Wandering between a sea of customized bikes on the Handbuilt Present in Austin, Texas final month, our Stateside group had the arduous process of selecting the very best bikes in three classes. When it was time to dish out the award for the very best paint job, this psychedelic BMW R80 was a straightforward selection. The story solely bought higher after we found that the man who constructed it, Eli Carver, is color-blind.
Primarily based in Wimberley, Texas—a village about an hour south-east of Austin—Eli bought into wrenching on BMW boxers after constructing his first, and solely, customized Honda CB550. “I’ve constructed a number of customized airheads through the years,” he tells us, “and had the honour of getting three of them featured within the Handbuilt Present. I’ve purchased, refurbished, and offered a number of airheads as properly, and have actually loved studying how they’re put collectively.”
Eli purchased the donor bike for this specific mission, a 1987 BMW R80RT, for a whopping $50. It had been uncared for for years, however he managed to get it again on the street with solely a handful of latest components. Then he fabricated some brackets to suit a Dnepr sidecar, and street it like that for a few yr, earlier than stumbling upon a 1977 Ural sidecar rig with a blown motor.
“I offered the unique sidecar, and used the R80RT engine to get the Ural again on the street,” he says. “I then discovered myself going by a divorce, and actually needed a mission to get my head away from the household points.”
As if he wanted any extra motivation, Eli had additionally gained the forks and brakes from a Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R in an Instagram giveaway. They’d include a BMW boxer steering stem already fitted to the decrease triple, and had been simply begging for a motorcycle to name residence. Eli ordered a fairing that he’d been crushing on for years from Flat Racer within the UK, and bought busy.
“I made a decision to construct a real café racer utilizing the forks and fairing,” he says. “I pulled the R80R chassis out and simply begin messing with it to see what occurred.”
Eli’s BMW actually wasn’t going anyplace with out a new engine. So he traded a bunch of airhead components that he’d amassed for a 1990 BMW R100GS engine. It wanted a few vital repairs, however he whipped it into form, and mated it to the R80 transmission and closing drive.
The inventory carbs and air field had been refurbished, as a result of, as Eli places it, “the BMW engineers knew what they had been doing after they designed that consumption for that engine.” The exhaust system options blacked-out two-into-one headers, with a Scorpion muffler.
Shifting to the chassis, Eli put in the Kawasaki entrance finish, then laced up a brand new Excel rim utilizing components from Cognito Moto. Just like the motor, the rear wheel comes from a BMW R100GS; Eli modified it to suit the R80’s single-sided swingarm, and laced it with an offset to ensure the tire would have sufficient clearance. A Hyperpro shock props up the rear finish.
A café racer-style tail unit sits additional up, perched atop a customized subframe. Frankie Ynclan at Ballin’ Customz in San Antonio was liable for the alluring contrast-stitched saddle.
Eli put in the Flat Racer fairing up entrance, however needed to modify it to accommodate the beefier shocks. Simply behind it sits the BMW’s OEM gas tank. Aside from the body, transmission and closing drive, it’s the one unique R80 half left on the construct.
The R80’s inventory entrance fender is technically nonetheless in use too, however Eli break up it to make separate fenders for the entrance and rear. Every is mounted by itself bespoke bracketry. The battery field, exhaust hanger and license plate mounts are all one-offs.
Complementing Eli’s handiwork is a smorgasbord of elegant off-the-shelf components. The headlight, flip indicators and taillight are all LED models, and the bike’s been rewired with an Antigravity battery and a full set of Motogadget objects. The cockpit wears new clip-ons, fitted with a Domino throttle and controls.
A single Koso gauge does obligation behind the windscreen, with a customized kill swap sitting slightly below it. It’s labeled ‘Flight’ and ‘Floor,’ as a result of it was borrowed from a 1940’s French airplane.
After which there’s the award-winning livery. “I had seen a photograph of an outdated Land Rover on-line that had a coloration scheme that I appreciated,” Eli tells us. “I had all the time constructed bikes with black frames, and had needed to do a coloured body on this bike. I additionally needed a ‘beachy’ vibe to the bike, simply to drive me out of my consolation zone somewhat.”
“I made a decision to change the colour scheme of the Land Rover somewhat bit and use the colour palette of teal, orange, yellow, and jade inexperienced. Being colorblind, I needed to discover colours that I appreciated, but in addition seemed good to everybody else.”
Eli went backwards and forwards with Jerry Leach at Leach Customized Cycles on the ultimate paint scheme, earlier than Jerry masterfully laid it down. “He advised the ghosted pearl texture down the center of the sprint, tank, and seat cowl,” says Eli. “I used to be somewhat uncomfortable with it, as a result of I had no thought what he actually needed to do.”
“However since I knew I used to be additionally already out of my consolation zone concerning colours, I gave him the go-ahead, as a result of I trusted that we shared the identical imaginative and prescient for the bike. When the paint was achieved and I went to select up the items, I completely beloved what he had achieved.”
Should you instructed us a month in the past we’d be giving a motorcycle with an orange body an award for its paint job, we wouldn’t consider you. However there’s no denying that Eli’s BMW is a jaw-dropper, in the very best sense.
And for those who agree, we’ve excellent news: he’s promoting it. Anybody have a driving go well with to go along with it?