miles is a bit of a master off this beach-riding caper, absolutely flinging the bike around like a rag doll with the traction control off, as it needs to be able to power itself out of the soft stuff on command. Pretty soon it was my turn, and I’ll admit that I was as slow as grass growing, but, once again, no dropped bike, so that’s a win in my books!



The end of the day was drawing closer and it was time to head back to the drop off point and back home to Throttle Roll HQ.

All in all the bike is an absolute blast, and in fact has a far bigger fun factor than the regular R nineT, because it’s so capable both on tarmac and off. The fact that it is around 10% cheaper is also a bonus at $19,150RRP.

If you’re after an out of the box bike that can be easily personalised, then this should be high on your list of bikes to test ride, you won’t regret it.

A special thank you to BMW Motorrad Australia and the film crews for the brilliant opportunity to test the Scrambler in all its glory. To find out more about the R nineT Scrambler, visit BMW Motorrad Australia

Photography by Greg Smith – iKapture Images

Words by Stephen Broholm

Air/oil-cooled flat twin (‘Boxer’) 4-stroke engine, two camshafts and four radially aligned valves per cylinder,central balancer shaft
Bore x stroke:
101 mm x 73 mm
1,170 cc
Rated output:
81 kW (110 hp) at 7,750 rpm
Max. torque:
116 Nm at 6.000 rpm
Compression ratio:
12.0 : 1
Mixture control / engine management:
Electronic intake pipe injection
Emission control:
Closed-loop 3-way catalytic converter, emission standard EU-4
Performance / fuel consumption
Maximum speed:
over 200 km/h
Fuel consumption per 100 km at constant 90 km/h:
4.5 l
Fuel consumption per 100 km at constant 120 km/h:
5.9 l
Fuel type:
Unleaded fuel, octane number 95-98 RON (rated output at 98 RON)
Electrical system
three-phase alternator 720 W
12 V / 14 Ah, maintenance-free
Power transmission
Single dry plate clutch, hydraulically operated
Constant mesh 6-speed gearbox with helical gear teeth
Shaft drive
Chassis / brakes
three-section frame consisting of one front and two rear sections, load-bearing engine-gearbox unit, removeable pillion frame for single ride use
Front wheel location / suspension:
Telescopic forks with 43 mm fixed-tube diameter
Rear wheel location / suspension:
Cast aluminium single swinging arm with BMW Motorrad Paralever; central spring strut, spring preload steplessly adjustable by hook wrench, rebound-stage damping adjustable
Suspension travel front / rear:
125 mm / 140 mm
1.522 mm
116.1 mm
Steering head angle:
Cast wheels
Rim, front:
3,00 x 19″
Rim, rear:
4,50 x 17″
Tyres, front:
120/70 R 19
Tyres, rear:
170/60 R 17
Brake, front:
Twin-disc brakes, diameter 320 mm, 4-piston callipers
Brake, rear:
Single disc brake, diameter 265 mm, double-piston floating caliper
BMW Motorrad ABS
Dimensions / weights
2.175 mm
Width (incl. mirrors):
880 mm
Height (excl. mirrors):
1.330 mm
Seat height, unladen weight:
820 mm
Inner leg curve, unladen weight:
1.830 mm
Unladen weight, road ready, fully fuelled 1):
220 kg
Permitted total weight:
430 kg
Payload (with standard equipment):
210 kg
Usable tank volume:
17 l
app. 3,5 l
 Technical data relate to the unladen weight (DIN)
 1) According to Directive 93/93/EEC with all fluids, fuelled to at least 90% of usable fuel tank
Bikes Reviews

In Bed With Ze Germans

Words by Mark Hawwa

BMW Motorrad Australia recently helped take part in the Throttle Roll Street Party, helping support the morning’s ride as well as the main event. This would be no one-night stand, but a beautiful and blossoming relationship between the two. However, early in the morning before BMW could awake, Throttle Roll slipped out of the perfectly laid german sheets and decided to “borrow” a BMW R nineT to make sure this relationship had the right stuff.

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Introduced back in 2014, the R nineT is a retro-styled machine that is to be the blank canvas for those wanting to flex their custom muscle. A throw back to the past, this is a bike that celebrates over 90 years of BMW engineering. Whilst the Germans are renowned for their machine like efficancy, bordering on almost clinical technology that could be called soulless by some, this is a retro styled modern piece of technology that has a very important thing – Soul. Sit on this bike, turn the engine on and as soon as you take off you’ll begin to know the personality of this machine, something that can often be overlooked in new machines in the 21st century.

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I’ve ridden a ton of bikes, old and new, custom and stock. What attracts me most is always the older machines, the cougars of the machine world. I love the quirks and imperfections, the rumble, the lack of refinement – this forms personality in a machine for me. I tried to be as objective as I could before I jumped onto a brand new bike, and as soon as I did the voice in my head (I swear I’m sane) said “Yep, cool, another bike to play with”. That all changed when I put the key in, turned it on and this machine suddenly came to life. And that’s what stuck out to me, this bike was alive.


The stock exhaust thundered out a great tune – something I thought I’d never say about stock pipes before. “How is this legal?!” I thought. I rolled back on the throttle and the bike swayed from left to right, like an anxious horse ready to tear across grassy plains. I felt like I was in neutral sitting at a set of traffic lights in a mini with a V8 and a lead foot. The rumble is an instant turn on, and I knew instantly that I was going to enjoy this bike.

