BMW struck a chord in the custom motorcycle scene when they released the R Nine T. Powered by a bulletproof 100bhp 1170cc flat-twin the R Nine T offers a smooth and predictable ride. It certainly isn’t sedate though. Give the throttle a twist and you’ll reach 60mph in just under 3 seconds and you can do so knowing that there’s a big set of Brembos primed to slow your pace. The R9T was never meant to be a performance-focused motorcycle though. When BMW created the neo-classically style motorcycle they did so with customization in mind and it was welcomed with open arms.
Since the release of the original R Nine T BMW has unveiled a range of desirable spin-off models. The Urban G/S celebrates their Dakar racing history while the Racer is a nod to the cafe racer scene. But when the R Nine T really comes into its own is in the hands or a capable custom shop like Belgium’s Deep Creek Cycleworks.
“The idea for this build was to strip a brand new R nine T to the bare minimum with no regard for comfort or mudguards,” says Deep Creek frontman Kris Reniers. “Just that beefy engine, a fuel tank and the awesome sound it makes.” The ‘Black Bull’ project came to fruition when a local BMW dealership, Peter Motorworks, offered up the project donor, a 2017 R9T ‘Pure’.
With most of the bikes, factory bodywork stripped away the fuel tank took center stage. Wanting the bike to have more of a classic appearance Kris did away with the factory fuel cell. In its place, he retrofit an early model R100RT tank. Despite how at home it now looks on the bike, fitting it proved to be a real challenge.
Along with having to mount a fuel pump into the base of the tank the R Nine T’s electronics, ABS unit, and alternator all had to be stashed beneath it. “That was easier said than done” Kris recalls. “We used the outer shell of the R100 tank and welded a custom underside to it. We utilized the space where the airbox previously sat for storage space and the fuel pump hangs from the rear of the tank, just above the gearbox.” The heavily modified tank now perches on the frame perfectly balanced and still holds a sufficient 16 liters of gas.
The classic touches continued with the fitment of R Nine T spoked wheels as opposed to the Pure’s cast rims. The fuel tank was topped off with a Monza style filler cap while lighting components were made less conspicuous by installing Motogadget indicators and a Wunderlich taillight. The stock handlebars have also been replaced by clip-on items from LSL and the forks wear rubber gators to beef up its appearance. As Kris explained practicality wasn’t a priority for this project, so the small seat sitting on the modified subframe only has room for one.
Engine modifications were limited to a fuelling remap necessitated by the move to wide-mouthed velocity stacks. The exhaust was also modified to remove the underslung collector and a unique muffler installed. The Siamese looking muffler started out as 2 separate SC cans which have been merged into one unit by a workshop colleague. Its the first time we’ve seen anything like it and although it had us scratching our heads at first, we definitely approve.
As for the paint scheme, it’s pretty clear that black was the main agenda. Very few touches of silver remain aside from those that Kris wanted to draw attention to like the exhaust and velocity stacks. The triple clamps, headlight bucket, wheels, shock spring and engine covers have all been given a Stygian tint. For the tank, however, they got a little creative and mixed matte and gloss finishes to apply both of the involved parties brands onto its spine.
Slick racing style rubber has also been wrapped around the rims for the unveiling of the BMW. Kris knows what looks good and likes his bikes to be ridden so after everyone’s had a good chance ogle the bull in this configuration he assures us it will be revised for street riding.