The BMW R80G/S is the godfather of adventure bikes. Introduced in 1980, the G/S was the world’s first large-displacement production multi-sport motorcycle. The designation G/S stands for Gelände/Straße, or offroad/road in German. Says Silodrome:
“This was an adventure motorcycle that would do the daily adventure through the city traffic, the weekend adventure out to a national park with a bit of off the beaten track thrown in, and the expedition from Cairo to the Cape.”
This was no idle marketing — a year after the bike’s introduction, legendary racer Hubert Auriol won the Paris-Dakar rally on an R80G/S, and the G/S would win again in 1983-1985.
Enter Antoine Meister and Mathieu Dimier of Switzerland’s Meister Engineering, who built this 1991 BMW R80GS for the 2018 Swiss MOTO Show. Inspired by old trials bikes, their concept was simple:
“We wanted a beautiful bike that is really fun to drive also and that’s it: Light, powerful and beautiful.”
What’s more, Switzerland is very strict with regulations on custom motorcycles, barring nearly any frame modification. However, the Meister Engineering duo has their specialty in custom rear subframes for vintage BMW bikes — the only ones certified in the entire country. In this case, a chromed subframe stands out beautifully over the single-sided swing arm and Wilbers rear suspension.
Below, we get the full story on this incredible build, along with a deck of killer photos from Brice Daraut (@bricedaraut).
BMW R80GS Scrambler: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
I am a design and two wheels enthusiast since a young age. Indeed, it is at 13 years old that I acquired my first moped for 100 Swiss Francs. Since then, I have never stopped to evolve as an amateur builder and in parallel to my studies, towards larger and more complex machines. In the course of time, I was increasingly confronted by people who truly admired my work and wished to acquire unique motorcycles. I then transformed myself into a “surrogate mother“ for my projects, separated from them as soon as I was finished. This appetite and enthusiasm for creation made me realize that each client could become an encouragement, a partner, an accomplice of my passion.
It is therefore not surprising that I, having already transformed a small room from my family home (my old room) into a fully equipped workshop, decided to try to live out my passion and embark on the adventure of customization as an independent trainer. The Meister Engineering workshop was born. After some time, I met with an old moped friend (Mathieu Dimier) who still shares the same passion as me and we now both own this company and work together in our new and bigger workshop. We build these bike together and are really happy of the result. We wanted a beautiful bike that is really fun to drive also and that’s it: Light, powerful and beautiful.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
BMW R80 GS 1990.
• Why was this bike built?
For the Swiss MOTO Show last year (February, and we go again in February 2019 with new bikes).
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
Old first trial bikes.
What custom work was done to the bike?
- The Aluminium Mudguards
- The tank: We modified a old Honda tank
- The seat: designed specially for the bike
- The frame: treatment chrome, special rear subframe that are our specialty in Switzerland because we are the only one who certified on the road our bike (very hard to do here).
- flat black paint
- brushed heaters top
- camshaft 336
- camshaft Sport Follower
- cylinder kit siebenrock
- lighter flywheel
- Special stainlessteel exhaust
- Brembo front brakes and pump
- 320mm disc
- Trial handlebar
- The rear shock: Wilbers
• How would you classify this bike?
Enduro or (Scrambler).
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
The fitting of the tank with the seat and the original fork polished with the 320mm also.
More Detail Shots
Follow the Builder
- Instagram: @meisterengineering
- Photographer credit: Brice Daraut (@bricedaraut)