Showing posts with label classic motorcycle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label classic motorcycle. Show all posts

Sunday, November 30, 2014

OC Garage

OCG Mortaio 1
Lewis Hamilton has just ensured his place in the history books by winning a second Formula 1 world title in a modern era where the excessive cockpit adjustments have garnered opinion from some that currently drivers have too much to concentrate on. I beg to differ. The steering wheel goes left to right and the pedals are in the same layout as in a Hertz rental car.
Imagine being a motorcyclist and getting called up to fight in a World War, pretty bad news. Then you find out you’ll be a motorcycle dispatch rider, slight improvement. But you turn up and find throttle is on the left, the clutch lever is now the front brake and the actual clutch by your left foot and there’s a suicide shift for the gears. Oh, and a foreign man is shooting you, so you must shoot him back, reload and shoot his mate whilst riding fast across a deeply rutted field in the pouring rain. And it’s winter, your fingers don’t feel your own and they’ll be no champagne spraying when you deliver your important documents.
So, now we’ve set a gallant, macho and heroic tone hopefully some of it will blend into the picture at the bottom of this page. The man sporting bare feet and half a suit is Oscar Tasso, he is Italian, from Milano, and therefore fully accredited to suggest such sartorial juxtaposition. If it wasn’t for the fact that we know Oscar and OC Garage we’d possibly have a dig.
OCG Mortaio 7
OC’s last build, Dark Lady, was the result of a truly life changing moment, one reason why Oscar is so very passionate about what he creates for a living. This BMW was to be the antithesis to the Dark Lady, a bike to exude testosterone. “Mortaio” started out life as an R80RT and is just about recognisable as one.
OCG Mortaio 6
Obviously to achieve this degree of paint finish a complete strip down was required. Everything was cleaned and blasted before the various tones and textures could be added. The wrinkle finish on the engine and transmission is particularly resilient and hard wearing. The subframe and luggage racks are Oscar’s handiwork, the pillion pad a detail reminiscent of bikes from decades earlier. This and the main seat are of course handmade and covered with fine leather.
OCG Mortaio 5
The engine and gearbox were also stripped and refreshed with new bearings and seals. Bing carbs enjoyed an ultrasonic bath and new jets to cope with the free-breathing cone filters. The usual truck sized battery has been recycled, probably now being used by some soap dodgers living off-grid in the Dolomites, a minuscule Lithium-Ion version is now hidden away in one of the ammo cases.
OCG Mortaio 2
The fuel tank is from a Honda and modified to fit, with textured paint to match the engine. The forks have been firmed up with a thin but strong steel tubed brace. Trials tyres are a welcome break from the aggressive knobblies we often see in the Shed, offering a off-road potential and vintage looks.
OCG Mortaio 3
The R50 style headlight is mounted in a bracket fabricated in the same way as the fork brace, with an Acewell all-in-one speedo making up the cockpit. The ignition key and switch have been located rearward, below the saddle. Wide, flat bars compliment the retro aesthetic whilst helping Oscar lever his way through Milano’s mean streets.
OCG Mortaio 4
The stainless exhausts headers are tailored to fit and held in by a rather tasty machined aluminium rose nut. Which not only looks great but saves that knuckle-skinning, thread stripping episode if the heads need to ever come off.
OCG Mortaio 8
Oscar has executed his own brief with crisp detail and built something a little different form the norm, hear hear for that.  Other examples of his “Moving Art” can be found on his website as well as videos of previous builds. With a few more commissions he might even be able to afford a pair of trousers and some nice shoes.

First published at

Condor: the other boxer motorcycle

The rare Swiss-made Condor motorcycle, influenced by BMW and designed for the military.

Unless you’re a military enthusiast or a Swiss army conscript, you probably haven’t heard of Condor-Werke AG.
It’s one of Europe’s sleeper marques, and started building motorcycles for the Swiss military in 1893. (Yes, that’s a year before Hildebrand & Wolfmüller launched the first true production motorcycle.)
The rare Swiss-made Condor motorcycle, influenced by BMW and designed for the military.

