Introduced in 1982, the BMW R80RT was a slimmed-down, streamlined version of the larger R100RT, sporting a 50-hp, 797cc flat twin “airhead” engine, large fairing/windshield for touring, and weight of around 500 pounds. In ’84, the bike went to a Monolever setup, featuring a single-sided swing arm (“Einarmschwinge”), 18-inch front wheel, and an array of design changes.
Enter Thomas Jeukens of Belgium’s TOMA Customs, who left a high-powered job at a consulting firm to found his workshop, turning his creativity and passion for manual work into his own job:
“Mixing mental and manual activities generates a level of freedom and satisfaction that I’d never experienced before.”
TOMA Customs eschews the use of Photoshop in favor of a more personal, collaborative experience, wherein the customer visits the workshop and shares their wishes and ideas:
“It’s really about this kind of experience / co-creation project that we want to evolve and bring to our customers…”
For this build, the client had an ’86 Monolever R80RT that hadn’t been on the road in years. He wished for a retro, hand-crafted style, along with a brown seat and unique lines. Thomas and the TOMA crew were up for the task, creating one of the most elegant, visually-interesting airhead bobbers we’ve seen, complete with a “flying saddle” and minimalist electronics. Below, we get the full story on the build, along with
BMW R80RT Bobber: In the Builder’s Words
When we start a project, we first want to hear about the clients’ wishes and transformation ideas. It is a great opportunity for us to get to know our client and enables us to visualize what his dream bike would look like. For this project, the client came with a BMW R80rt from 1986 that wasn’t in really good shape. The bike stayed most of the time in a garage and has not been ridden for several months or even years. He wanted to give it a second life.
The briefing was not exhaustive but the client insisted that he likes materials that have been worked by hand, which tends rather to a retro look. He also specified he wanted a custom bike like no other, and that the seat had to be brown color.
After a few meetings, thinking and sharing ideas we got into the vibe of his dream bike and we knew the exact outlook of how the bike should look like. This is an amazing feeling, you know, when you see you went beyond your client’s expectations and ideas. After that, we just know we have to make this a dream come true.
Regarding the modifications, we wanted to play with the general line of the bike, so we decided to change the alignment of the original tank and align / shorten the rear part of the frame. We cut and welded a shorter subframe and replaced the original huge saddle by a custom seat base that we then sewed by our workshop. For the design and creation of our subframe and saddle we had as an idea to build a support between the seat and subframe that would give the impression that the saddle flies because this motorcycle really inspired freedom of riding to us. The difficulty here was to integrate the indicator lights and taillights within the subframe, but we managed to do so.
Then we went looking for the color combination between the gas tank, brown seat, engine and frame. As the client required it, it was important to build a completely new bike but that still looks retro, so we managed to skate saddle as well as the engine, use black satin color for the frame, but also give a worn appearance to the new exhausts so the motorcycle doesn’t look too modern.
Replacing the handlebar also helped work on the line of the bike. All the electronics components have been replaced by new and more minimalist elements (indicator lights, taillights, speedometer, lithium battery).
We love this kind of project and relationship with the customers, to take their ideas into account and try to achieve their dream motorcycle — all this happening in the workshop around the bike without going through Photoshop. It’s really about this kind of experience / co-creation project that we want to evolve and bring our customers to, discussing details, sharing what we do, make them come to the workshop to live the project together — not just buying a product, but living an experience together and build the motorcycle of their dreams.
List of modifications
– modification/shorten of the rear part of the frame
– aligned gas tank with the new subframe
– new set of LED indicator lights/taillights
– new handelbars
– battery box and lithium battery
– bespoke seat with brown leather
– painted frame and tank
– new gas tank cap
– new speedometer
– removed a lot of original accessories that were superfluous
Workshop: TOMA CUSTOMS
Location: Brussels, Belgium
Pictures: Olivier Truyman
Contact: Thomas Jeukens, +32 479351638, firstname.lastname@example.org