Reinventing Adventure with BCR’s Redesign of BMW R1200 GS
After BCR’s February 2016 launch of “Velocita D’epoca,” the BCR Team was approached by one of our friends to build a bike. Initially, they wanted to use the new Ducati Scrambler as a donor bike, but we told them to choose something more size appropriate for his build. The Scrambler is a small bike and the guy is 5’11”. If we used the Scrambler as a base for our build, his relative size alone would visually overshadow the bike. Despite the Scrambler’s popularity in custom bike builds, we wanted to use something different – as always, we wanted to do something that most bike shops wouldn’t. Our goal was to make the rider look good, visually proportional, and in aesthetic harmony with the bike. After a bit of thought, we suggested a BMW R1200 GS.
Initially, I, too was hesitant to use an R1200 GS as the base for this build. This bike is an adventure-seeking, off-road motorcycle, which I knew was not the kind of bike our friend would prefer. When we build bikes, we want the bikes to reflect the personalities of their owners. To me, our friend was more of an urban rider who would mostly use this bike in the city or on long country road trips. Knowing that the GS was never built for this kind of terrain became the deciding factor in our decision to build a more suitable R1200 GS, and we hoped that having a GS might even entice him to go through rough gravel roads he may not have ridden on before. It has always been part of our nature to build bikes that deviate from what’s expected, so we decided to make the GS look like a stripped-down, exposed, and robotic build from the post-apocalypse – a build that I felt was perfect for the GS’ unique Telelever and Paralever suspension.
We finally sold our friend on the idea of using the GS and (through the divine powers of networking) were able to find a decent 2005 model. The bike had 30,000 miles on it and signs that it had been dropped a few too many times, but that wasn’t a problem for us. As I’ve stated before, the GS was built with the spirit of adventure in mind and the wear and tear was expected. The plastics were cracked and the front wheel had a flat spot, but the motor, transmission, rear differential, and suspension seemed useable. Once we had the bike in our shop, we stripped it down to a rolling frame – we scrapped the tank, fairing, seat, exhaust, and the fenders.
Once we took the body panels off, we noticed how the frame was awkwardly upswept and was generally too long for what we had in mind. Because of this, we cut the tail part off of the frame and fabricated a sub-frame. We also added frame rails running from the steering neck that curved down to the mid-section of the frame, similar to how the ’70s BMW R model frame rails were.
After we finished the front end, we moved on to the gas tank, which to us, is the focal point of any bike. The shape of the gas tank is always what dictates the overall look and attitude of our bikes. Originally, the GS comes with a massive 8-gallon tank to fuel its adventurous nature. On this build, however, we realized that a large tank was unnecessary and an inefficient use of space. In homage to the old school, we decided to shape the tank similarly to the toaster tanks of the ’70s BMW airheads. We added knee indents, machined rubber knee pads, and put tank badges on the sides. The stock EFI fuel pump on the GS was perfect for the post-apocalyptic look that we were after. We had the EFI fuel pump assembly mounted on top, and exposed the hoses and wires that power up the internal pump. Just like any of our full bike builds, we left the tank bare- aluminum with a polished-finish and added simple black scallop graphics with gold pinstripes.
After the tank was set up we swung our focus to the back of the bike; the seat and the rear fender. We hated the idea of a flat, box-shaped seat & shaped the new one with a curvier look that blended the front of the seat with the tail of the tank to provide a sleep tank-to-seat transition. We then wrapped the seat in black Alcantara upholstery with a simple bead stitching across the seat. We shaped the tail light to seem as though it were part of the seat and added slots that matched the bead stitching for the light. We then shaped the aluminum rear funder similarly to the shape of the tank.
Just like any project at BCR Designs, we’re meticulous at every step of the project. We listen to our clients and only create products that we ourselves will use. We make everything by hand, in-house and we make sure that form follows function. We always try to create something that we believe is original and a combination of beauty and efficiency.