The machine captured here by photographer Marc Schneider is a Condor A580 that rolled off the production line in 1953 in Courfaivre, a small town in the watchmaking canton of Jura. It’s owned by a collector who wishes to remain anonymous, but is happy to share images and a little history.
The similarities between the Condor and contemporary BMWs are obvious. The Condor is not a direct copy, but it’s a bulletproof, well-engineered air-cooled boxer with shaft drive.
The rare Swiss-made Condor motorcycle, influenced by BMW and designed for the military.

The Schweizer Armee coveted the BMWs used by German troops during World War II, so Condor got the job of designing a Swiss equivalent. Blueprinted in 1944, the A580 has telescopic forks, plunger-style rear suspension, hydraulic self-adjusting valve lifters and aluminum cylinder heads. It’s clearly inspired by German flathead boxer models—such as the BMW R71, R6 or R12, and the Zündapp KS600.
The bike we’re looking at here spent a decade in service before being auctioned off. When the 1970s arrived it was locked away, and forgotten till the 21st century.
The rare Swiss-made Condor motorcycle, influenced by BMW and designed for the military.

It’s now been treated to a classy restoration job, but retains some of the battle scars it earned during military service—including a few broken cooling fins on the cylinder heads. The tires are a period-correct Metzeler Block C pattern—hard to come by nowadays, but a neat finishing touch for the restoration.
The subdued military paint is gone, replaced by a red color that Condor used for its civilian models, which sold for twice the price of contemporary BMWs. But the unusual gear ratio reduction lever (below) remains, mounted on the right side of the transmission.
This lever gives the Condor eight gears—four for the street and four for hard terrain, which reduces top speed from around 110 to 50 kph (31 mph).
The rare Swiss-made Condor motorcycle, influenced by BMW and designed for the military.

The Condor may not be the most exotic of classic motorcycles, but it’s virtually indestructible. And who doesn’t like the idea of an older bike that won’t break down every five minutes, and is simple to maintain?
Maybe it’s time to start trawling the classifieds in Zürich and Geneva.
With thanks to Marc Schneider.
The rare Swiss-made Condor motorcycle, influenced by BMW and designed for the military.
The post Condor: the other boxer motorcycle appeared first on Bike EXIF

Sunday, October 5, 2014

A BMW R69S with a bit on the side

South African BMW experts Cytech have paired a BMW R69S with a 50s-model Steib sidecar.

Few things in the world of motorcycling are as cool as sidecars. And the allure is magnified when the rig in question is both vintage and ultra-rare.
This very classy setup was put together by South African BMW experts Cytech, and pairs a 1964 BMW R69S with a 50s-model Steib sidecar. “The client had been in touch with us for two years looking for this particular combination,” says Cytech owner Donovan Muller. “Eventually we made the match.”
South African BMW experts Cytech have paired a BMW R69S with a 50s-model Steib sidecar.

And what a match it is. Steib was the sidecar of choice for BMW Motorrad in the 50s; replicas are still available, but finding an original is a tad more difficult. This one was bought from a deceased estate, as part of a bigger lot—but it was completely dismantled, and riddled with rust and amateur repair work.
Cytech’s restoration on the sidecar would rival many complete motorcycle rebuilds. The main shell was stripped, sandblasted and repaired, and the wheel fender was rebuilt with sheet metal before being painted and rubberised inside.
South African BMW experts Cytech have paired a BMW R69S with a 50s-model Steib sidecar.

The sidecar’s wheel received new spokes and nipples, the hub was powdercoated, and every nut and bolt was cadmium plated. Cytech has also fitted a new aluminum bead to the fender and body, and refurbished the original tail light and Steib badge. The seat was recovered in black leather with gold pin studs.
The BMW itself was also in need of a serious restoration, and was even missing a few parts—such as the seat and exhausts. So Donovan and his team tore into it with vigour, completely overhauling the engine, gearbox and original 26mm Bing carbs.
South African BMW experts Cytech have paired a BMW R69S with a 50s-model Steib sidecar.

The electrical system received a serious refresh, with a new wiring harness and ignition system, and the suspension was rebuilt. Every little detail was attended to—such as fitting tapered steering head bearings and replacing the air filter housing.
A rare long range Hoske tank was fitted, with a Karcoma fuel tap and a set of US-spec R50 handlebars to accommodate its width. Other top-shelf parts include a Denfeld bench seat and Bumm bar-end mirrors.
Then a full stainless steel exhaust system was installed, and a set of wide-lipped aluminum rims built up with stainless spokes and nipples. Metzeler rubber was fitted to the bike and sidecar’s wheels.
South African BMW experts Cytech have paired a BMW R69S with a 50s-model Steib sidecar.

