Frank's Kraut Escape
By Anthony van Someren - 04 Sep 14
Taking the prize for funniest bike name of the month has to be Frank Schulte's shed-built BMW R60/5, "The Kraut Escape", but it takes more than a mirthful moniker to get your bike featured on The Bike Shed, we also expect a quality build - especially when it's "another" BMW Boxer. Luckily Frank's bike ticks all the right boxes in the build, the photos, and in the telling of how it all came about. Frank works as a freelance journalist in Germany for the Heritage Post and content manager/blogger at Top-Hatter. The bike is his first custom build and started life as a Police bike in 1973, so there was a lot to be undone before putting her back together in this form, but this bike also has an interesting set of inspirations and influences... "About two years ago, after helping to restore a Vespa Scooter for a friend, I had the idea to build my first custom bike. As a friend of vintage and heritage lifestyle I saw on Blogs lots of very cool custom bikes in a traditional look." "As I saw the black "Great Escape" from Blitz Motorcycles in Paris, I knew that I want my own classic BMW, but it should not just be a copy of the Blitz bike or the "German" Wehrmacht Triumph in the Steve McQueen film 'The Great Escape'." "I remembered some old photos showing my grandfather on several bikes, like a Triumph (in Nuremberg), and one as a dispatch rider on a BMW R12 in WW II. At the end of the war he was a POW in Russia for many years." "My idea was to combine these three inspirations to my very personal bike. So I found an old German ex-Police BMW and customized it into "The Kraut Escape". I dismantled it in my kitchen (dirty work) an reassembled it in my living room." "I used an authentic matte WWII-color; Luftwaffenblau, because no German military bike in WWII had been olive-green like the Triumph in "The Great Escape". The seat is refurbished with genuine leather. The perfect fitting saddlebag is a German medical officer's bag from WWII. I added some white stencils in authentic typo and the yellow HALT sign inspired from the Steve McQueen film." As a Brit it's hard to get my head around a German builder making a modern-retro custom inspired from an American WWII film like the Great Escape, but with more authenticity in the finer details, and then giving the bike a genuinely clever, but funny name based on a derogatory term for Germans..., but it all works, and it's superb - from the back-story to the build, to the tasteful pics, and to Frank's own journey and influences. Frank's next project is already dismantled in his kitchen, waiting restoration; a Honda XL 250 K3 from 1976. I'm sure he'll build an equally lovely bike and we hope he'll share it with us on The Bike Shed again. Thanks Frank. We look forward to seeing that Honda.
It must've been fun putting the bike on it's centre-stand just inches from the edge of the pool!!!