If the thought of Firestone tires on a customized motorbike makes your blood boil, avert your eyes now. Johnny Nguyen hasn’t simply fitted his 1978 BMW R80 bobber with Firestones—he’s gone the entire hog, and fitted military-spec Firestone tractor tires. It’s turned the R80 right into a real-life two-wheeled Tonka toy, and though it’s nowhere close to sensible, it positive makes us smile.
Johnny runs Upcycle Motor Garage, which not too long ago relocated from California to Austin, Texas. Most of Upcycle’s builds have been café racers—however Johnny was impressed to take this challenge in a radically totally different course.
“One of my first ‘idol’ bikes was a white airhead bobber, built by Mark Van Der Kwaak, that was featured on Bike EXIF,” he explains. “I kept a photo of it as my wallpaper on my laptop for years. This build was my take on the proportions of the wide airhead engine, paired with the long frame of a hard-tailed bobber.”
The idea known as for a inflexible body, a springer entrance finish, and the chunkiest tires attainable. Johnny began with the 16” Firestone tractor tires and used them to set the tone for the remainder of the construct.
The solely factor left of the unique BMW R80 body is the neck and elements of the down tubes; every part else was fabricated from scratch. This allowed the engine to be repositioned too, in order that the engine sump now sits flush with the underside body rails.
The entrance tire is mounted on a dished 16” Harley-Davidson wheel, which is straddled by a TC Bros. springer entrance finish and brake setup. The rear rim is from Excel, re-spoked by the staff at Buchanan’s Spoke and Rim. Believe it or not, the brand new rear rim and tire are a lot wider than the manufacturing facility gadgets, so the rear wheel needed to be offset to clear the driveshaft.
Borrowing an thought from his associates at Sosa Metalworks, Johnny ran the rear brake rod by means of the rear body triangle. Up entrance, customized cut up handlebars are bolted on to the billet aluminum high yoke, sporting Kustom Tech levers and ODI Vans x Cult grips. A triangular headlight lights the best way, mounted upside-down on a customized bracket.
A 1.25 gal gas tank sits on the brand new body spine by means of customized mounts. Johnny says that gas stops happen typically, however this bobber positive appears good with a tank barely as large as its airbox. Just in entrance of the tank is a tiny Motogadget speedo, wedged vertically into the headstock.
The 797.5 cc air-cooled lump sits proudly contained in the customized body with a home made two-into-one exhaust and a Werkes USA muffler. Johnny rewired the bike round a Motogadget management unit and relocated the horn, regulator, and coils into the engine cowl. An Antigravity Lithium-ion battery and the ignition swap are housed in an aluminum field, hidden behind the transmission.
Like the bike that impressed it, this BMW R80 bobber wears a saddle-style seat for one. Tires this huge are positive to assist barely with cushioning—however on the finish of the day this can be a hardtail, so the seat is mounted on a small shock absorber. The bike’s customized taillight makes use of a small bulb (discovered at Home Depot) that’s been retrofitted with high-powered LEDs.
Johnny made the BMW’s myriad brass bushings and fittings on his small workshop lathe, then turned his consideration to the colour scheme. “The paint was sprayed in-house with a few different shades of green,” he says. “I’m a big Harry Potter fan, so I call it my Slytherin bike.”
The completed product has a protracted, low, and agricultural look that we like, with hand-finished particulars aplenty. While we expect Draco Malfoy can be far too scared to trip this, we’d give it a go—ideally within the grime.
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