By default, the sidecar mounts were all placed on the right from the factory. “But for the road rules in South Africa, the sidecar must be mounted on the left,” explains Donovan. Cytech moved the mountings to to the opposite side of the bike, and finished everything in a timeless BMW livery: black with white pinstriping.
Both the R69S and the Steib are immaculate in their own right. But combined, they’re unbeatable.
It’s the perfect rig for ambling around on a Sunday afternoon, in style.
South African BMW experts Cytech have paired a BMW R69S with a 50s-model Steib sidecar.

Cytech | Images by Ryan Roux.
The post A BMW R69S with a bit on the side appeared first on Bike EXIF.

Friday, March 14, 2014

The new 2014 BMW R90S

The 'new' BMW R90S
There’s no denying that BMW’s classic R-series models are enjoying the limelight at the moment. While they’re a popular choice as donors for custom projects, many are also left in original condition or restored to period-correct perfection.

Thankfully for Airhead owners, BMW Group Classic has a comprehensive catalogue of spares—as is evident with this R90S. While it appears to be an immaculately restored 1974 model, it is, in fact, a brand new motorcycle—built from the ground up using genuine BMW parts.
BMW R90S parts
The project was conceived two years ago by BMW Motorrad USA dealer MAX BMW. With dealerships in Connecticut, New Hampshire and New York, MAX BMW is officially recognised as a classic BMW specialist. “The BMW classic scene is big and continues to grow,” says owner Max Stratton. “I think many motorcyclists are at a point in their life that they want to go back to the first bikes they had or wish they had. The bikes are available and so are the parts, making it very easy for anyone to get into the vintage BMW scene.”

Max and his staff decided to conduct an experiment—pick a classic BMW model, and see how many parts were still available for it. They settled on the historic R90S, a bike that was considered high-performance when it launched in 1973 and went on to win the inaugural A.M.A. Production Championship in 1976, piloted by British racer Reg Pridmore. “For fun, I decided to see how many parts were still available for the R90S”, says Max. “Because the pages piled up and most of the numbers were good, I said, ‘I think we could build a bike!’”
The 'new' BMW R90s
The R90S’ engine had to be built up from a short block (which already has the crank cam and chain installed) but there were none in stock. Fortunately BMW Motorrad has retained most of its original tooling—so many parts that might not be in stock can be reproduced if necessary. The short block arrived after six months, and MAX BMW began ordering the remaining parts and planning the build.

Technicians from all three MAX BMW locations were finally brought together in December of last year to complete the build. Using original and updated manuals, they took three days to transform the R90S from boxed parts to a working motorcycle, after which they spent an additional day painstakingly inspecting it before taking it for a test run.
An impressive timeline, considering the work involved—not only did the engine need to be assembled, but many other parts, such as the wheels, had to be built up from individual components. Particular attention was paid to authenticity—right down to ensuring that original fasteners were used in their correct mounting points.
The 'new' BMW R90S
All the body parts, including the 24-litre fuel tank, came from the factory in the original two-tone paint scheme. A few parts, however, couldn’t be found—such as the spring clip for the airbox, rear brake lever rod and right front fork slider. R100RS parts were sourced as replacements.

The team also had to improvise when it came to wiring, combining the wiring harnesses from a 1976 R90S and a later R-series model to accommodate BMW’s newer electronic tachometer (the original mechanical tachometer had been discontinued).
The final parts count came to roughly 1665, at a total cost of approximately $46,000. The build itself was documented daily, with photos and video posted to Facebook and a blog dedicated to the project. According to Max, the response was overwhelming. Prospective buyers have already come forward, but for now the R90S is going to be on display at each of the MAX BMW dealerships, with staff riding it.
And how does it ride? Max was the first to test ride it and says, “the bike feels solid, has great usable power and the gearbox shifts are smooth.”
The 'new' BMW R90S
The post The new 2014 BMW R90S appeared first on Bike EXIF.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Steve McQueen Limited-Edition Triumph – Richard Pollock

When I get an email from Richard Pollock of Mule Motorcycles, I always get a bit excited – it’s like getting the ultimate care package. Once again, Richard did not disappoint: a makeover for a Steve McQueen Limited-Edition Triumph. The other bonus about receiving a build story from Richard: being a natural storyteller, he knows how to spin a yarn. So, I give you the story of this build as told by Richard himself.

