(See the feature first posted at BikeEXIF.com by its editor and publisher, Chris Hunter, who has his finger on the pulse of today’s global custom and classic motorcycle scene.)
Old stock BMW airheads catch our eye. We dig their unique profiles and opposed-cylinder power plants, but also recognize their potential as even more unique customs. Below is a feature penned by Chris Hunter of BikeEXIF.com about one of our Good Spark Garage bikes: Casey Wilkinson’s 1976 BMW R75/6.
1970s-era BMW airheads respond well to the cafe racer treatment. But you don’t often see one with a mono-shock conversion. This 1976 R75/6 is owned by graphic designer Casey Wilkinson of the motorcycle-mad Wilkinson Brothers, and he spotted it at the AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days. Despite having 100,000 miles on the clock, Casey bought it, and started drawing up a racy profile for his new acqusition. He mocked up a subframe and swingarm with quarter-inch steel round bar, and shaped a new tailpiece with insulation foam board.
This served as a template and guide for metal fabricator Cliff Meyer of Meyerbuilt Metalworks. Cliff stayed true to the mock-up, but carefully addressed each mounting point and joint, improving the overall strength and fitment. His hand-formed aluminum tailpiece is a work of art.
“The goal of this project was to compensate for a limited budget with elbow grease and creativity,” says Casey. So the foot controls are made from bicycle freestyle pegs and hand-cut aluminum flat stock, finished with plumbing nipples for the toe pegs. The rear shock is from a Suzuki GSX-R750 and the headlight rock guard is an aftermarket MG auto part, fastened to the bucket with springs. The stock motor chugs away with shorty Dunstall-style mufflers and K&N pod filters. It’s a daily rider with more of a flickable-fun persona than its original touring stance.
For a temporary solution, an old motorcycle jacket serves as the seat cover. The tailpiece houses a teensy lithium ion battery, and the top fork brace was CNC’d by ToasterTan Custom Braces. The logo “Good Spark Garage” comes from the Wilkinson Brothers’ moto-culture blog (which is highly recommended). “If we had more equipment and time, perhaps Wilkinson Bros could evolve into a custom bike shop,” Casey wonders.
He’s off to a good start with this BMW cafe racer; hopefully we’ll see more customs from the Wilkinson Brothers in the future. –Chris Hunter, editor and publisher of BikeEXIF.com
At Good Spark, we utilize what tools we have, take our projects as far as our skill-sets allow before calling on craftsmen. Yep, perhaps Wilkinson Bros could evolve into a custom bike shop; that’d be great. In the meantime, we have a lot of good friends/craftsmen to lean on. They help us achieve exactly what our minds and pencils conceptualize, rather than stopping short of a goal. When all is complete, we then ride the heck out of our bikes.
To see another Wilkinson Bros / Meyerbuilt Metalworks collaboration, see the Wilkinson Bros Kawasaki W650 Cafe Racer here.