Beemers. They’re either your thing or they’re not. Personally I’m not a lover of the Bavarian boxer but I’ve owned an R100 and I thought it was rather excellent. And every now and then I’m swayed by a particular custom R series. Last year at Bike Shed Paris Karles Vives of Fuel Bespoke Motorcycles from Barcelona turned up with a lovely R100 Tracker and I had to admit I was slightly smitten.
Not just me it would appear as a chap from Ireland, Brendan, saw the same bike and fancied his own more racy version, and here it is the Fuel R100 Tracker #2.
Karles has been around the custom scene for a while now and is the founder of the Scram Africa Rally (See links at bottom of the page) so what he and his wingman Jordi don’t know about putting together a decent Beemer probably doesn’t exist or isn’t worth knowing.
The best way to build speed and handling into a bike is to remove everything first and only put back what is necessary, upgrading as you go. And that’s what Jordi and Karles have done. Being a 1978 RS model the stock ATE fork with recalcitrant and tricky to set up brake caliper would have hindered performance, so they didn’t make it back onto the bike. Instead a BMW F650 fork with uprated Progressive springs was installed, along with a more modern Brembo caliper and Kawasaki Z1 brake master cylinder.
The fuel tank is also Kawasaki, from a KH100 and with the mass-reducing paint scheme gives a near perfect flattrack shape. As there was no request for pillion capability a selfishly sized tracker tail piece and hand stitched leather seat pad sits on top of a one-off subframe. The rear triangle is partially covered by number boards but an airy feel remains as the battery is relocating down and behind the gearbox.
Propping this lot up and providing a great improvement of ride and handling is a brace of Öhlins shockers. Coaxing a bit more performance out of the Beemer led to the Bing carbs finding a new home on the shelf and a Mikuni/K&N setup taking care of fuelling. Crisper throttle response and easier fine-tuning the icing on the cake. Along with free flowing exhausts, handmade of course, there’s a genuine 70hp on tap. But just to be sure it felt quicker the guys fitted a short action throttle assembly.
Rubber is by Dunlop, K70 to be precise, which from where I’m sitting look to offer a great combination of classic style, roadholding and a slight nod towards actual off-roading. Triumph fenders, although shortened, should keep the peat out of Brendan’s eyes.
The other way to make a bike feel more spirited is to ditch clumsy clocks and tidy the cockpit. Machined brackets make the most of an original mounting and support a very neat aluminium housing for the Motogadget speedo. The ignition is hidden out of the way leaving just the starter button and an original badge from a 1977 Irish BMW Rally. Wide and swooping LSL bars give the tracker feel and Oury grips look just like those we used to ride years before all of the above became trendy again.
I had the pleasure of pushing this bike into Bike Shed London 2016 and confirm that it’s nimble. In fact it felt like half the weight of the R100 I owned. And having swung a leg over the Fuel R100 #2 I reckon I should have kept mine and had a word with Karles and Jordi. Enjoy yourself Brendan.
Also check out their classic desert scramble Scram Africa but please save us a place on the trip.