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This stead needed its legs properly stretched, so a ride from the Royal National Park up to Kiama would be just the ticket. Despite being a modern motorcycle, it’s held back from some of the techy creature comforts such as Traction Control – though this is not much of a negative for me. It does however still have hand warmers, because nothing ruin’s a lovers touch more than some chilly digits. This was perfect for the trip down south during winter as the cold snap was in full force.

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Going around corners is just one test for this ‘cycle, it also needed to be tested in some more niche circumstances, such as mini jumps off old wooden bridges. Something that surely will come in handy for the inevitable zombie apocalypse, probably. Muddy burnouts would also be on the list of things this bike would need to trial – not for any particular reason but because we know the Germans like to get a bit dirty sometimes. It handled sharp braking and quick shifts in turning as I dodged branches, trees, moss and the occasional road kill from one of the windiest days we’ve had in years. Macquarie Pass, Kangaroo Valley to Kiama and back up through the National Park to Kirrawee, the bike thrived throughout the 400km+ roundtrip. It tore around the corners happily, and had power on tap throughout.

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It wasn’t just the twisties that made this bike enjoyable to straddle and ride, as a daily commuter it even was enjoyable. The bike has a good upright riding position, vision to the end of the road all the while enjoying that great exhaust note. It proved to be a classic styled bike minus the old bike issues. Changing the stock mirrors or a sleeker version would be ideal, as lane filtering and tucking between Sydney’s congested traffic was made somewhat tricky at times, paired with the flat twin engine poking out ever-keen to nudge an unsuspecting car’s bumpers. BMW_R_nineT_Cafe_Racer20160720 (10)

Looks wise, this version of the R nineT is by far my favourite. It’s got the right amount of mix between classic and modern straight out of the factory, with the brushed aluminium giving it a good amount of old school charm, along with the spoked wheels. This bike looks great stock, but the potential to take it up to the next level with custom work and modification is limitless. This is a machine that’s intended for customisation. The flat twin engine is great, with plenty of torque – although could be made better with about 10 more horsepower. The heavy engine braking is something that made this also great to chuck around the corners and control.

Lanesplitting ability: 3/10

Braking: 8/10

Warm Hands 10/10

Torque 9/10

Do the Ton 10/10

Handling 8/10

Power 8/10

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Engine and transmission
Displacement: 1170.00 ccm (71.39 cubic inches)
Engine type: Two cylinder boxer, four-stroke
Engine details: Radially aligned valves per cylinder, central balancer shaft
Power: 110.00 HP (80.3 kW)) @ 7500 RPM
Torque: 119.00 Nm (12.1 kgf-m or 87.8 ft.lbs) @ 6000 RPM
Compression: 12.0:1
Bore x stroke: 101.0 x 73.0 mm (4.0 x 2.9 inches)
Valves per cylinder: 4
Fuel system: Injection. Electronic intake pipe injection Closed-loop 3-way catalytic converter, emission standard EU-3
Fuel control: Double Overhead Cams/Twin Cam (DOHC)
Cooling system: Oil & air
Gearbox: 6-speed
Transmission type,
final drive:
Shaft drive (cardan)
Clutch: Single dry plate clutch, hydraulically operated
Driveline: Constant mesh
Fuel consumption: 4.50 litres/100 km (22.2 km/l or 52.27 mpg)
Greenhouse gases: 104.4 CO2 g/km. (CO2 – Carbon dioxide emission)
Chassis, suspension, brakes and wheels
Frame type: Four-section frame consisting of one front and three rear sections, load-bearing engine-gearbox unit, removable pillion frame for single ride use
Rake (fork angle): 25.5°
Trail: 103 mm (4.0 inches)
Front suspension: Upside-Down telescopic fork with 46 mm diameter
Front wheel travel: 120 mm (4.7 inches)
Rear suspension: Ast aluminium single-sided swing arm with BMW Motorrad Paralever
Rear wheel travel: 135 mm (5.3 inches)
Front tyre: 120/70-ZR17
Rear tyre: 180/55-ZR17
Front brakes: Double disc. ABS. Floating discs. Four-piston calipers.
Front brakes diameter: 320 mm (12.6 inches)
Rear brakes: Single disc. ABS. Floating disc. Two-piston calipers.
Rear brakes diameter: 265 mm (10.4 inches)
Wheels: Spoke wheels
Physical measures and capacities
Weight incl. oil, gas, etc: 222.0 kg (489.4 pounds)
Seat height: 785 mm (30.9 inches) If adjustable, lowest setting.
Overall height: 1,265 mm (49.8 inches)
Overall length: 2,220 mm (87.4 inches)
Overall width: 890 mm (35.0 inches)
Wheelbase: 1,476 mm (58.1 inches)
Fuel capacity: 18.00 litres (4.76 gallons)
Reserve fuel capacity: 3.00 litres (0.79 gallons)

2shot – Stuart’s BMW R NineT

6 weeks in a wheel chair and 3 months being out of action gave Stuart plenty of time to mull over his next bike project, after a tourist ran a red light trashing both Stuart and his precious Triumph Thruxton. The result of this mulling around would be a brand new BMW R nineT turning up to Gasoline Motor Co. and the birth of ‘2shot’.



