A BMW Airhead built according to the golden ratio…
For many custom builders, one of the challenges is balancing their own style, vision, and design direction with the wishes and ambitions of the customer. After all, few full-time workshops build bikes “on spec” — rather, the bikes are commissioned builds. Rarely does a workshop have free rein to build the bike they truly desire to build…
Enter Massimo Zancai, the man behind Italy’s La Motocicletta, a workshop that builds dozens of customer bikes each year. Says Massimo:
“My greatest passion is to give new life to commercial motorcycles, upsetting their essence to make them unique, playing between proportions and harmony of shapes, so I often find myself exploring new ideas that are able to merge the boundaries between art and mechanics.”
Recently, Massimo and team decided to build a “superior special” that would display their skills, talents, and vision without budgetary or customer constraints:
“We had the pleasure of creating something that would give us satisfaction and show our potential to the fullest.”
They started with a 1983 BMW R80, utilizing the mathematical rule of the “golden ratio” to determine the bike’s lines and proportions. There are no off-the-shelf aftermarket components here — all non-original parts were designed and built in-house. The engine was rebuilt to R100 spec, and the entire electrical system is hidden — “the real challenge,” says Massimo.
Below, we get the full story on this bespoke BMW R100.
Custom BMW R100: In the Builder’s Words
We have been in the industry for many years and after many jobs as the requests of customers (with their taste and their budget), we had the pleasure of creating something that would give us satisfaction and show our potential to the fullest.
We therefore decided, for reasons of image, that our site will only represent these superior specials made on our own initiative, showing people the potential is more important than showing the dozens of low-end bikes that populate our workshop every year.
In this project we have not actually cared about any expense. All the entire non-original components have been designed and built inside our workshop (from footrests to steering plates, from pins to brackets, etc) all in CNC.
The tank was tailored on the frame in order to obtain a harmonious effect, without external brackets that would have canceled the elegance, integrated with the rest of the forms, which contained the speedometer and above it the whole electrical system is hidden, this was the real challenge!
Every single component (from the front headlight to the rear suspension, from the foot rests to the tank’s cap) was calculated in its position with the mathematical rule of the “golden ratio” to have a perfect harmony on the whole. If you compare it with a stock bike you will notice that maybe a few millimeters but the positions do not coincide at any component.
The front end is an “ultra lowered” upside down fork to maintain a very low overall set-up (otherwise with a standard fork the bike would have been a scrambler), and the brakes have a double disc ø320 on a spoke rim with radial calipers.
The original engine (R80) was completely opened and reassembled with the R100 components.
Another detail on the tank is the livery, which it has over a dozen transparent batches, polished between each, to obtain an extremely smooth surface without steps between the colors.
The straightness of the lines, the parallelism between them on a three-dimensional curved surface and the symmetry between right and left of the tank makes it look like a digital letterpress.
BMW R100 Video Montage
Follow the Builder
- Website: www.lamotocicletta.com
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