Nearly every custom shop has probably had BMW’s venerable R series grace a bench at some point, and the platform has provided a canvas for so much mechanical creativity that last year there was a danger of reaching peak-boxer. Leading to some fairly outlandish attempts at standing out form the crowd. Personally, I’m not a huge BMW fan but the odd one floats my boat, this one from Ellaspede seems to cope with engine’s visual bulk in a clean, simple manner and looks positively nimble standing still. I may have become less horizontally opposed.
Owner of this early 80s R65, Sandy, had purchased a project bike with much work already done, clipons, a subframe in scaffold bar proportions, keyless start and a monoshock set-up. As is often the case, it turned out better to start again. Sandy wanted a café-style bike that he and his son could tinker with and enjoy, rather than spend time trying to dial in a someone else’s handiwork so enlisted the services of the Ellaspede workshops in Brisbane, Australia.
Once stripped down the subframe revealed some interesting geometry, not lining up well with the rest of the frame, so required modifying to suit. A narrow seat pan was bent into shape and upholstered with black vinyl and a light blue stitch.
The headlight is an aftermarket 7-incher, with a flexible LED strip out back, frenched into the frame. Indicators are Posh Chamfers, direct form their own store, and a new Acewell 2853 gauge replaced the ageing digital unit. To ensure reliability a full re-wire was undertaken with aviation grade wire.
The front mudguard is the original but trimmed down, whilst the rear is a custom made unit. An Ellaspede Ninja Star mounts the number plate at the rear. Wheels were cleaned and painted black and fitted with a pair of fresh Bridgestones, a 130/80 being the largest size the shaft drive swing arm would allow, which makes for a sporting look.
Mechanically the motor was sound but for good measure the Bing carbs were re-jetted for the foam filters and stubby mufflers. Painted barrels and starter cover break up the monolithic look of the 650 twin and match the rest of the black paintwork.
The rebuilt forks function perfectly well but as anyone whose built on of these will know, the fork legs can look a bit unfinished without something in the old reflector rebate. A reference to one of Sandy’s travelling tales was machined from aluminium, painted black and inserted to complete the personalisation.
The paint scheme was a combination of Sandy’s thoughts and the experienced eye of the Ellaspede crew. The subtle yet striking two-tone blue harks back to 1970s Martini racing liveries and looks jolly handsome. (Knee pads will complete the theme, when they arrive).
Sandy and his son Alex are thrilled to bits with the result and have already covered a good few kilometres on their new steed. The guys from Ellaspede haven’t tried to reinvent the wheel and by keeping things simple have produced a well proportioned, classy looking bike. To see their previous work and to buy some of the parts featured head to the website and for updates on what’s on the bench check Facebook.