HB Custom Urban Racer
By James McCombe - 08 May 15
While many of us may yearn to wield a welder or grapple a grinder, the daily realities of a desk jockey job means the most powerful tool in the box is good old Microsoft Powerpoint. Feared worldwide for it's ability to induce unintended naps, it's ability to disengage an audience is incomparable. But for the presenter, the feeling is different. Having spent hours refining, consolidating and aligning, the slide deck is the perfect distillation of your idea. And now is your time; the laser-clicker has all the feeling of a Conductor's baton, you become the master of ceremonies for your own private orchestra. The audience marvel at your swooping text animations and 'hilarious' Clipart. That is, in between the stifled yawns and inappropriate scratching. Like so many of us, desk-bound Peter Scheufen had spent far too much time digesting the online world of alt-custom bikes. Impressed by the classic style and creativity running throughout, he gradually fell in love with the idea of owning such a machine. The lack of a donor bike, or even a licence was no hurdle though and by Spring 2014 plans were afoot. With the test booked and subsequently passed, the ideal bike began to form. At first, there were many questions but step by step the final form became more concrete. Living in Hamburg, Germany, the bike had to be suitable for big city life and be capable in the bustle of an urban environment. A traditional Cafe Racer would be too tiring, but the lightweight and performance focused ethos could be combined with kinder ergonomics for the perfect package. The "Urban Racer: Without Coffee" was born. For Peter, Powerpoint was the natural tool to begin his bike build with. A way to collate the ideas that had formed in his mind and rationalise them into a simple solution. Having visited a number of builders in Hamburg, Berlin and other cities with his presentation, they were impressed. Realising that Peter was both deadly serious and a little bit crazy in his desire for the perfect steed. But the relationship didn't seem to click. Too many times Peter felt that the builder was focused far more on the business aspects of the bike rather than having a genuine passion for the product. So changing tack, he visited Holger Breuer at HB Customs. Holger lives in a small town, a really small town out in the countryside, together with his understanding wife and two children. He builds bikes by himself, in his small garage measuring less than 15sqm. And Holger does not do Powerpoint. He thinks it's stupid. So it says a lot about the client-builder relationship that the stunning BMW gracing these pages contains none of Peter's original ideas; but that he is completely and totally happy with the final result. Wanting the best of classic aesthetics and modern cycle parts, the chase was on for a decent donor. Stumbling upon a non-too-shabby R100R, the big bore Beemer was a solid base which needed cleansing of it's questionable turquoise and grey makeover by the previous owner. Stripped down completely, the rolling chassis was built up with fully refurbished brakes, suspension and rebuilt wheels. Lashings of resilient black powder and lightly buffed alloy give a tough looking and wearing skin. Eager for more grunt, should Peter venture onto an Autobahn, the engine was completely renovated. A proper job was done, taking the venerable design close to it's limits. In went a 1071cc big bore kit, asymmetric cams, a lightened and balanced crank and a host of new, lighter innards. With the stainless 2-1 exhaust system, the bike now puts down 80 bhp and nearly 70 ftlb of torque at the rear wheel. Swapping out the bulky tourer tank for a lither unit transforms the look of the bike, it now appears to be 80% engine. Cherry picking styles from across genres, the be-humped cafe seat hovers above chunky scrambler rubber, but it's all tied together with unnering quality and a great attention to detail. The LED rear light is seamlessly frenched into the rear loop and indicators are barely visible until switched on. Fully upgraded with a host of components from Motogadget, Domino and LSL, simple machined parts are the order of the day. They work together to make the cockpit a very nice place to spend time. The searching for the ideal build partner paid off. Peter is genuinely, and rightly, chuffed with the final result. In his own words: "Holger was the perfect fit. He is a very down to earth guy and is a great bike builder. He's very creative when it becomes necessary to find the perfect solution. The quality of the bike is also on a very high level; you can feel that Holder loves to build bikes." Throughout the build, the two became firm friends and it looks like a second collaboration is on the cards. It will certainly be one to keep an eye out for!