Stuart had been scraping Harleys around the hairpin corners and mountain passes of Switzerland for years before making the move to Sydney. It would be here in his new sunburnt home that he could really focus and enjoy his riding. “ I kicked off with a Triumph Thruxton Ace which I had kitted out with the guys at Gasoline, she looked killer. That was until a tourist thought a red light meant ‘Go!’ and ran straight through me in the CBD. So it was back to the drawing board! I had a lot of time to think over this build, firstly I had to buy another motorcycle whilst I couldn’t walk – the irony was too much and it had to be done! So a spanking new BMW R nineT was bought and delivered unannounced to Gasoline to kick off the excitement. They already knew this build wasn’t going to be a normal one. The R nineT was my second shot at the perfect motorcycle – hence 2shot.”



The initial inspiration for this build would come from a recovery perspective, with Stuart having a goal whilst his body was on the mend. It was also a great excuse to spend time with Jason and Sean at Gasoline, with countless hours drinking beer and bouncing ideas off each other for the build. “It’s been these sessions where key decisions have been made and also knocked back. I also bizarrely wanted a difficult and lengthy build process. I figured a tricky path is often avoided, but would yield a more unique one off result.”



The bike would receive an extra dose of tech with a keyless system added, new gauges and LEDs. The bike would then be reverse engineered at Gasoline, with the body being stripped down and beaten back a few decades to be rebuilt with more retro styling and methods from Motorretro to be added to compliment the more modern changes applied by Gasoline.


It would take many minds and hands to get this bike to fulfil its destiny, and so the experts at Motorretro were called upon to add some hand-made finesse to the bike. After chatting to Jason from Gasoline on the phone, Georgio & Vaughan from Motorretro headed over to meet Stuart and the rest of the Gasoline crew. “The guys had some good, clear design direction and inspirations from previous bikes. The bike already had a beautifully crafted exhaust system added, along with many other high-end Motogadget and RSD R nineT parts. The headlight shape and design Stuart had chosen really gave me an excellent design platform. I could begin the design work to accentuate a low, long, sleek but slightly modern design – this bike was an excellent basis for us to start with.” – Vaughan


From here, Vaughan and Georgio got to work drawing two slightly different design sketches based off the previous meetings and Stuart’s portfolio of inspirations. After agreeing on one of these designs, a start and completion date would also be locked in. This bike would also prove to be the first professionally built bike the new Motorretro shop would complete – having previously built a R nineT with Deus after hours whilst Georgio and Vaughan were working as TAFE teachers.


Form and function can be two separate disciplines for some custom builds, but for Motorretro; form dictates function. The bike must be able to do its job first, and then the aesthetics can be pushed. The team strived to make this a bike that is masculine with an aggressive stance whilst accentuating its elegant lines and features that were already present. “We set the position of the headlight by making the mounting brackets, and then made the wire forming buck with a screen that could be taken of and off the bike. We did the same for the rear as well, and throughout the entire process Stuart and the guys from Gasoline regularly worked with us to tweak the design until it was right.”


The surface finish on this bike was a very specific requirement for Stuart, wanting a very gritty industrial finish on all the parts that Motorretro made. “In fact, we suggested we drag it behind a car for a while, so we staged a shot of the take being dragged behind Georgio’s car!” It would end up being a difficult surface finish for Motorretro to do, as they generally do jobs on cars and bikes that are to be polished or have high gloss paint finish. All the surfaces on this bike were to be roughed up by a course cut file blade in random directions, adding the gritty look that Stuart was after to the sleek steel surface.



The finishing touches would now be added back over at Gasoline, including a perforated hand made black leather seat for the custom alloy seat pan. The fuel cap was designed and milled in-house at Gasoline, and a custom smoke tinted impact resistant Perspex windshield would compliment the sleek, industrial fairing. The final product is a masterwork. It’s an amalgamation of skill, creativity and passion from many minds and many hands. A shining example of the work achievable from both Gasoline Motor Co. and Motorretro – and proof that Stuart can come up with some good ideas whilst sitting on his arse for so long. “It’s a bike that fits me like a glove. It’s so balanced; the flat twin looks huge and a bit menacing but is very easy to ride. It’s real light and flickable, like an Uzi. Just point and spray! And you’ve gotta it hear it! It’s like a hibernating bear you don’t want to get too close to!”




Hi Ho Boris! – Ano’s BMW R80

Within seconds of a certain 1993 BMW R80 being listed on Gumtree, Ano was on the phone to the owner claiming dibs on the machine. After years of dreaming and planning an Airhead build, these ideas were about to become a reality.

With the bike being situated hours from Ano’s home, it took the bribing of his youngest son with Macca’s to convince him to tag along on this otherwise lonely and boring mission to check out the prospect build. “We rapped on the door and were met by the lady of the house. “John, the owner of the bike, was resting,” she said. We chatted as she shepherded us to the bike in the shed. The only thing left. Obviously a hard fought over piece because all the tools and other items around it were long gone, dirt and dust silhouettes on wall and floor told us where and what had once been there.”

The bike had been living in the shed neglected for the past few years, the deterioration in John’s health being the culprit. An unfortunate, but completely understandable reason to let the dust gather on a motorcycle. “I looked up to see John had finally made it out of the house. He stood in the opening of the shed, very thin and shrouded in white. We spent quite awhile chatting and tinkering to getting the bike going. He’d always been a Ducati guy until the R80. “A changed man” he said. He grew in stature from grumpy to good spirits talking about bikes, parts, oil and toil. We ultimately got it fired up and almost gagged in the smoke that poured forth from the stammering engine. Once rolling we wheeled it outside and I gingerly took it around the corner to the servo to fill the fluids and air before heading out of town to see what surprises this machine held. If the truth be told, it wasn’t far after the first corner out of town that I knew for certain that I’d just bought a bike.”

