Reporting on what’s new in the custom bike scene and sharing that with a pretty huge audience is a privilege and rewarding in it’s own right, but every now and again a success story emerges that cements the theory that doing what you love will eventually lead to financial reward. Kris Reniers from Belgium was a part-time bike builder and full-time electrical engineer, similar to many people we hear from, he juggled passion with the need to pay the bills, hoping that with enough momentum and balls in the air he’d one day be able to drop the job and live the dream. After much burning of the midnight oil and a handful of awesome builds later Deep Creek Cycleworks has delivered bikes to Bolivia and St. Tropez ,and now with a full order book for 2016 projects are being discussed with customers for the year after. Hats off to you Kris, perseverance pays handsomely, doesn’t it.
After more traditional customs, a Ducati Monster, BMW airhead and Moto Guzzi California Kris decided to see if he could work with something a bit more left of field. A local BMW dealer asked if an R1200R could be made less ugly, racy even. That’s a pretty tall order but he’s grabbed the project by the horns and given it a bloody good go.
Stripped naked and the task ahead loomed large, that Paralever front suspension is a mechanical mess that even its mother couldn’t love. Sure it works but it’s gawky to say the least so rather than try to polish a turd, Kris has sprinkled glitter on it; hiding the hinged scaffolding behind a proper race fairing from an MV Agusta 500. Rather than punch a whole for a headlamp he’s fitted a couple of discreet projector lights beneath.There isn’t anything nice to say about the stock tank so thankfully that’s languishing on a shelf somewhere and in its place is the shell from an R100, heavily reworked and grafted to an inner fuel cell. Naked, these frames resemble the support wires of a suspension bridge, those seeking a flat bone line should try elsewhere for a donor. The front shock mount bounces around in the space normally reserved of fuel carrying so Kris added a lower section to the rear of the tank, dropping down above the gearbox, utilising the real estate where the airbox used to live. There’s now plenty of capacity and a lower centre of gravity, so that’s two ticks in the racy box.
Normal clipons weren’t an option either thanks to the overly creative suspension set up, so Kris fabricated a pair and utilised Motogadget’s famed micro switchgear, indicators and grips to keep the job neat and minimal.With the incongruous front end sorted attention turned rearward. 10 inches was hacked off the ski jump of a subframe and the remaining rails tidied before the handmade tail section and seat could be fitted. One of Kris’ mates, the gregarious, borderline nutter and craftsman extraordinaire Steven form Moto Kouture took care of the leather work. In fact if you find yourself in Belgium look these guys up, you’d be sure of a good time and Steven’s shop in Zwevegem is a custom bike and clothing goldmine.
As the R1200R is hewn from a big billet of reliable there was no need to rip the engine or transmission apart. Time and budget therefore went into the stainless exhaust headers instead, finished off with a reverse megaphone from Dime City Cycles. Polini foam filters keep the crud out and add pep to the Beemer’s step. Rearsets destined for an R nineT position the rider’s legs that bit further back to at least suggest a modicum of sportiness.
Finished off with a bold paint scheme and the once tardy and lardy 1200R was unveiled to rapturous applause and smiles all-round recalled Kris “When I presented the bike to the BMW dealer, he was so happy with it he gave me an R nineT to fiddle with, really stoked with that especially as it’ll be a much easier bike to work with. This bike rides really well and is stable, because of the idiot telelever suspension I guess. I am happy with the result, it was a really difficult build, especialy because all the mechanical components were not to be touched so the dealer would be able to use standard BMW parts (the big build in-tank fuel pump for example) for maintenance.”
We’re stoked for Kris too. He’s a guy who gets his balls out, juggles them along with life’s trials and tribulations with an eye firmly focussed on living the dream. And who says men can’t multitask.
Photos by Fotostudio Art Defence