Patience is a virtue apparently. Hopefully Dirk Oehlerking of Kingston Customs from Germany is well practiced after building this masterpiece – White Phantom. The images have been sitting in our inbox for for far too long, Dirk then teased us with the possibility of the bike exhibiting at Bike Shed London 2017 but alas, stars didn’t align. So here it is, in glorious technicolour along with words that do the craftsmanship no justice at all.
Dirk’s bikes have been dropping jaws for a good few years now but every now and again he digs deep and pulls out something truly special. In this case using the rather unremarkable but steadfast BMW R80RT as a donor, not that there’s much left of the original bike.
At it’s heart is the ubiquitous 798cc boxer engine, apparently the most balanced of the Bavarian twins, which is handy as induction is now forced for a heavier punch. A single, horizontally mounted, turbo is spooled-up by a short pair of headers before pressurising the original (but re-jetted) Bing carbs. Long intake pipework runs neatly into the cylinders, keeping the messy gubbins of cables and tubes out of sight. A particularly stubby pipe spits flames and burnt gases just in front of the rider’s knee. Visceral to say the least.
The stock motor might have been smooth back in the day, churning out a modest 50hp, but this flame belching beast now pushes the dyno needle into triple figures. A refreshed and reworked R 75/7 swingarm and cardan shaft converts all that whiz bang inertia into momentum via a drag spec M&H Racemaster slick tyre. Precise countersunk holes in the rear drum housing and hub go some way to dissipating heat and making sure Dirk’s hard work is hauled up before the strip runs out.
Up front things are much more dainty. A Honda XL 500S drum braked wheel, hub drilled to match the rear, wears a 2.50-23 Mefo ice speedway tyre – sans spikes of course. The original forks have been lowered considerably internally and are now sprung by the smallest of external coils. Bars and cockpit are as simple as can be, just the basic controls and as with the engine, wiring is engineered out of sight.
The frame is simple too. New tubes run from the original headstock and replace the standard spine arrangement, not only maintaining a narrow waist but also offering access to the fiery bowels beneath. The location of the red hot turbo required Dirk to raid the parts bin labelled exotic in order to keep heat soak at bay. A shield backed with a composite material as used in Formula 1 prevents wires from melting and float bowls boiling.
Then there’s the bodywork, not an area Dirk was prepared to scrimp. He spent hour upon hour trimming sheets of cardboard into various mock-ups until a smooth, wedged silhouette was achieved. Once the shapes were finalised they were converted to aluminium and painstakingly hammered, folded and rolled into two large side panels and a belly pan.
The same method, but even more time consuming, was used for the fabrication of the fuel tank. Not only does this carry a decent amount high octane juice, it also hinges upward to provide tinkering access beneath. Set into the top of this svelte vessel are brass rimmed gauges, measuring temps, velocities and the all important boost pressure. A sliver of tan leather is sufficient to prevent Dirk from sliding off the back when he dumps the clutch and that huge contact patch bites.
The flat, ivory white paint and brass accents further trick the eye into thinking this could be a modified beast from the art deco era, not an eighties tourer reborn in 2016.
Images by Frank Lachetta