That all familiar feeling of knowing when you’ve purchased a new/old bike before money is exchanged is something many can relate to. Sometimes you simply just know. Dubbed “Boris”, Ano’s R80 was from the last run of airheads. This purchase was no spur of the moment impulse buy, but rather the result of years of ideas and desires. “I’m not into the whole flat ironing board style seats. I like a bit of undulation. I’d been following Café Racer Dreams, a Spanish garage, for ages. On all their BMW builds the seat rises mid way through on the passenger end because the rear hoop becomes the brace, with a horizontal pipe welded in. Being a mono, the later airheads all were, and having seen CRD#47, where they had in fact customised a mono I felt that there was no point reinventing the rear subframe. Although check where Kyle from Rene9ade wraps the frame around the shock. It’s sublime.”

When it came to pipes, Ano was sold on a 2 into 1 system. “I wanted to get rid of as much as I could from the left side of the bike, so when you looked at that side you just have this wheel out there. Suspended. I friggin love that.”

Armed with a plethora of different photos and ideas, Ano went to Kyle at Rene9ade to be the bikesmith behind this creation. “I remember it was the week before The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride that I picked Boris up from Rene9ade. I was beside myself in excitement. It was the day I heard him for the first time with his new pipes and even got in a quick fling around the industrial estate at the end of the street before we packed him up and trailered him home. The back end metal work and seat was all done, as were the pipes, that still left me with a whole lot of other bits that needed doing.”

After spending some time in Germany, Ano returned with parts-a-plenty to help complete Boris. “We came back with an excess luggage bill and a sack of parts so large that it would have made Santa green with envy.” Fortunately for Ano, he was yet to go over budget on this build – for it didn’t have one. Brilliant!

“Boris wasn’t so much designed as he evolved through a medley of circumstance, discoveries, advice and a healthy dose of good fortune.”

Ano and his good mate Russell, now armed with plenty of fresh parts, got to stripping the bike down like worker ants until it was nothing but two wheels, an engine and a frame. “We then fueled up on durries and bullshit and built it back up again! With equal measures of intimidation and fervor we did things neither had done before. Brakes rebuilt with braided lines and bled. Splines checked and greased. Clutch dismantled and reassembled. We completely rewired Boris fitting him with new micro switches, Waterproof connectors, super bright and really small V-arc indicators, all tied together with a custom loom and hung off of a Motogadget m-Unit to control the lot. I love the m-Switch keyless RFID system, but then again I’m easily distracted.”

A unique personal touch to this reborn BMW is in it’s badges. Wanting to lose the standard BMW badge, Ano drafted up a few custom designs. With the aid of his mate Arfn from Backyard Customs in Bali, these new badges were made a reality in Yogyakarta, an excellent tribute to all the years Ano’s spent living in Indonesia.

“One thing is for sure, he most definitely is the sum of his parts and I am happy to say, Boris now lives in our shed.”





“A labourer works with his hands. A tradesman with his hands and head. A craftsmen with his hands, his head and his heart” – This is written in large letters on the wall of MotoRRetro’s workspace, and it’s a mantra that Vaughan and Georgio both follow with passion and finesse.

Vaughan and Georgio’s history goes back to ultimo TAFE, where they first met 25 years ago. Their class group was very competitive, so they had to achieve the best results that they could week by week, task by task. This competitive learning environment would prove to be a great experience for both of them, ensuring the envelope was pushed in regards to both the creative and technical process.

It was in 2014 when MotoRRetro was officially founded, with somewhat more humble beginnings as Vaughan and Georgio built the CBX1000 Neo Café Racer bike in Vaughan’s garage. “We wanted to build something very different, something that was new to the scene while also showcasing our skills. We then came up with the name MotoRRetro, which is a combination of describing what we do (cars/bikes/anything auto) and what we like which is ‘50’s and ‘60’s styling – also our surnames are Rimi and Ryan.”

Both men have their own history and interest in everything auto. Vaughan has been riding for over 25 years, having owned a long string of both Japanese and European motorcycles. Currently his riding time is split between the CBX and a Ducati Multistrada, “I can take my wife and daughter out for a ride on the Ducati, however that bike won’t stay standard forever!”

Georgio came into the motorcycle world a little later, around 8 years ago and now owns a few BMW’s. Currently he’s riding a modified 1978 R100RS. The skeleton and design for his new BMW build is taking shape, and it’s something that is going to be completely unique on the roads. A machine that will no doubt showcase the harmony between technical knowledge and the creative process.

“Being drawn to cars & bikes is something that started when I was in nappies, my family has a history in motor racing which helped encourage my interests. What we love most about the bike building scene is the complete freedom and flexibility of what we can design and build. Custom bike building at its best is truly and expressive art form that doesn’t have the constraints of classic restoration.” – Vaughan

As soon as you speak with Vaughan or Georgio, it’s immediately clear that there is a lot of passion and expertise involved in their work, which is an amalgamation and harmony of different skills, paired with creativity. This is an important part of their process when translating ideas from paper to metal. It’s not just the custom parts that they make themselves for their work, as they have also made some of the machines that make these parts – having designed and built their own wheeling machines, which are now sold through Hare and Forbes.

