By Ross Sharp - 24 Mar 15
Designers can be a tricky bunch. Extremely particular with an eagle's eye for detail and standards set particularly high. So when a member of the Jaguar Land Rover design team was looking for a builder to breath life into his 1980 BMW R100, Kev from Kevils Speed Shop was at the top of the shortlist, knowing he'd receive a top-notch build from one of the most experienced outfits in the market. Now, what can be done to an R-series has pretty much already been done and decent donors are becoming harder to find as everyone clamours to impart their engineering and creative prowess on the Bavarian workhorse. We know that, Kev knows that and most of the punters do too, so his customers are now leaning towards clean, simple builds where a degree of energy and budget is spent on the aesthetic but the majority on ensuring bullet-proof reliability through quality upgrades and updates. 1980 was a long time ago, even for the trusty boxer engine so a Kevils bike is always completely stripped down, engine and all, before the plethora of new parts can be fitted. After all, the AA man might be very nice, but a bike on a tow truck is the ugliest of all bad looks. The engine was comprehensively overhauled before being given key powder coated accents of black. Bing carbs are out, Mikunis are in, sucking through pod filters. The combo of these and a free-flowing exhaust add a spritely edge to the rather reserved character of the boxer twin. Adjustable, anodised levers are no longer the reserve of the MotoGP paddock, tried and tested designs combined with reductions in manufacturing times have allowed more affordable options for customisers. Here is a stubby pair, nice. The speedo looks more like a tax disc holder such is the thickness, or distinct lack of it. Yup, its a Motogadget, the Motoscope Pro in this case. Some recent Kevils builds have featured paint from car colour swatches, and this is no exception but a visit to the premium end of the scale. Ferrari's charts were used with flamboyance muted through the matt finish. A halo headlight leads the way without the signature look of the front end being lost. Rebuilt and powder coated forks look chunkier with gaitors, and suit the dual-sport Dunlop tyres. A cap doffed towards muddy trails whilst ensuring excellent road manners. Out back uprated shocks prop-up the Kevils subframe and comfy but sporty saddle. Brat-style seats on BMW have become rather commonplace of late and there are limits to what can be done without being too outlandish so Kev plumped for a sumptuous brown leather covered café-humped iteration, which has turned out well. The high-level stainless exhaust is an in-house fabrication with an inside out heat shield, using baffle perf on the critical area. Brushed stainless steel turns such a lovely colour with heat doesn't it, especially against the fresh black of the engine cases and barrels. When you've built as many bikes as Kev has, naming them can become a challenge. So in this case he used the customers name Raines, milled out the e and came up with Storm. Kevils Storm, that works for a street scrambler. Yet again, the tried, tested and trusted BMW R-series design reworked to see out another three-odd decades; and why not. Mr Raines will be the envy of the car park at JLL, you can keep all that decadent, computerised four wheel stuff. To order your take on the R-series or buy from stock give Kev a call, details here or make friends on Facebook to keep abreast of the latest projects. Thanks to Focal Point Photography in Torbay for the crisp images.