  Steve McQueen Limited-Edition Triumph
“Steve McQueen liked bikes and cars, not because it enhanced his celebrity, but because he was a gearhead first. He bankrolled ‘On Any Sunday’ not for himself, but rather to promote the fun and camaraderie of motorcycle racing and riding, and also to showcase the guys that were his true heroes.” – richard pollock

Limited-Edition Triumph By Richard Pollock

Generally speaking, I love the new Triumph twins. To me, they’re an incredible starting point to build from. They’re super reliable and the chassis’ respond well to all sorts of upgrades. A builder’s dream. I guess that’s why you see so many currently being built. All that said, Triumph seems to have some odd ideas for “Special” models, merely changing colors of the paint, the seat cover and fitting strange handlebars or exhaust. If it were me, I’d funnel much more of the factory design energy into getting the basic platform to be closer to the wasp-like proportions of the original Bonnevilles or Scramblers and give them some umph!
Steve McQueen Limited-Edition Triumph
This project began with a call from San Francisco. The intent being to build a trick, unique, Bonnie based, everyday street bike to replace a Steve McQueen limited edition unit recently stolen. The email and phone discussions based on how extensive the build was to be and whether the donor bike would be provided by the customer or the builder. The customer is a designer himself and for sure wanted something very unique! The emails ended for a week or so. Then, the news that the stolen bike had been recovered!! This bike would become the basis for the build.
Steve McQueen Limited-Edition Triumph
As is my preference, I was given free rein to design the build and make improvements that would yield the most improvement for dollars spent. There was a bit of theft damage, but nothing that couldn’t be dealt with. There were just a couple of guidelines. Keep the paint in the original SM green, 2 into 1 exhaust, larger (actually functional!), luggage rack and most important…retain the heated grips! It gets cold riding in S.F.!
“Generally speaking, I love the new Triumph twins. To me, they’re an incredible starting point to build from. They’re super reliable and the chassis’ respond well to all sorts of upgrades. A builder’s dream.”
Steve McQueen Limited-Edition Triumph
Having built 25 of the triumphs now, I’ve developed a group of components that give lots of bang for the buck. Steve McQueen #319, as this bike came to be known. There was a run of only a 1000 built, got Mule triple clamps, Racetech re-worked Yamaha R-6 forks, Brembo front rotor and caliper, Mule lightweight hubs (the rear hub being 14lbs lighter than stock!), Mule 2-1 stainless exhaust, Racetec/Mule shocks, Mule oil cooler kit, stainless bars, 18” Sun Rims with stainless spokes and Bridgestone tires and lastly, motor work taking the stock motor to a whole new level of performance. Headwork, cams, 904cc kit and a Power Commander for tweaking the fuel injection.
Steve McQueen Limited-Edition Triumph
A custom front fender mount attaches the severely trimmed stock fender to the R-6 forks and the rear fender that nearly wrapped all the way around the wheel was trimmed leaving just a hint of the original under the seat. A custom luggage rack required its own weld fixture to fabricate and uses nothing from the original rack except the mounting location and color.
Steve McQueen Limited-Edition Triumph
I hated to see this bike go. The ride is like a bike bearing the Steve McQueen namesake should be. Exciting, fun with a performance look. Much more than merely a paint job and stickers.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

CB1100 gets mid-life tweaks HONDA

The Honda CB1100 – now designated the CB1100EX – may only have been introduced into Europe for 2013 but it was first unveiled in Japan in 2009, and has now been given a mid-life refresh with spoked wheels, a larger fuel tank and a bit of a restyle and – most importantly – a six-speed gearbox.
Unless you are an existing owner or just a massive anorak you’re going to have to stare at the new bike for quite some time before you notice the differences – apart from the obvious spoked wheels and the new twin exhausts. Eventually you might notice the front headlight is now mounted higher and the side panels are slightly changed; as are the pillion grabrail and the instrument panel, which now carries more information.
This model replaces the CB1100 in the UK market but will run alongside the similarly updated standard bike in other countries.
The new six-speed gearbox keeps the same ratios as the five, but with an addition of sixth gear as an overdrive, along with a larger 17.5 litre fuel tank (increased by 2.9 litres over the old bike).