Now that the pair have finished their teaching commitments with TAFE NSW, they can focus their time and energy on teaching others who want to learn fabrication skills, hosting DIY nights where you can come in and learn, trying out and applying the techniques and methods used when working on customisation and restoration projects in the auto world – in fact Throttle Roll swung by for one of these nights recently and we will have more on that for you all very soon.

To check out more on MotoRRetro, head to and follow them on instagram @motorretroaustralia




Rocky – Andrew’s 1955 BMW R50

On a chance encounter browsing an estate auction for old film cameras, Andrew came across a beaten down 1950’s BMW R50. The word ‘disrepair’ does the state of this machine no justice. Life was about to be poured back into this old soul of Bavarian engineering, and with plenty of fond memories of riding back home in Odessa, Andrew was the man for the job.

Andrew was born in the Ukrainian city of Odessa, an area drowned in history that sits contently by the Black Sea. It was there that he first started to explore the world of motorcycles, but due to politics and a much different Europe at the time, his options were different to that of those living in the western world. His first bike was a secretive purchase; a Dnepr MT 650cc. Safety concerns from his parents meant that new machine would be parked late at night in the furthest corner he could find near his home.

“The ugly duckling I first bought was supposed to be pulled apart piece by piece, and then resurrected as one of a kind machine that could rival the best examples of so desired and so inaccessible Western bikes, if not in performance but at least in looks (since the looks is all that really matter, right?).

The fall of the iron curtain was akin to establishing contact with aliens. Everyone knew they were somewhere out there, but no one ever communicated with one… until there came this sudden avalanche of ‘alien culture’ in form of poorly translated and dubbed Hollywood movies on VHS tapes.

The avalanche brought a whole new perspective to the unspoiled generation growing up in the eastern block in the 90s, with one of the side effects being the exposure of ‘real’ american motorcycle culture and its choppers and bobbers as a backbone of cool.

Never seen before ­ these styles have captivated the minds of youngsters and made them instant but unreachable objects of obsession. Unreachable, because sourcing one like these was like getting something delivered from Mars ­ kind of possible in theory, but nah, not really. “

Andrew’s love for two wheeled machines would be brought over with him when he moved to Australia, and sure enough he found himself another ugly duckling to work on and make his own. This time, in the form of a 1955 BMW R50, named Rocky. “There’s a number of reasons behind the name: It’s a “boxer”, it came with the American number plates, it’s from the 50s like the actual Rocky Marciano (prototype for Rocky movie character)

And despite of being “knocked down” for a number of times, the bike managed to get back to the glory it deserves (with a bit of a help)”

First intentions for this bike after acquiring it from an estate auction was to simply get it running and on the road with minimal effort, but this slowly progressed into each part being taken off –every last bolt- and given a repair and clean.

“I guess each “next” serious challenge along the way naturally becomes the next “hardest part”, cause as soon as you get over it – it just turns into the “experience”.

Fighting my own impatience and rushing things was probably the hardest personal challenge, as almost every rushed decision even on smallest of things led to a much bigger setbacks.
I guess not having a garage and having to do all the work in the apartment (including soda blasting and some painting) made things pretty tricky overall”

Andrew’s bike is a glowing example of a proper restoration, sourcing all original parts where possible. This bike isn’t for show however, and after decades of sitting around lifeless this bike is born again as it’s ridden throughout the streets of Melbourne. “It’s an amazing piece of design and engineering that’s an absolute pleasure to ride and look at.

They just don’t make them like they used to, and knowing that I managed to rescue one and put back on the road instead of doing “rational” thing and making it a donor bike is really the best feeling.”

Andrew’s wonderful wife is an artist who creates photo realistic images, and has recreated the bike in another form, to check out more of her work find her on Instagram @mrovenko



The Hornet – Paul’s 1984 BMW K100RS

The Hornet – a machine that received it’s namesake both from it’s colour, hornet orange, and its owners history flying F-18 fighters in the RAAF. This is an aggressive machine that sits between being a street fighter and a café racer, and touches on both modern and classic.

Paul has been riding since he was a young lad, living in country New South Wales. “I could ride out of my back yard to go 100km in any direction on bush tracks. I graduated to a Honda TL125 then a Husqvarna 175.” As he grew up, so did his machines, and after 9 years in the RAAF flying Mirage and F-18 Hornet fighters, he’s now a Captain on the Airbus A330 in Qantas.

“Riding bikes and flying are very similar; it is the human machine interface. The satisfaction of nailing a greaser landing in shocking weather and huge crosswinds is equivalent to scraping the pegs as you hit the apex on your favourite back road.”

As with many café racer and street fighter builds, the intention for The Hornet was for modifications that would either reduce weight, or increase performance. Nothing superfluous. This 1984 BMW K100RS definitely received both; with over 34kg being lost from its original stock weight, and plenty of more modern features and parts being added. “I started the build with only a rough idea in my head of the look I was after. I wanted to have a blend between a street fighter and a cafe racer.”

This is the second incarnation of Paul’s K100RS however, after the first build suffered a spill while on a ride in Tasmania. “I had been to Tasmania twice before with a mate who lives in Brisbane. I offered that for this trip we take my two bikes to save him getting his bike to Melbourne. All was going well for the first two days, with swapping between bikes. On the third day, I was leading on my BMW K1200R, but I pulled over when Kev was no longer in my mirrors. I turned back to find him getting helped by two old ladies to pick up The Hornet. He is still unsure exactly what happened, but after many beers that night reliving the event, he thinks he just lost the front end trail braking into a corner. The low-side destroyed the left handlebar and switch gear, the tank, engine casing and left foot peg and gear shift.”

