Heritage Boost – Berry Bads BMW R nineT
Kyohey Sugimoto, owner of Berrybads Motorcycles works out of a modest space in Ōtsu, the capital of Japan’s Shiga Prefecture. He has a soft spot for classic bikes and tends to focus his efforts on pre-1980s machines. Last time we heard from Sugimoto-san he had just completed a very tasteful Triton, a motorcycle that is considered the epitome of the 1950s cafe racer scene. His latest build, however, is based on a much more modern donor, a BMW R nineT and despite the Bavarians designating the bike as a Heritage model, Sugimoto-san felt it was a tad too modern looking for his liking.
When a customer offered him the opportunity to work on an R nineT, Sugimoto-san dipped into BMW’s own history books for inspiration. Although it would be impossible to trick anyone into thinking a BMW R nineT was a vintage bike, he has managed to find a good balance of old and new with this build. It’s been done by stripping away a few of the R nineT’s distinctly modern styling elements. This included the removal of the R nineT’s airbox snorkel, painting over the bikes brushed alloy embellishments and refinishing the gold forks in matte gunmetal grey. The biggest change though came with the modifications to the R nineT’s bodywork.
To achieve it retro demeanour Berry Bad’s R nineT wears all-new bodywork. Up front is a fibreglass cowl styled after the legendary BMW R90S designed by Hans Muth. Using his own creative license Sugimoto-san added more angular curves to the fairing to better suit the R nineT’s own lines. Perched behind the cowl is a set of clip-on handlebars wearing Motogadget M.blaze bar-end indicators. A custom bracket secured to the original handlebar mount holds the cowl in place and above it sits a Motogadget Motoscope Pro gauge.
On the rear end of his R nineT, Sugimoto-san has installed a custom made leather saddle with a cafe racer style bum stop. When it came to choosing a fuel tank, BMW’s bulbous alloy cover didn’t make the cut. Instead, Sugimoto-san opted to build an entirely new set up. Hidden out of sight is a custom fuel cell running the original electronic fuel pump. Covering the tank is Sugimoto-san’s own cover made from a hollowed-out Honda tank. Topped with a Monza style filler cap the new tank mates perfectly to the R nineT frame and works wonders for the bikes cafe racer styling. To fill the space in the frame revealed by the tank swap are custom side panels with hot-rod style dimpled speed holes. A set of rear-set footpegs replace the stock mid controls for a slightly more aggressive riding position.
With the new fuel cell occupying the space where the airbox once lived the intakes now breathe through a pair of alloy velocity stacks. As for the exhaust, there’s a new stainless 2-1-2 system. The new headers merge beneath the engine before snaking their way around the left of the bike. This helps to balance the visual weight of the single-sided swingarm. The pipe then splits again and runs up either side of the tail where it vents through a pair of short megaphone mufflers. This approach keeps the rear wheel free from clutter and helps keep proportions nice and tight.
Sugimoto-san tells us that the outcome of all his work has resulted in a much faster and lighter weight R nineT. While that is a great achievement in itself, its the classic cafe racer styling that really makes this BMW R nineT something special.
Photography by Rustless Hiro
Read more like this
Sometimes techniques for overcoming adversity are found in unexpected places. Scott Campbell found the solution to his personal battle in the form of a BMW R65. To help him through a difficult…Continue Reading
When it comes to customising older BMW motorcycles the R series airheads are the most popular weapon of choice. Fuss-free naked styling, an accomodating chassis and the iconic boxer engine configuration are…Continue Reading