I do enjoy watching others struggle, just a little bit anyway. It makes roadside customising, under bed bike storage and shower cubicle paint spraying seem less arduous to know I’m not the only one with obstacles in the way of progress. From these images you’d presume that North Yorkshire based La Busca Motorcycles has acres of space and a giant workshop from which to ply his trade. But no, the side of his house is so cramped that a BMW boxer won’t fit down the path. A Guzzi is a cam cover scraping affair, and only small block versions at that, big ones don’t make the build queue. However, repeat customers are the best type and one of them, Tim Merrell, wouldn’t take no for an answer and insisted La Busca’s frontman Jez build him an R series.
“Tim wanted an early model R80 with the classic alloy air box and ATE brakes, nothing too fussy design wise, just a solid build throughout with a fairly low uncluttered profile….. a bike that would see him through his biking days.”
Jez found a decent R80/7 donor and called in a favour from mates over at Lune Engineering in Lancaster. The Beemer was delivered to Lune’s factory where Jez stripped it down into bite sized chunks. Boxes of components were then humped down Jez’s garden to his shed and greenhouse customising facility at the bottom of the garden. The heavy part though was palletised and sent to undisputed airhead supremo Steve Scriminger for a full-on, back-to-new engine and transmission rebuild. One of the last jobs Steve undertook before hanging up the verniers and retiring.
While Steve was busy winding back the decades the mechanicals Jez fabricated a simple subframe and prepped the rolling chassis for paint and powder. Well not exactly. With parts of the project scattered around the country Jez had to rely on the plans in his head to make sure the final look remained cohesive.
The forks were fully rebuilt, as were the ATE brakes and YSS adjustable shocks improve both handling and looks.
Once the pristine engine and tranny landed at La Busca HQ the whole project was loaded up and taken further north to another friend’s factory for electrical work and assembly. Motogadget’s M-Unit system is operated by M-buttons on the bars and powered by a decent sized Shorai lithium battery. Dyna coils in combination with a Boyer electronic ignition ensure a bright blue spark at all times.
BMW aren’t renowned for producing the neatest cockpits so Jez swapped-out the levers for a pair from a Moto Guzzi. A classically inspired but bang up to date Motogadget speedo sits in the headlight bucket, protected by and enduro bash guard. In fact Jez wanted this bike to be fully functional for Tim, rather than an exercise in design. And seeing as Yorkshire’s roads (apparently) head up hill and down dale, with streams to cross, sheep to dodge and only the occasional spot of Tarmac Tim’s bike is fitted with proper mudguards and Dunlop Trailmax tyres.
The last parts to be fitted were the tank and seat. Tim is a huge fan of Singer Porsches, can’t blame him for that, so, inspired by their Manchester and Berlin custom 911s a light green was chosen for the tank. The tan leather saddle compliments the paintwork while a mix of crackle-finish and satin powdercoat protect everything but the engine. That’s been left naked and new looking and should take on a gradual patina as Tim piles on the miles.
And that’s exactly what he plans to do. Tim’s a rider not a polisher and Jez builds bikes to be ridden. After a preliminary 100-mile shakedown the carbs were rebalanced, valve clearances set and Tim was called to arrange collection. He suggested delivery which Jez agreed to, and set off…. for Budapest, 1342 miles away. But the rest as they say is another story.