fbpx
Return of the Cafe Racers - El Solitario Gonzo BMW R45

El Solitario Gonzo BMW R45

This happens when one of the world's most creative custom workshops decides that they need to customise their shop bike. The 1976 BMW R45 is the daily workhorse of Spanish workshop El Solitario MC. Dubbed "Gonzo", it's a purpose built custom, designed to be practical and durable without taking itself or it's job…


This happens when one of the world’s most creative custom workshops decides that they need to customise their shop bike. The 1976 BMW R45 is the daily workhorse of Spanish workshop El Solitario MC. Dubbed “Gonzo”, it’s a purpose built custom, designed to be practical and durable without taking itself or it’s job too seriously.

“Built in the wink of an eye because we faced no pressure for results nor were we looking for a posh finish or complicated technical solutions.”

In their own words the El Solitario team describe that their trusty BMW as a “terribly underpowered but indestructible machine” and while it may be strong they had no interest in boosting it’s performance figures. The BMW is a workhorse so customising it was always about keeping costs low rather than re-engineering it’s performance. 100% of the work was to be done in El Solitario HQ so it was imperative that the build was quick as to not detract from other, paid projects in the workshop.

So what exactly does a quick turn around custom involve? Well it went something like this…

The stock tank has new side panels reducing it’s width by 2′ and the new, brushed stainless steel inserts were left raw. The BMW’s subframe was shortened and narrowed and a vintage Bates Desert Sled seat was attached using custom brackets. The battery was relocated and the bike rewired. A pair of PIAA headlights in a custom made fairing replace the stock headlight and an LED, Bates style light was fixed to the rear loop.  The forks, brakes, carbs, transmission and heads all received an overhaul to keep it running reliably and the engine breathes more freely through the new exhaust and open velocity stacks. The ride was improved by adding a pair of Redwing rear shocks and an 18’/21′ wheel set up running Michelin rubber.



“Although confessed admirers of Hunter S. Thompson, the name Gonzo does not come from his attitude of journalism, but because of the bikes resemblance to the great Gonzo from The Muppets.”

The only aspect of the Gonzo’s build that wasn’t completed by the ESMC team was the artwork and gold leaf on its tank. For thos ESMC enlisted the help of Maxwell Paternoster AKA: Corpses from Hell whose whacky style of illustration is perfectly suited to The Gonzo’s anything goes design.

 
It’s a rare treat to hear the bikes I feature in action however El Solitario, being the forward thinkers they are, provide sound clips of each of their builds on the website. Custom workshops around the world please take note, this is what we want!

Read more like this

Return of the Cafe Racers - Transforming a Tourer – Si Mantas R1200RT

Transforming a Tourer – Si Mantas R1200RT

In full dress, the BMW R1200RT tips the scales at hefty 259kg. This is by no means an ideal starting point for any cafe racer build. This doesn’t mean it can’t be…

Continue Reading
Return of the Cafe Racers - Bigger Badder Beemer – Gallows Garage K120

Bigger Badder Beemer – Gallows Garage K120

Perth’s Kaylan Galloway is a guy who likes to do things the hard way. Probably because he can. A welder by trade, he is a one-man band on a mission. Being a…

Continue Reading
Return of the Cafe Racers - Chop Talk – Revival Cycles BMW R18

Chop Talk – Revival Cycles BMW R18

The Katze is finally out of the Tasche. BMW Motorrad has unveiled its highly anticipated R18 concept. As we all suspected they dropped that massive new 1800cc boxer twin into a cruiser…

Continue Reading