Three colours will be available; red/silver/ white/silver and black.

First published on

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Cafe Racer Dreams BMW R90/6- BikeExif

BMW R90/6 cafe racer
Some custom motorcycles are so outlandish that they grab your attention immediately, while some are so understated and classy that, once you notice them, you can’t look away. Case in point: Cafe Racer Dreams‘ #38.
This stunning ’74 BMW R90/6 belongs to José Martín Espinosa, a prominent figure in the Spanish fashion industry. He commissioned the build after a series of email conversations with CRD and a couple of visits to their Madrid headquarters, fully entrusting the creative direction to them.
BMW R90/6 cafe racer 
The Beemer’s stance has been altered by shortening the forks and swapping out the rear suspension for shorter-than-stock Hagon units. A shorter, hand crafted subframe supports the custom made seat. The battery has been relocated to underneath the swingarm, leaving the area behind the airbox free of clutter save for the ignition, which has been moved to under the seat.

BMW R90/6 cafe racer
Both fenders are stock BMW items—the original front fender has been adapted to fit the rear, and a R100 fender fitted to the front. Along with the tank, they’ve been sprayed a luxurious black with subtle white pinstriping—true to the original paint scheme. Bespoke fender braces add to the bike’s overall classic appeal, as do the crash bars and Firestone Deluxe Champion tyres.

BMW R90/6 cafe racer
CRD turned to their own catalogue for finishing kit—the turn signals, tail light, Renthal Ultra-Low bars and mufflers can all be bought from their online store. The headlight is also a CRD unit, but it’s been modified to house a Motogadget speedometer and various controls. On the handlebar, Motogadget’s stealthy m-Switch units replace the standard BMW switches.
BMW R90/6 cafe racer

I once asked CRD’s Pedro García what his personal design philosophy was. His reply was: “Less is more, and pay full attention to the final finish.” In my opinion, CRD #38 is the epitome of this philosophy. An elegant vintage custom, with a host of finer details that only become apparent as you dig deeper.

Check the previous CRD builds in the Bike EXIF Archives, and keep up with CRD’s news on their Facebook page
Images by Rafa Gallar.

Originally appeared

BMW R90/6 cafe racer

Harley Davidson 110 Celebrations at Motorcycle Live

Harley-Davidson UK & Ireland reaches the end of a celebratory year with a major display at Motorcycle Live – the biggest yet to be seen at the Midlands-based NEC. A large section of its floor space is dedicated to the 110th Anniversary of Harley-Davidson – an event that has seen massive celebrations across the globe throughout 2013 – and will feature a heritage timeline to enable visitors to time travel through 110 years of Harley-Davidson.
An impressive line up of eight iconic Harley motorcycles will take pride of place including legendary bikes such as the 1972 XR750 TT, 1947 Knucklehead and more. These classic Harley-Davidson bikes are a small part of the Warr’s Harley-Davidson Company Collection. 

Another pair of bikes from this unique collection that can be viewed at the Motorcycle Live Harley-Davidson stand are the X8A ‘Silent Gray Fellow' from 1912, which uses an F-Head single-cylinder, 30 cubic-inch motor. It’s a single-speed gearbox, with final drive via leather belt on an adjustable tensioner. An ingenious hand operated exhaust port enabled ‘silent’ running in town, but could be 'opened' up for performance motoring out of town. Hence the nickname, 'Silent Gray Fellow'.

Also on show will be the XLCR Café Racer from 1977. This model was a radical departure from the rest of Harley’s cruisers and the first ever factory custom which was conceived and designed by Willie G Davidson. The engine is a 1000cc unit with overhead valves, four-speed gearbox, iron barrels and heads. Externally the XLCR was an eye-opener: disc brakes all round, XR styled rear seat unit, Siamese exhausts and a bikini fairing.
See the collection, and more, at Motorcycle Live – November 23 to Dec 1, and the NEC, Birmingham. Buy advance tickets now:

We will be there for covering most important items. Keep reading this blog :)