The BMW Slash 5 series was built from 1970-1973 out of the company’s Berlin plant. These airheads featured electric start, telescopic forks, 12-volt electronics, and air-cooled boxer twin engines ranging from 500-750cc. The R50/5 was the smallest 500cc model, offering 32 horsepower, 29 lb-ft of torque, and a top speed of less than 100 mph. The “Little Boxer” was largely overlooked at the time, both by buyers and magazine reviewers, but now remains a well-built, rare classic.
Enter Andrea “Dopz” Erba, the lead designer and builder of Rome’s Emporio Elaborazioni Meccaniche (EEM), whose “Titano” and “Cobra” builds we’ve previously featured on the blog. Dopz says he started from the word “classic” — and the customer gave him carte blanche to create his vision of an R50/5 custom bobber that blended past and future. The result is “Assolo” — “solo” in English. Says Dopz:
“This bike, it’s a story that tells about my passion for details…I hope when I see these pics in 20 years, I’ll like the bike as today, as elegant as an actor or actress from the 40’s in a classic black-and-white movie.”
The build was previously featured by our friends at Pipeburn, but Dopz has provided a new deck of never-before-seen photos from @vd__photo, taken alongside another German classic and a helmet from Cast Helmets. Below, we get the full story on the build.
BMW R50 Custom Bobber: In the Builder’s Words
The build process:
I made a sketch after I shared some old BMW pics with the customer. He trusted me and gave me “white paper”. I started from the word: “Classic”. I had an idea of it and I translated and re-interpreted it on this bike.
I started preserving some original details (like the beautiful front light and the forks) and designed a new retrò-like rear frame to fit a couple of modern shock absorbers (cause I like to mix past and future) and give a strong retrò imprinting.
After I start lathing, machining more pieces I could to have an absolute unique bike!
As the blinkers, they are made from scratch (The inner electric LED came from a couple of plastic blinkers bought on Amazon). Or the valves covers, designed from the original one, TIG-welded and machined to have that retro but innovative look. (I love that, I’m thinking about producing them in a small production by ground melting to sell them… if interested contact me.)
Also the tail light was rebuilt, the brake pedal mechanism, the BMW metal logos, the foot rests, the mufflers, the brass and aluminum tank cap…to name a few… dozens of details… (Have you noted the small brass pin that keeps the leather belt up on the engine?! 🙂 )
This bike, it’s a story that tells about my passion for details. For me it’s no time bike, I hope when I’ll see these pics in 20 years, I’ll like the bike as today, as elegant like an actor or actress from the 40’s in classic black-and-white movie.
Andrea “Dopz” Erba
Founder – Lead Designer & Builder
Tel. + 39 3477806107
- Photos: @vd__photo
Follow the Builder
- Website: www.emporioelaborazioni.it
- Instagram: @emporioelaborazionimecc
- Facebook: emporio elaborazioni meccaniche
- Helmet: Cast Helmets