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.