Urban Rider's R80
By Gareth Charlton - 18 Sep 14
Urban Rider on the New Kings Road in London is a den of motorcycle treasures; gloves, lids and leathers adorn the showroom in a manner befitting of its lofty address. They also cater for the commuter scooter crowd, but if you spend a few minutes chatting with proprietors Will or Andrew you soon realise that it is the geared machines that get their hearts pumping. Not content with merely supplying you with the best gear, the guys branched out and now design and build the bikes to ferry their fine wares about town. One of their early CL400 Street Scramblers (based on the rare Japanese import) stole hearts at the very first BSMC event back in May 2013. The Urban Rider team have continued to build and refine their signature little Hondas whilst adding a Bonneville model to their repertoire. Now they present this lovely Boxer scrambler, a bike they assure us is but a one off, built by resident mechanic Len to sate his "soft spot" for the marque. Len came across the R80 on ebay, it was the common story of a half finished project in need of a new owner with the drive and skill to fulfil the machines ambitions. He had owned many of the Bavarian twins over the years and runs a modern GS among his current fleet. This build was about getting the desire to customise a Beemer out of his system as oppose to launching Urban Rider into the highly competitive pro built BMW market. "Everyone at the store pitched in with ideas but Len's vision for the bike was clean, smooth lines and understated style." To this end Len set about the bike with his angle grinder, the frame was de-tabbed and sent for powder coated along with the wheels, forks and swing arm. The engine was rebuilt with new valves guides and piston rings, the bores were then honed before it was all put back together using new stainless fasteners throughout. A full rewire keeps things simple and efficient. The hand formed alloy seat unit was one of the few plus points of the previous owners efforts and along with the tank it received a lustrous, classic colour combination before being dispatched to Viking Vinyl for a recover. "The paint scheme harks back to the old school BMW era and is meant to look as if were done by BMW themselves". The striking race style pipes are a stand out feature, bringing the classic styling bang up to date, "The silencers are GP race bike replicas which where chosen primarily because they look and sound great and we hadn't seen it done before, the rear sets are generic aftermarket units that we modified to work with our set up." Other features include new piggy back shocks, Renthal bars, a Koso digital speedometer, and Biltwell grips The bike rides on Continental TKC 80s and reportedly handles splendidly, "We have used them on other builds such as the modern Bonneville. They grip very well for an off-road biased tyre. Many BMW GS riders use them on all roads." As their shop name suggests the team specialise in equipping riders for the no nonsense city environment and that ethos carries through to this highly functional bike that clearly also has the legs to carry you out of town for a sunny photo shoot. The bike was a fun side project for Len and the team between turning around their CL400 Scramblers at the rate of at least one every six weeks, the last off the line was even fitted with a custom removable ski rack for an Alps dwelling customer. The BMW is now for sale and ready to go from their London Headquarters. We look forward to seeing more of these fun Urban Rider side project bikes as well as more of their staple machines on their Bike Shed page.