This would not be the end of this bike however, and she was repaired along with gaining a few nice additions, including a Yamaha R1 front end. “The main reason for the R1 front end was to be able to put some modern rubber on the bike. It required machining to allow the BMW post to mate to the R1 clamps. I also needed a later model throttle housing to get a larger master cylinder to be able to drive the twin caliper brakes, which then needed a new throttle cable which then needed mods to fit.”


Culture Events


Housed in the iconic, heritage-listed Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne, Motorclassica was on for it’s 6th time showcasing some of Australia’s finest rare and exotic cars and motorcycles. With over one hundred years of motor vehicle history being represented, this is the Mecca for motoring enthusiasts.

Every nook, cranny and spare bit of flooring had it’s own machine in this beautiful 19th century building that was the perfect place to host such a celebration of motors. The event opened doors this year from 23-25 of October. Young and old were in attendance, with some enthusiasts matching many of the older vehicles in age, while there was also plenty of fresh young faces experiencing a glimpse into the past of motoring history.

The ground level was laid out with a huge assortment of cars covering every decade from the past century. Lamborghini, Mustang, Bugatti, Holden, and just about every other major auto brand had it’s own representation on the timber floors. The juxtaposition of car styles, and of modern and classic blended together in perfect harmony.

The second level of the exhibition centre was filled with a huge selection for motorcycles (unsurprisingly, staff weren’t keen on lugging cars up the stairs) as well as some other odds and ends form antique auto retailers, and even an array of vintage espresso machines. Motorbike brands such as BMW, MV Augusta, Royal Enfield and others had displays, showing off vehicles from their past and present. Other vintage clubs also had a large variety of bikes present. Some were true restorations, an immaculate image of the past – whilst others were left to be changed by time and celebrated their own unique patina.



The Guv’nor – Mark’s BMW Scrambler

Taking it’s namesake after the British bare knuckle fighter Lenny McLean, The Guv’nor is a machine that can be bashed about, beaten and smashed and still ride along happy as Larry – “It is a big Boofhead of a bike after all.”

Mark’s love for Desert Sleds kicked up at an early age, thrashing through dirt on XL Honda’s and Postie bikes. “I started riding because my mum and dad told me I couldn’t! I got my first road bike at 16 – much to the disappointment of my parents. It was a Honda MVX250, triple smoker. That was 32 years back… yes I’m an old bastard.

I’ve been riding non-stop since. Road, off road, touring and commuting. I built my first Café Racer back in about 1986. It was a Honda 750 K6 base. At last count, I’ve owned about 53 bikes over the years.”

The Guv’nor is a 1995 BMW R1100GS that’s been Scrambled like an egg. It’s a big, unique looking desert sled of a machine with a front end that will make you look twice. It could slip quite comfortably into a post-apocalyptic film, and in fact should the world come to an end this is the kind of bike you’d hope you had handy.

“This the second GS Scrambler build for me. It’s all about stripping off the ugly excess weight, adding dirt tyres and making the thing indestructible. You can ride it all day through rubbish roads and dirt tracks, dust, dirt, rain and mud. It can fall over, be picked and keep going.

There’s no fancy finishes or bits to worry over breaking off. This machine is built for durability and reliability. The essence of a desert sled, it’s “ride what you brung” on all roads. Big dumb dirt bikes are a lot of fun and I’ve always loved big GS’s so I’ve owned quite a few. This time I wanted a cool looking one to do dumb stuff on.”

All the fabricated parts were first mocked up with cardboard before the finals were completed. Mark tried to have the bike with a pillion seat in place, however this messed with the stubby back end look he had envisioned. “So bugger it! It’s a selfish single seater, just for me.”

The crowning feature, and most notable part of this sled is the front end set up. The rusted aluminum trellis forms a weathered, rough, modern look. It allows for Mark to also keep full suspension travel up the front end. “There’s no compromise for that awesome aftermarket Ohlins suspension. For such a big bike, the suspension keeps it all tidy and well behaved on the loose stuff.

Like all BMW GS’s you’ll find, this bike does most things well. “What it does really well is rubbish tar, back country roads, dirt and off road. It will take you to some sweet spots on the roads less travelled, that most road bikes won’t go near. It can be set up for long trips at speed, and this bike is definitely going to see plenty of KM’s.

As am added bonus, it is also awesome at throwing shit and rocks back at your mates! It’s great for doing dumb shit in the dirt”



Lucille – Rod’s BMW R80

Looks can be deceiving, and that certainly is the case with this machine. Sure, it looks great from afar, but once you take a closer look and learn a bit about it… you’ll love it even more.

As soon as Rod was old enough, he was off to grab his motorcycle licence. An all too familiar tune sang from his mother however, as she declared a bike was “never allowed under my roof!”. So being the good son that he was, Rod secretly purchased an old 250cc and kept it hidden at a mates place.

Years later, the wheels that Rod’s riding have enhanced significantly since that secret 250cc. Rod’s inspiration for his 1978 BMW R80/7 came after reading his grandfather’s war diary. Flying a Lancaster bomber over Germany during WWII, his grandfather’s aircraft was named ‘Lucille’ and flew 24 missions. “The diary was so graphic as to what these young guys went through, on both sides I’m sure. I wanted it to represent each side of the war; the German BMW with the vintage English styling, just to pay my respects.”

