Everyone loves a success story, especially me. Somehow a gorgeous motorcycle becomes even more appealing knowing that challenge and adversity turning up uninvited, trying to spoil the party. The Sinroja brothers Rahul and Birju seemed to hit the ground running last year with their custom bike venture Sinroja Motorcycles but behind the scenes life was dealing a fair few duff hands.
Bike Shed London 2015 was a pivotal for the guys, they sold a bike at the show and shook hands on commission builds before the sun had a chance to set. (You can read about their first bike and their route to the scene here). In summary Rahul gave up a potentially very successful career, ordered a 10lb hammer and smashed open his piggy bank before walking into the bank and doing the same.
During that show a chap called James liked the cut of the Sinroja’s jib and the craftsmanship demonstrated in their first build, a BMW R80 ‘R1’. James and his mate nosed around the bike on day 1 and returned on the second, James thrusting a hand out saying “guys I love this bike and can’t keep my eyes off it, I’ve not seen this attention to detail on any other BMW and I want you to build me a bike!” Rahul enjoyed that glimpse of what it’s like to see a dream materialise, telling us “The moment James said that, I knew it had paid off, taking that leap into doing this, quitting the job and spending all the money I could borrow from the bank!”
The Sinrojas might be young guns but they’re pretty old school in their approach, putting as much effort into customer service as building bikes. James became part of the project rather than a destination for invoices and was very specific about what he wanted from a custom bike. Café Racer with a hint of Brat and definitely rolling on chunky rubber.
To keep costs somewhere in the sensible range Rahul tried to source a spoked-wheel donor, settling on a decent ex-Police R80. As is the expectation of pro-builds these days the sacrificial mechanical lamb requires a complete and utter, back-to-the-frame strip down. Six weeks in and the project hit the skids, both ends it would appear. James decided that he liked the torque of the R100 engine but the budget wouldn’t stretch to a 1000cc conversion. Rahul didn’t fancy scrimping by using cheap components so the solution lay in a friends 1993 R100R. A newer machine with James’ preferred single sided swinger and monoshock.
Whilst on the back foot Rahul and Birju’s neighbours took umbrage with their slightly noisy enterprise and the council shut the workshop down, suggesting that operating a business from home is prohibited. Two months evaporated before a viable alternative was found, thankfully the brothers now operate from a bonafide business premises and the man from the council has been flipped the bird. Well, probably not, the Sinrojas are far too polite for such crude behaviour.
Once back in the groove the ‘R3’ began to take shape. Rahul might be bold but he knows when age and experience are worth there weight in gold. Scriminger Engine Developments has been the first port of call for many BMW customisers due to their vast knowledge base, specialist equipment and track record. Steve Scriminger is a proper expert with a loyal following. Heck, he even converts boxer engines for use in aviation. You’ve got to trust a man who keeps all your wheels off the ground. Ordinarily Rahul would send the mechanicals to Steve for the full monty but Steve had decided to hang up his spanners and retire.
Rahul is a pretty persuasive chap and twisted Steve’s arm into using the Sinroja Workshop to slowly wind down towards retirement. A win win situation, Rahul and Birju will leach valuable knowledge from Steve whilst he placates his old customers. A strong string to the Sinroja bow as they’ll now be one of the go-to engine and gearbox specialists for the custom scene.
The upshot for James is that his bike effectively has a zero hour engine and transmission, in a standard state of tune for reliability with all the original brake horses corralled and repackaged in super-smart matt black cases. With a chunk of weight shed performance should be plenty spirited enough for James to enjoy himself. Those litre boxers are real torque monsters and pleasure to ride when property setup.
What the R3 lacks in engine mods it more than makes up for with exhaust styling. Rahul had decided on a radical underseat system right from the start of the build and he stuck to his guns. The long headers run under-and-up to the subframe where they splice into slash-cut mufflers, one-off of course. Zorstec mandrel-bent and welded the stainless system to Rahul’s specific requirements so that the lines follow the subframe and the tone remain throaty. A lot of custom beemers are under-baffled and sound raspy, Rahul fired-up the R3 at the Malle Mile a few weeks ago, trust me, a lovely burble is emitted from the end of that stainless snake. And seeing as James wanted the option of carrying a pillion ceramic coated panels above the exhaust deflect heat away from the saddle.
The subframe was itself was made from the same diameter tubing as the original frame but with minimal triangulation to maintain the flowing, clean aesthetic. It won’t escape anyone’s notice that the R3’s boneline dives aggressively from back to front thanks in part to tank mount modifications. Rahul wanted the bike to look fast standing still and offer a slightly sporting riding position for the taller gentleman. The subframe mirrors this angle and will pitch James forward, avoiding that partially prone and feet forward “contorted like a pretzel” shape that Dutch often talks about.
Custom Upholstery stalwart Glen Moger ensured James’ comfort with a leather clad saddle of sumptuous proportions.
With the zorsts commandeering most of the under transmission real estate a battery box had to be incorporated within the subframe and seatpan. An unobtrusively sized lithium unit nestles behind the frame rails providing just enough poke to turn the big old girl over without having to cater for an original, power hungry electrical system. Towzatronics ran a new wiring harness with Motogadget’s finery plugged into the ends. The rear indicators are well thought out, protruding down and outwards providing stalks for the tiny LEDs rather than simply screwing them into the side of the subframe.
The Motogadget Motoscope Mini is a frequently seen addition to builds of this level and setting them into a rebate in the top yoke isn’t anything new either but the execution of that combo displayed here is particularly exquisite. Fastec Racing Components have become one of the most reliable machine shops for custom builders to turn to as their work is of an extremely high standard. Bossman Danny builds bikes himself and understands the minutia that chaps like Rahul obsess over.
A Motogadget RFID keyless ignition makes for a super clean dash, just a minimal array of tiny LEDs are set flush into the yoke.
Again, the vigilant among you will note that blue anodised compression and rebound adjusters aren’t usually found on Bavarian twins. Rahul had made a rash eBay purchase, a Yamaha R1 USD front end had made it beyond his watch list and all the way to the workshop. As soon as he offered-up the thick legs and twin-pot calipers he knew a phone call was required. James did the right thing and reached a bit further down the back of the sofa and agreed to the conversion. Fastec came to the rescue once again, machining alloy spaces to mate the old and new. EBC wavy discs take the place of the tired originals and braided lines are from Brit specialist Venhill. A master cylinder and lever from a GSXR actuates the brakes, offering neater packaging and remote fluid reservoir.
James wasn’t all that fussed about setting personal bests around Brands Hatch and opted for wheels to match the bike’s angry stance. Hagon did the business on the wheelset, 16″ rims and stainless spokes plenty wide enough to carry a pair of Coker Becks. With Firestone’s Deluxe Champions having become slightly passé Coker might want to run some night shifts at their Chattanooga depot.
Despite James’ journey beginning at a show where motorcycles are statically exhibited to display the builder’s skills one might jump to the conclusion that the Sinroja R3 now sits in a glass office somewhere and never sees rain. Not the case. James initially used it to make the most of sunny Sundays but enjoys the ride so much that it’s become a commuting companion piling on so many miles that Rahuls standard offer of a free first service has already been taken advantage of.
This might only be build number three but it’s clear to see from their bikes, the photography and the way the brothers are going about business that Sinroja Motorcycles is here to stay. Perhaps proving that tenacity and enthusiasm is just as valuable as experience and war stories.
Images by Ivo Ivanov assisted by Evgeni Chipev