In Old Norse mythology, Valhalla (“the hall of the fallen”) is the great hall in Asgard, the celestial fortress of the gods, where heroes slain in battle are received. According to an Old Norse poem:
“The dead who reside in Valhalla…live a life that would have been the envy of any Viking warrior. All day long, they fight one another, doing countless valorous deeds along the way. But every evening, all their wounds are healed, and they are restored to full health.”
If there was a motorcycle that Odin, the ruler of Asgard, might have deemed worthy to enter Valhalla, it would be the BMW airhead. The air-cooled boxer twins have proved themselves as nigh-unkillable battlers of the two-wheeled world, capable of surviving tens of thousands of miles on all kinds of roads, in all kinds of conditions.
Enter Judd Blunk of Woodacre, California, who’s ridden all over the North American continent, from the Nevada desert to the Colorado aspen forests to the north coast of Alaska. Judd lives and breathes mid-80s airheads, mainly building resto-modded GS dual-sports / adventure bikes out of his home workshop, dubbed “Blunk’s Garage” after the garage his grandfather and his brothers owned in Oxford, KS, in 1929.
However, when he found this 1986 R65 for sale just two miles from his house — and the seller asked him to make a lowball offer, Judd couldn’t resist — who could? After he brought home the 35,000-mile airhead, he set forth on a build that was a departure from his bread ‘n butter, the restomod dual sport. Instead, he created the R65 custom scramber you see here. We especially love the colorway — a tribute to the Gulf race cars of yore, most notably the Porsche Can Am cars — and the blend of modern tech and old-school hot rod style:
“I wanted the high tech to be off set with a vintage rat rod sort of feel.”
Of course, the man who builds bulletproof GS adventure bikes couldn’t resist over-building this scrambler in a few areas, such as the oversize brakes. Below, we get the full story on this BMW battler, “Valhalla.”
BMW R65 Scrambler: In the Builder’s Words
First of all, I am not sure what “style” of bike this is. Blunk’s Garage typically stays in the dual sport genre, but this bike came to me in a unique way. I saw a CL ad and this bike was about two miles from my house — so I went to take a look. The guy was moving to Canada as he had “had enough.” We talked for a while and on the first meeting we did not make a deal, but I gave him my number. About two weeks later he called and said “make me a lowball offer and I’ll sell it to you” — well, I cannot pass an offer like that…so here it is.
It’s a 35k mile bike, so other than having a layer of Marin county grunge on it, was in good mechanical shape. I wanted to eliminate as much as possible on the bike, and with the guiding principle of “form follows function,” I concentrated on weight, brakes, and simple electrics. This was the first bike I have done with a Motogadget M-unit Blue. It has no key — you just walk up to it with a smartphone.
I wanted the high tech to be off set with a vintage rat rod sort of feel. The colors of course are a tribute to the Gulf race cars of the past, and with the Acewell tach being the prominent gauge — it has to be one of the Porsche Can Am cars. I sort of over did the brakes. In fact, if I sell it, I may put smaller front calipers and a smaller master cylinder on it.
I fabricated the aluminum rear subframe and dash. My wife is mostly Norwegian and with the rivets, she called it “Valhalla” (where the Viking gods hang out, and where old warriors go after they die)…
It is a blast to ride, and I think it looks great.
Photography by Matt McCourtney Photography.
Follow the Builder @BlunksGarage