Full carbon BMW turns heads
Classy carbon creation
‘ There was a time when no-one wanted Boxer twins, but now the price of donor bikes has soared’
This has to be the coolest BMW R80 ever created. Pete Hodson, of Siderock Cycles in Poole, wanted to build a bike that would satisfy a longing for carbon. “I bought this R80 as an abandoned project,” he says. “I wanted to do a full carbon effect bike for some time – and finish it in the iconic black and gold JPS livery. The black and gold Nortons of the 1990s were truly amazing.”
Pete, who raced at national level in the 80s and 90s has dubbed this cafe racer ‘Carbonesque’ and it’s based on a 1977 R80. He’s totally rebuilt the motor with fresh parts and fitted late 1980-onwards Nikasil barrels and starter motor which is lighter and lower geared. Plus the BM gets the latest Boyer electronic ignition.
A new lightweight clutch to give a lighter lever action and lighter flywheel are also fitted – again originally fitted to the later 1981-onwards model. The engine is finished with Simoniz Tough Black paint while the rocker box and front cover have been powder-coated and then all the ribs polished to create the fine detailing. The mounting box for the battery sits underneath.
The stock carbs have been aqua-blasted and ultrasonically cleaned then up-jetted and fitted with K&n-type filters.
Stainless exhaust headers are from Armours and have been aqua-blasted for the satin-look finish. “I like the way they retain that lovely yellow sheen,” he says. Mufflers are Norton peashooter style from Wassells, painted satin black.
The frame has been de-lugged and powder-coated satin black. Pete has fitted one of his own Src-designed cafe racer bolt-on subframes and seats, which he sells as a separate kit (he’s also working up a scrambler/tracker version). Stock forks have been reworked with progressive springs, heavier oil, new seals. Brakes have new seals and sintered pads.
“The shocks came with the bike,” says Pete. “I’ve no idea of the brand but they are fully adjustable with a remote gas reservoir.”
Stock R80 BMW alloy rims (shod with Dunlop Street Smart tyres) have been given a ‘carbon’ look, in keeping with the tank, seat and engine top cover.
The effect is applied by Wicked Coatings in Poole using a water transfer printing process called hydrographics. The carbon effect on the tank is ‘painted’ in three separate dips yet it’s virtually impossible to detect the joins. The gold pinstriping is also by Wicked.
The headlight is a pattern CB750 unit in metal because Pete doesn’t like plastic. Bullet-shape rear indicators are LED. Visible wiring is virtually eliminated thanks to Pete using micro switches for lights, horn and indicators with the wires going into a new Moto Gadget ‘M Button’ unit inside the right clip-on. Then there’s just one
wire from the unit to the M controller electronics box under the carbon cover on the engine unit.
Yes, it’s another brilliant customised BMW but what is it about the Bavarian Boxers twins that rocks Pete’s boat? “I accept the BMW is a well-used bike for this kind of custom,” he says, “but I’ve still lots of donor bikes left to create even more.
“Let’s face it, there was a time only recently that no-one wanted a boxer twin. But since people started customising them, the price of donor bikes has risen and once they are no longer economically viable, then BMW customs will fade out.”
But Pete is already branching out into other marques. “I’ve got two more builds on the go,” he reveals. “One is a 1976 T3-based Guzzi with a 1000cc engine and I’m working on a BSA with a Nourish billet crank which has been taken out to 900cc.”
Pete is a big fan of 1990s JPS Nortons
Livery harks back to JPS racing cars and bikes The rider gets a simple and stylish view