“Titano,” a Bavarian brawler built for the streets of Rome…
Recently, Emporio Elaborazioni Meccaniche of Rome was given quite the challenge. A customer wanted to transform his 2007 BMW R1200R into a minimalist, elegant “special” (custom) with a 180 tire on the front — no small feat, given the R1200R’s telelever front suspension.
Fortunately, EEM’s lead designer, Dopz, and the rest of the crew were up to the task. The result is “Titano” (Titan), a knobby-tired Bavarian bruiser that oozes toughness. We can’t help but think of the legendary Kray brothers of 1960s London — hard men in tailor-cut, Savile Row suits.
What’s more, the owner says EEM’s incredible execution and attention to detail has onlookers asking, is this a new model from BMW Motorrad? Perhaps one of the highest compliments any custom builder can receive.
Below, we get the full story on this R1200 scrambler.
BMW R1200 Scrambler: In the Builder’s Words
A great challenge for Dopz and Emporio Elaborazioni Meccaniche of Rome to create a special R1200R when the customer said that he was looking for a motorcycle that combines the aggressiveness of a front 180, a powerful engine like that of the Bavarian 1200, and a minimalist and elegant style…all in one bike!
The Titano (never was a name more “spot on”) is all this, a job where you go from the study of the new frame to the English design of the saddle, from the “adventure” style spotlights to the turned brass for some fixtures. Everything is coordinated, thought out and the aggressive aspect of the tessellation is harmonized almost to make the Titano appear as a factory bike!
The Titano is a custom BMW R1200R (in Italy they are called ‘specials‘). Technically speaking, the most significant modification is the build of the front frame. Instead of the classic telelever inherent to this kind of BMW, we decided to put a 180” wheel in the front and build a new frame.
After having knocked around different approaches that saw substantial changes to the telelever without resolving the issue — ie how to position a rear wheel in front without compromising driveability and practicality — the creation of a new chassis seemed the best solution!
We included part of a Ducati frame with the project. EEM changed the front fork grade to about -1° to make the bike more comfortable to drive. Then we maneuvered the oil cooler position to make room for the front big Metzeler tire.
The triple tree we added to the Titano was machined from pure aluminum and designed to give enough space and solidity between the forks. EEM built a rear frame over the original one to make the bike more streamlined with a touch of retro!
Did you recognize the tank? It is a classic 80’s design and comes from a Kawasaki GPZ. This big tank, painted by E!designed and modified to fit the electrical equipment, the forks, and the external fuel pump. The tank was further ornamented by an elegant and practical outer fuel visor that was key to achieving the look and feel we wanted.
EEM does, however, confess that this is the second incarnation of the tank…the first one became a test model. Dopz (lead designer and builder of EEM) had to restart from zero with another one found on eBay. According to Dopz:
“That’s why we try to make people understand the difference between designer and builder… some designs fail when built. It’s a tough profession. There are no “Undo” buttons or shortcuts.”
Continuing with the modifications, instead of the big airbox, EEM mounted new K&N air filters (which coordinated perfectly with the seat color and their beautiful lathed brass buckles). Next, we added new powerful sidelights, an enduro handlebar, an antique seat to complete the look and feel. The engine, painted black in an unusual “diamond cut,” the exhaust has the same work, and it comes from a BMW RR.
One of the exciting things about the Titano is the bike is built for two riders. That’s why it’s photographed with the footrests and the plate. EEM created a motorcycle to be used, although minimal in its look it is complete in all parts.
It’s hard to say if the Titano from Emporio is a scrambler, a dual-sport or a city bike with knobbies…but for sure his owner is happy touring Rome. Many people ask him, “Is this a new model from BMW?”
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