What better way to celebrate a motorcycle workshop’s 10 year anniversary than with a build that showcases everything they’re capable of. This was exactly what Danilo Biello, founder of the Italian workshop ‘Custom Creations’, set out to achieve with his latest BMW cafe racer project.
Based on a 1996 BMW R100R the project he has coined ‘The Rise’ came about thanks to one of Danilo’s loyal customers.
“Benedetto is the owner of the R100R. He’s not only one of my best clients, but he’s also a good friend, a motorcycle collector and directly involved in our workshop marketing, events and social communication,” says Danilo. “He wanted an R100R that was collecting dust in his garage to be the best custom BMW we were able to imagine.”
During each build, the Custom Creations team dip into an impressive assortment of in house skills. This could be as simple as installing aftermarket parts – to CAD modelling and CNC milling one-off components from scratch. For this project however they went all out using almost every in house skill and technique to realise Benedetto’s challenging request.
This approach does of course introduce many other challenges. The biggest challenge by far however was creating a bike with a cohesive look using all of these techniques. You have the smooth organic lines of hand-shaped aluminium versus the harder-edged, angular forms created by a CNC. In theory, it sounds like a recipe for disaster, but here Danilo and his team have seemingly achieved the impossible.
Before any work could begin Danilo put a lot of thought into the street-legal aspect of the project. Benedetto stipulated that everything done to the R100R had to be legal according to strict TUV laws. His first step in achieving this was to not mess with the bikes fuel tank. As a result, the R100R wears a stock aluminium fuel tank. But beyond the fuel tank, almost everything else has been fettled with in some way.
“As I usually do, I started with the front end,” says Danilo. “The Marzocchi RAC50 suspension came from an MV Agusta. With 50mm legs, it’s the biggest front end on the market that we could fit onto the R100R.”
Fitting a set of forks this big to the bike was no bolt-on affair. Installing them necessitated the design and build of CNC triple trees milled from premium grade T7030 aluminium. During the time spent in CAD, it was also decided that the bike should run a Motogadget Chronoclassic gauge so it was integrated into the design of the top clamp along with battery and rev limit warning lights.
The beefy new front end immediately set the tone for the rest of the build. So from there on, everything that was added had to be both muscular looking and performance-focused.
So to complete the front end upgrades – Custom Creations fit high-spec Brembo callipers and rotors and bolted an Ohlins steering damper to the lower clamp. The new hand controls sit on a set of blacked-out Robby Moto clip-on handlebars which have been adorned with some of the finest motorcycle accessories on the market. These include Motogadget bar-end m.Blaze disc turn signals, Motogadget grips and Motogadget Mo.View glassless mirrors. To complement the brake package they’ve added Brembo brake and clutch hydraulic master cylinders and their own, Custom Creations micro-series handlebar switches.
For the rear half of the suspension package, Benedetto had a special request.
“Benny was sick of the R100R’s 120mm rear tire and asked me to do ‘whatever it takes to go bigger,’ Danilo recalls. “It was not that easy, but the result is really cool. We decided to build a new rear swingarm from CNC but opted to retain the stock paralever shaft.”
In order to meet TUV regulations, the Custom Creations swingarm is the same length as the stock R100R affair. However, they were able to increase to offset by 30mm which then allowed the fitment of much wider 180mm Pirelli Diablo rubber. The whole process took 6 weeks to complete, but the finished result was well worth the effort.
As for the rear suspension, the R100R is running a setup you may recall seeing before. Usually installed on K model BMW’s (including Danilo’s own bike) the horizontal type rear suspension was designed by Gustavo, Rodrigo of Retro Rides. In order to fit it to the R100R Danilo adjusted the lengths to suit which, unsurprisingly, worked a treat. The rear shock itself is a modern YSS unit.
“The tail section drove me crazy! I knew it could have made the bike a ‘one of many’ or a ‘one of a kind’ says Danilo. “I also wanted to stiffen up the soft frame and to add something different than the usual bent tube subframe.”
The result of Danilo’s hard work is any but run of the mill.
The CNC milled subframe achieves all of Danilo’s goals in one visually striking and lightweight package. The centrally mounted setup stretches rearward to support the custom tail unit but also reaches forward under the backbone of the frame. Installed using triangulated mounting points it adds significant rigidity to the chassis as well as occupying the awkward empty space left where the airbox once sat. Completing the design is a CNC license plate bracket on a pivoting arm which Danilo admits people are going to either love or hate.
The remainder of the modifications are predominantly premium aftermarket add-ons. Sitting within the aluminium tail is a lightweight lithium battery. You’ll also find an LED tail light built into the design and Motogadget M.Blaze Pin indicators on the license plate holder. Sitting alongside the battery is a Motogadget M.unit which manages electrical duties.
To ensure their BMW R100R runs as good as it looks Custom Creations also completed a comprehensive rebuild of the boxer twin. To complete the overhaul the cases have been finished with black wrinkle paint and the head fins and emblems shaved back to silver. Custom CNC cylinder covers tie in nicely with the bike’s bevvy of CNC bits and, like the others on the bike, they’ve been hand finished for a smoother look.
Finally, to ensure Benedetto’s R100R had performance befitting of its appearance, Custom Creations made a few power upgrades.
Replacing the original Bing carbs on the intakes are 38mm Dellortos that inhale via K&N filters. Then, for a significant exhaust upgrade, they installed a full SES stainless 2-into-1 system capped with a throaty HP Corse muffler.
So despite sounding like a potential recipe for disaster, the use of both modern and classic techniques here has worked a treat. Custom Creations R100R would look right at home amongst BMW’s current heritage range but with the added bonus of being an absolute one of a kind.
We’ve no doubt Benedetto is as impressed by the result as we are.