Hammer KraftRad R100R
By James McCombe - 19 Nov 14
Nominative determinism is a wonderful theory that a person's name somehow influences or determines a key aspect of their career, character or interests. Did the former MD of Danone, Bruno Fromage, grow up with his yoghurty fate already sealed? Was Rich Ricci always going to end up as head of Barclays investment bank? Looking at the beautiful hand beaten aluminium bodywork of Michael Hammer's BMW R100 certainly lends some credence to the hypothesis. Michael created Hammer KraftRad in 2013, to produce honest, handcrafted motorbikes with classic lines, built to the highest standards and it would appear he's succeeding, oh yes. Like many of the best builds, this one started with a beer fueled discussion in the workshop. One of Michael's friends missed riding and wanted to get his leg back over. The BMW in his garage didn't quite deliver what he was looking for, and Michael happened to have an unwanted old Yamaha. A deal was done, bikes were swapped and the next day Michael had the R100R in his workshop and ideas in his head. This was to be a bike influenced by classic cafe racers, simple lines, an aggressive riding position and a nice grunty, tractable engine. This 1992 BMW R100R has donor bike had just 17,000 miles on it, so didn't require drastic mechanical work; triage identified a greater need for cosmetic surgery in Michael's view. With the engine pulling strongly a test ride and the vtial statistics checking out in the workshop, nothing other than a thorough service and a clean up of the cases was required. Despite no longer being functional in it's original intention, the airbox was retained as a place to store vital electrics, keeping the frame free of traipsing wires. It's terribly hard, even with the end result seen in these pictures, to convey the skill and time required that goes into creating aluminium bodywork such as this. Michael toiled for hours getting the tank, tailpiece and mudguard just 'so', and the beautiful flow from front to back of the bike is the perfect pay off. The simple bi-tonal paintjob enhances the lines further. Classic BMW colours and crisp lines give a look that could be very much factory. In this guise it's not difficult to imagine the bike competing against the more artisanal Jotas, LeMans and 900ss's of the 70's. To compliment the classic bodywork Michael used the useful modularity of the R-Series to great effect. Transplanting the earlier Kidney style rocker covers instantly knocks the engine back 20 years visually, and the cast snowflake wheels have been swapped out for a set of spoked stainless rims. Bespoked, or bespoke, I'll let you decide... Despite the classic aesthetics, Michael expects modern performance from his bikes and tyres make a huge play in this game. Avon Roadriders front and rear are a worthy performance improvement, without looking too 'trackday special' to take away from the overall look. The original Bing carburetors were retained, receiving full rebuilds and a rejetting for the K&N pod filters. With a healthy 50bhp on tap and big gobs of torque, there's plenty to play with. The engine breathes out through a stainless 2-1 Sebring system, rising up the left flank and balancing the visuals against the Monolever rear suspension. Suspension at either end remains unchanged, just receiving new seals and oil where required. From end to end, this bike relies on a very simple but effective combination of tones from the paints and metals; sometimes simple is just better. The solid mount rearsets and low clipons gets your body canted forward and your mindset racey. Some semblance of comfort is retained in the leather clad tuck and roll seat, beautifully upholstered to carry the lines into the tail unit. Indicators are minimised but not hidden, the bike really does come across as a sympathetically restored and modernised classic. It must be noted that all of Michael's bikes are TUV approved, no small matter in itself and another hurdle for the custom builder to work around. Practicality has been maintained, often difficult when a bike looks as minimal as this. The oil cooler remains, useful in slow city traffic, while a small oil temperature gauge sits in the filler hole in case the rider fancies some empirical data. Michael even retained the centre stand and lift handle on the subframe. Something many of us would be eager to grind off, in this instance it just adds to the factory look of the bike. Low slung mirrors ensure the small clocks remain the highest point on the bike, long and low, it looks ready to hit some twisties. If you're a friend of the German Language, go to Michael's site now and see some of his other creations.