FROM GREEN-LANE DOG TO A PEDIGREE WINNER
Shed Built Special: 1991 BMW R65GS is turned into a super-cool commuter
When BMW launched the R80G/S they opened up a whole new segment of motorcycles that grew to include a host of models with different displacements. The R80 and R100 are easily the most popular and well-known, but when former mechanical engineer Duncan Evans spotted an R65GS for sale, he knew he had found the perfect base bike for his first build.
The overall condition of the bike was “fair bordering on honest” according to Duncan. The engine was in pretty good shape and had only covered 24,000 miles. “The previous owner had used the bike for greenlaning and it had suffered its fair share of knocks and scratches, but had no bends in the bars or frame.”
The bike was stripped, with the pieces separated out so they could be reworked and then either painted or powder-coated. The entire process for cleaning and refinishing the parts took nine months. The R65GS is quite a rare beast (it’s basically an R65 motor in an R80G/S chassis), so Duncan steered clear of chopping the frame up.
The aftermarket stainless exhaust system was in great condition barring a hole in the back-box. Unfortunately its design meant that the original side stand couldn’t be used, so Duncan fabricated an adapter to solve that problem. Duncan cleaned the engine up and sent the carburettors off for ultrasonic cleaning. The tank was painted white and Fiat 500 grey, with pin-striping that matches the blue in the BMW badge.
The auxiliary lights were bought on ebay and the lenses painted yellow for that classic PIAA rally look. Duncan fitted a micro switch into the switch block to keep the lines clean and to avoid any bulky and unnecessary switches on the handlebars. The saddle has been reworked from an original BMW base, with the antique leather cover now spanning the length of the tank and it even surrounds the petrol filler cap.
The bike was always meant to be more than just a showpiece. “I wanted the bike for commuting, so I decided to construct a pannier from a five-litre fuel can that turned out very well.”
Having finally finished the GS, Duncan now has his heart set on reworking a Moto Guzzi.
‘The previous owner used it for green-laning’