“My grandfather’s war diary was just so overpowering to read, all of what they went through. As soon as I found out his bomber was called ‘Lucille’ I just had to pay tribute, and to think of doing 24 missions and to not be shot down in such horrific enemy fire was a miracle. The diary even had what looked to be dried bloodstains on a page, which just boggles the mind. My Grandfather was shot through the leg at one point after a round went through the fuselage of the plane when under enemy fire. It was just surreal to read.”

The homages on this bike don’t end at Rod’s grandfather however, as he includes inspiration from the lady in his life to the detailing. “My girlfriend is Japanese and I wanted to include her, so Neo Dutch did the Japanese tattoo artwork on the gas cap, top triple and BMW badges. The brass ring on the tank strap was hand beaten by an old Japanese swordsmith we met on a trip to Japan in old Kyoto. He saw photos of the bike and loved it so much he donated the ring; and he even signed it for me.”

Now you’re getting more of an understanding as to why looking and learning about this bike, only makes you love it even more.  The fusion of different styles and inspirations on this bike do not clutter or clash at all, but sit in perfect harmony to create an aesthetically beautiful and unique build. A young girl named Renee Matthews from Luddenham in Sydney did the seat and leatherwork. Saddlery is a dying art, but Renee carries this tradition on with amazing style and talent. Another key feature of this bike is the unique copper plating which was done by Astor Metal Finishes, and is an immediate talking point.

The connection to this bike isn’t just emotional and historical; it’s also very physical. “I have always just loved the freedom of two wheels. You feel more connected to the machine you are with; and ‘Lucille’ is definitely not an easy bike to ride. She has personality and you need to get to know her and her quirks. I love that feeling of connection. You just don’t get that with an off the shelf mass-produced clone. Sure, they go faster and brake harder, but there’s no soul to connect with in my book.”

“The trickiest part for me about this bike was definitely shimming the gearbox. I did it myself and had to redo it more times than I care to mention, but we eventually worked out our differences and she ended up co-operating after much discussion!”

The hard work and multitude of people that both contributed in making this bike was it is and inspired it’s nature it something that truly makes it a special build. A special thanks to Jason at Gasoline Motor Co who played a big part in getting this bike running and on the road. “I love just looking at her and seeing all the different aspects of my life come together in such a beautiful single form”

A very special thanks to Matt at The Grifter Brewing Co for letting us use their space, and for making such tasty beer!



Misty Mountain Hop – Tom’s BMW Tracker

It was early, cold, and misty. Screaming through the thick grey mess like a banshee came a 1980 BMW R65. This Tracker has it’s character not just in it’s build, but in what went in to building it between a Father and Son.

Three years ago Tom picked up his bike licence after being pushed into it by a mate, and soon after was hooked. Riding a bike soon became much more than just going from point A to point B.

After his previous bike had served its master well, it was time for Tom to upgrade from the 250cc to something bigger, and better. As he began looking around at his options, he also began speaking to his Dad again after 6 years of radio silence.


Through catching up and the discussion of this potential upgrade, Tom’s Dad saw this as an opportunity to get his Son on board with the BMW clique. Tom’s Dad is a big fan of German engineering; having spent most of his life working on German cars he also owns two BMW bikes. Now it was time for this to become tradition, and Tom was to get his own piece of German engineering.

Admittedly, Tom’s Dad doesn’t get all the credit for this baptism into the Church of BMW. “A long time ago I was shown a short film by Blitz Motorcycles, called “Long Live the Kings” The story was these three friends riding their way through the mountains of France on Air Heads, but not just any airheads, Blitz Motorcycle Airheads. Big bars, mismatched tanks, single mirror, balloon tires, short pipes, I had never seen airheads like it before. After chatting to my old man about doing an airhead project, I re-watched that film and decided there and then, that I was gonna build me a BMW tracker.”

There are plenty of great pieces of work and details on this bike, but what stands out is the beautiful tank.

“I hated the original R65 tank. During the late 70’s, BMW Motorrad began to change the shape of their bikes a lot, squaring up everything with curves. The tank had to go, it was rusting and it just not what I wanted.

So the long and painful search for a tank began. I was on eBay, gum tree, craigslist you name it, at least three times a day looking for a tank, more specifically, a silver Toaster Tank, the holy grail of BMW tanks (In my opinion).

Finding one proved difficult; finding one that wasn’t fucked was even harder; finding one that wasn’t fucked and under 2k? Impossible. But, upon my search I stumbled on an original 1973 R60 tank, located somewhere in Massachusetts, US of A. There were only 2 photos of it online and the asking price was $300, I took the gamble and the rest is History. It has no rust or leaks and like a good old leather jacket it possessed a lot of character. If you take a close look at the pin stripes on the tank you can see the movement of the brush from when it was hand painted in the factory. There’s history on that tank, it’s a special piece”

The bike started out with truly humble beginnings, and was a bit of a lemon when Tom first picked it up. The engine required a top to bottom rebuild, amongst other things. These hurdles and extras tasks weren’t so tough however, as it simply provided more time for Tom and his Dad to work together and for skills and knowledge to be passed down. “I’m glad we had to do all that extra work, building this bike with my Dad will be something I cherish for the rest of my life. It may not be perfect or be everyone’s cup of tea. But that’s ok, because in the end it was never about building a BikeExif caliber bike, it was about reconnecting with my Dad and having fun.”

