A BMW R100GS rebuilt by an elite Vigili del Fuoco diver after a terrible accident…
In his native Italy, Fabrizio Grillo is a diver with the Vigili del Fuoco — aka “Watchers of Fire” — Italy’s national fire and rescue service. Fabrizio has combined his passion for vintage bikes with his profession, crafting an array of BMW trackers and scramblers that incorporate parts salvaged from shipwrecks, as well as an array of marine materials like neoprene and submarine tubing. This is not the work of some big, professional shop, experimenting for novelty’s sake. This is the work of a man in the fire and rescue service, using the materials of his trade.
Back in 2015, we featured a pair of Fabrizio’s BMW scrambler builds, including a BMW R100GS scrambler. Since then, Fabrizio was in a terrible accident in which he nearly lost his left foot. He showed us the photos, and we decided not to publish them due to their graphic nature. Rest assured, though, that it takes a tough man to come back from the injuries he sustained.
While the doctors were working to rebuild his shattered body, Fabrizio set about to rebuild the bike he was riding at the time of the accident: his 1989 BMW R100GS scrambler. Again, he used pipes and curved metal from his underwater work, as well as a ’71 “toaster” tank. The result is nothing less than a testament to the man’s perseverance, rebuilding his machine the same as his body. Fortunately, the Powers That Be have taken notice, selecting the bike as a winner of Italy’s prestigious SunRide.
“With this bike I won the SunRide contest and are among the 10 bikes chosen in Italy for the most important contest.”
Below, we get the full story on this build.
BMW R1200GS Custom: Builder Interview
Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
Ciao, my name is Fabrizio Grillo and I am part of the core fire divers of Genoa. I have had a passion for bikes and the sea since I was small. My technical work as welding and technical drawing contaminated my passion for motorcycle, with the search for materials and solutions inherent to the diver.
What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
The model is a 1989 BMW R100GS
Why was this bike built?
I rebuilt this bike after a bruttissimo incident where, among the many wounds, I almost lost my left foot. After a year of hospital, where doctors thought of rebuilding me, I drew how to build my BMW two-valve.
What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
My idea was to download about 1000 photos of BMW specials from all over the world and do something that hadn’t been done before. Using diving materials from my job, I have designed a tail with saddle integrated that did also by fender and drainage Central carrier completely welded with system to electrode.
The tank is a toaster 1971 that comes from the USA and also the handlebars and an old boardtracker 1930 bought on eBay.
How would you classify this bike?
I would classify my bike as an urban boardtracker.
Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
Makes proud the fact that I built a BMW two valves that does not exist in spite of this model is very much used as a basis of specials around the world, and why my bike has been awarded and choice for important exposure.