We’ve seen so many bad BMW customs—and sketchy bobbers—that hearing both words in one sentence makes us nervous. But the Estonian outfit Renard Speed Shop never disappoints. They’ve knocked this BMW bobber out of the park, and straight into orbit.
The key to Renard’s success is twofold. They have an incredibly keen eye, and they have a near fanatical dedication to details. This handsome bobber started out as a classic BMW R100, brought over from Germany—but there’s not much of the original machine left.
“Even though the bike still looks like a BMW, it’s actually completely modified,” shop boss Andres Uibomäe tells us. “The engine and the frame are relatively original, but everything around them is not.”
By ‘relatively original,’ Andres means that he and his crew completely stripped, restored and cleaned the motor, gearbox and final drive. They left the stock air box setup intact, but swapped the exhaust system for a set of hand-made headers, terminating in Triumph Thruxton mufflers.
“The bike rides surprisingly well,” says Andres. “The 1,000 cc motor is calm and smooth, starts to run at very low RPM, and is also quiet because of the new Triumph exhaust mufflers.”
With that out of the way, it was time for some extensive chassis changes. Renard grafted on a Harley springer front-end, which meant manufacturing new steering bearing housings. They also lowered the front a touch, and tweaked the fork’s geometry to suit the Beemer.
That wasn’t the hardest job though; according to Andres, getting the airhead’s chunky new wheels to fit was a massive chore. Renard built up a new pair of 16×3.5” wheels using BMW hubs, aluminum rims and custom made spokes. Then they wrapped them in 5” wide Firestone rubber.
The front wheel was relatively easy to fit into the springer fork, but the rear wheel was too wide for the BMW’s swing arm. So the crew had to trim the swing arm, which also meant fabricating a narrower shaft for the final drive.
The rear wheel still sports the original drum brake, but the front’s been updated with a 320 mm floating disc from ISR, a four piston caliper from Brembo and a Beringer master cylinder.
“As you can see, the end result is quite macho,” says Andres, “and was worth the time and money spent.”
Renard also trimmed the fat off the back of the BMW, and rebuilt the shock mounts. That metal cylinder under the seat looks like a vintage oil tank, but it’s actually a support structure for the shock mounts. It’s also hollow, making it the perfect place to stash a tool roll.
The rear’s finished off with a gorgeous ribbed fender, complete with one-off mounting brackets and a neatly integrated LED taillight. The seat’s custom too, and sits on springs mounted just behind the shock mounts.
Just in front of it is the fuel tank from a Russian-made IZH Planeta. Visually, it’s a perfect fit for the classic boxer—but in reality, Renard had to build a new tunnel for it, so that they could house various electrical components under it.
Those components are mostly new too, with a Bluetooth-enabled Motogadget m.unit running things. The handlebars are from a 1947 BMW R35, and they wear Renard’s own gorgeous switchgear units. Other updates include LED turn signals at both ends and a Motogadget speedo.
Renard picked a simple military matte grey for paint, adding a classy black pinstripe. The only hint of color is a small red spotlight, mounted on the right and fitted with a yellow lens. (Andres confesses that he’s ever so slightly tempted to turn it into a miniature Bat-signal.)
As for the giant ‘One Sixty’ logos painted onto the tires: those refer to Renard’s new smokehouse. They built it next to their workshop at the beginning of the year, and called it ‘One Sixty,’ which is the temperature the smokers run at (in Fahrenheit).
“It acts like a moving commercial,” says Andres. “When I ride it, people cannot take their eyes off it.”
Why are we not surprised? We’ll have the pork ribs with a side of kimchi, please.