All builds have their gremlins, be it wrestling a dodgy engine, mucking around with fiddly wiring or sourcing the best fabrication for your vision. For this bike however? “The hardest part about building this bike was finishing it and realising that my Dad and I didn’t have a project to work on anymore. Thankfully, these sorts of bikes are never finished”

Tom is a photographer for Deus Ex Machina, and has a great portfolio of work – Click here to go to his site



The Burning Boxer – Tony’s BMW Café Racer

The beauty of motorcycles is that they can screech into your life at any moment, and 8 years ago that moment happened to Tony. In true Aussie tradition, his first bike was a CT110 Postie a mate of his picked up cheap at an auction. A license and 10 bikes later and the addiction has firmly taken hold. Starting and completing a motor mechanic trade straight out of school, Tony has been working on anything and everything as long as he can remember.


His current creation is a 1986 BMW r65 Café Racer, “I got the idea to do a BMW airhead when I visited the BMW Welt museum in Munich, after that i was hooked on boxers.” It’s a ground up rebuild/custom, having it all pulled down to the frame. All the unnecessary tabs, brackets and mounts were ground, filed or smoothed over in true Café Racer tradition. The result is something that is neat, sleek and nimble.

Having such a history working with motors and vehicles has afforded Tony the knowledge and skill to rebuild and replace everything on this bike. Once the frame was sorted, not a part on the bike was left unchanged, replaced or rebuilt. The bike had over 80 hours of fabrication work done to it at RB Racing, where Tony himself is currently working.

Some of the work that went on there included:

  • Custom rear set brackets
  • Custom sub frame
  • Relocated ignition switch
  • Hidden horn, number plate mount
  • Frame bracing
  • Rear brake linkage
  • Relocated battery mounts
  • Lower fairing bracket
  • Steering dampener mount
  • Mounts to raise the tank 1″ at the rear
  • And of course the custom full exhaust system.

Once the fabrication was done, Tony worked towards pulling the bike down once more (statues of Saddam Hussein haven’t been pulled down as many times as this bike) and got to work getting everything painted and reassembled. There were a lot of long nights in the shed with the help from mates.

“The boxer was always going to be ridden hard no matter what, I wanted to set up an aggressive riding position from seat to bars, and seat to pegs. Since I’ve always had an interest in race bikes from the past and present, I wanted to create a bike that was a throwback to a classic racer style with the upgrades and modern take on style and function. This can be seen in the custom exhaust system which exits out of the rear body work, by far my favourite park of the bike”

The bike is running with front Racetech suspension and Wilbers Type 631 Competition rear shock with remote reservoir so not only will the bike mimic sensibilities of an old school race bike, but will also perform well when the bike is being blasted through local backroads. “I also wanted to run the best possible tires on this bike, trying Pirelli Sport Demons first and then moving over to the Dunlop K81 TT100 which I liked better”

While Tony hasn’t got a new custom project on the board at the moment, he spends the rest of his time racing and maintaining his Honda RVF400 race bike. “Its always an ongoing project where I am looking to squeeze the most out of the bike and myself every lap, or I will break myself in trying”


The Heinrich Maneuver – Deus Customs BMW R nineT

Throttle Roll were invited to attend the launch of the Deus Customs R nineT which was created for BMW Mottorad Australia. Dubbed ‘The Heinrich Maneuver’ this bike screams Classic Aggression with modern techology. It seems all the big players are releasing bikes that are appealing to the growing custom community, BMW Mottorad being one of them has created something that is both quality and fresh onto the scene. And of course, custom pathfinders Deus Ex Machina flexed it’s muscles and tore the bike down, rebuilding it in their own image.

Working on a bike so soon after it’s debut leaves a lot of room for new ideas and deviation, which has been doing the rounds all over the internet and scene throughout the past 12 months.  Head wrench and workshop chief for Deus, Jeremy Tagand, combined his years of experience in crafting unique rides with the sterling fabrication work of MotorRetro Australia. There’s a lot of mixes in styles with builds these days, but Jeremy said “I would definitely put the bike under Café Racer” staying true to Deus’ roots. Jeremy worked close with the team at MotorRetro Australia in making sure the concept translated into practical parts, which shows clearly on the bike.

My favourite part is the tail section, it’s very clean and all one piece`

The bike features a contoured yet aggressive look, with a large capacity tank that has curves in the right places.  The distinction of the fresh, white paint against the raw steel gives the bike its refined yet undiscriminating feel. The classic style of the rear has a smart brown suede seat which is brought into the 21st century with a tidy LED tail light. Time-honoured vs. contemporary innovation and technology seemed to be the flavour of this machine.  “My favourite part is the tail section, it’s very clean and all one piece” Jeremy told us. It’s the details in this bike that show the skill and creativity of the people involved.


The custom bike had it’s own ceremonious reveal, at the womb of creation that is Deus HQ, Camperdown. Beer was plentiful and encouraged, as people were teased with progress photos on the walls of the garage taken by Deus’ own shutterthug Thomas Walk. The lights went out and a projector screened a short film by the combined creativity of Mikki Young from My Media Sydney and Thomas Walk.  Across the late night abandoned streets of Sydney, the bike is shown, it’s metal and the roar of its engine echoed through tunnels, the perfect atmosphere for this build. That same roar was heard in the flesh as Jeremy rode the bike into the garage, to be surrounded by the eager grins and applause of the crowd.