Deep Creek Cycleworks BMW 'Helmut'
By Ross Sharp - 20 Mar 17
Build it and he will come. Kevin Costner appeared to predict the everlasting craze for custom airheads and we've seen every connotation and concoction possible, yet the R series Beemers just keep on filling builder's order books. And when they look this good, why not. Kris Reniers from Deep Creek Cycleworks in Belgium has been satisfying customers for a few years now and this 1980 R100RS was built for a chap wanting a classic yet contemporary style, with an upgrade in performance. Kris is a racer himself and had to rein-in the temptation to build a rip-snorting track weapon, instead opting for a Sidenrock piston and barrel kit, a brace of Dell'Ortos with velocity stacks and a Hoske exhaust. A stock R100 doesn't exactly hang around so a bit more punch combined with a considerable weight saving should see the owner keeping up with his mates on more modern equipment. The motor was stripped bare, reconditioned and coated in a low sheen black with polished accents on the cooling fins. Some folk claim that the stock BMW brakes, well setup, are perfectly good. Well, not the ones I've ridden so I'm happy to share Kris' opinion that they are in fact shit. Over braking the fork and frame isn't ideal either so instead a larger pair of rotors seemed the way to go, 320mm over the 265mm of stock. Brembo calipers were a factory upgrade for 1980 but this donor just missed the cut-off and ran ATE brakes, you can keep those - no thanks. Kris fitted Brembo calipers from a later bike and an R65 fork, lowered 40mm, and braided lines.
The twin shock mounts were ground-off the swingarm and rather than fit the later Monolever rearend Kris welded a braced loop in to accept a K100 shock. The rear subframe supports are also welded, rather than skinny tubes bolted-on, which now extend under the tail to a delicate integrated taillight and licence plate bracket, providing a particularly neat solution to an often overly complicated necessity.
The fuel tank is also from the a spare R65 that was presumably kicking around the workshop. The proportions are more suited to this café racer style than the slabby R100 vessel. The seat and tail is Kris' handiwork and from here the lines and shape look perfectly executed, a decent balance of size and shape, blending with the rest of the bike while maintaining an air of individuality. Anyone who can remember the graduated, hand pinstriped R90s paint schemes from the mid to late seventies will recognise the style of paintjob here, which against the backdrop of a white frame and all black engine looks the nuts. I'm guessing that fellow Belgian custom whizz Motokouture took care of that sumptuous upholstery.
Wiring is all new, as customers have come to expect these days. A simple Motone switch on the clipons gets the party started with electricity running through a paired-down loom to the old airfilter housing above the transmission, where the ignition, relays and fuses now reside. Indicators are a traditional arm out affair while the speedo is a stylish and bang up to date Motogadget Motoscope.
The final piece of the jigsaw was a headlight from an R nineT which should not only provide modern day levels of lumens but play a role in tricking bystanders into thinking this is a bike fresh from the showroom.
Kris has again proved why the Deep Creek order book is a thick one. His bikes aren't overly radical to try and prove a point or flex a creative muscle, they're considered and built properly, thankfully with just the right amount of flair. As long as airheads continue to be built this well, long may the torrent continue.
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Images by Antonio Zumbe