To break the mould. In our current custom scene, filled to the brim with as much diversity and daring as clichéd and classic, it is a tough ask to create something unrepeatable using techniques very rarely considered, let alone utilised. For Motokouture that was the self imposed challenge, to create something that even they themselves could not replicate, so they stepped outside of their comfort zone and embraced the process of sand casting.
“The result is a nearly completely handcrafted motorcycle that is never to be copied, because we broke the mould after the casting. End of story.”
The story began when Steven Decaluwe of Motokouture was approached by BMW Belux (the BMW importer for Luxembourg and Belgium) to cast his creative stylings onto a box fresh Nine-T. It just so happened that Steven had a client craving just such a machine waiting in the wings and so he set about making the project happen post haste. The customer thankfully had the good sense and faith to leave every aspect of the build in Motokoutures able hands and minds, so when the standard bike rolled into the workshop in November of last year, Steven could set to work with that most invigorating of incentives – Carte Blanche.
“The base of the project was the one piece sand cast alloy tank and seat unit. This was going to be it! The rest was left undecided, apart from the fact it would have ancient looks and would be a racer. The body was made in clay shape first, the technique used in designing motorcycles and cars. After that, I had to have a mouldable piece, so I made a negative in plaster. It was nothing but a massive negative, because we needed a tank to put fuel in, so again, I made a very thin positive, that could be moulded in sand. The casting itself was done in a factory, but the moulding of the sand casting was my job… a real horror!!!”
At the factory the alloy was melted at very high temperature before being let loose into the mould, testing the integrity of Steven’s handiwork. Because of the scale of the piece, the risk of disaster and losing all of the work was high, but thankfully attention to detail carried the day and the piece survived. Throughout the process Steven was posting teaser shots on his Facebook page and as complex as the process proved, the sense of anticipation he must have had when cracking the finished lump from its case must have been tremendous. After a full week of grinding, correcting and polishing he came to this final result.
A new bottom was welded into the tank to hold the fuel pump and the piece was then ready to grace the Beemer. After the toil of the one piece creation it must have been tempting to leave it at that, no seat to break the lines just a sprinkle of the bare essentials and stand back and admire. But Steven is not one to take the easy route, for him the unit was nothing but a good start. To complete the bike it needed alloy fairings, so he set to on his english wheel.
“Enginewise, I put in a lot of HP2 stuff and reprogrammed the CDI to make the open exhaust and K&N’s work. After the necessary finetuning, I came to a great result… 142 Bhp and 122 Nm out of the air cooled 4 valve boxer, with no sacrifices made to the service life of the engine.”
The exhaust was of course hand made to follow the route Steven saw fit and then wrapped in stealthy grey to blend with the black lump. The bike then received completely new wiring, modified and simplified switchgear, home made footpegs, tiny super-led taillights, and Stack instrumentation in a leather wrapped cluster. Comfort dictated the need for a seat so Steven crafted a black leather number with strand work stitching – although it must have been tempting to leave the one-piece fully visible.
A unique detail of the build is the turn coordinator from a Cessna aircraft that gauges the pitch of the bike. “Why??? because the client claims deep lean angles, and we want to be sure his claims are true!” I must never fit one of these to a motorcycle, I would struggle to take my eyes off it…
To break the mould Motokouture got pragmatic, they made a mould to break. The results are stunning but appreciating the process that created them is what makes the jaw drop with this Nine-T. Doubtless both the owner and Belux BMW were blown away with the results of their carte blanche trust in Motokouture. For us, this is one machine that we cannot wait to see in the metal at our Bike Shed Paris, see you there.