A middleweight airhead packing big-bore punch!
The BMW R65 was the company’s midsize airhead, introduced in 1978. The 648cc boxer engine made 50 horsepower in the later models, good for a 0-60 time of 5.8 seconds, and the bike’s shorter swingarm, smaller subframe, and a lower forks made the bike more agile and lithe than its larger siblings.
Enter Jimmi Hyldeblomst of Denmark’s Unicorn Extreme Motorcycles, a self-taught mechanic who builds custom bikes out of his garage mainly for the pure fun and enjoyment of the process.
“For me the fun is to see how much I can do myself from what I have in the shed/workshop and sometimes different creative ideas spring out of that.”
Jimmi’s DIY is inspiring. Recently, having discovered the high cost of vapor-honing, he built his own vapor-blasting cabinet out of a sewing machine pedal, sprinkler systems, cheap water pump, and converted sand-blasting cabinet — and it works great!
The build you see here began life as a 1985 BMW R65LS, which came from the factory with twin disc brakes, lower bars, different wheels, and a small fairing designed by Hans Muth. Jimm wanted to build a bike inspired by the old R50:
“My take on it was to make a small compact snappy scrambler with old-school looks and funky lines to it.”
Crucial to the bike’s “snappiness” is an 850cc big-bore kit, featuring roller-bearing rocker arms. Combined with the bike’s tighter geometry, this has to be one of the liveliest airheads on the road:
“It likes to rev fast but still have a strong bottom end with the 850ccm kit. It feels light in the corners.”
Below, we get the full story on the build!
BMW “R85” Scrambler: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
My name is Jimmi. Almost 40 years young living in my own forest here in Denmark. I’m a self-taught mechanic. My motorcycle career started almost from when I arrived in this world back in the 80’s. My farther was all about motorcycles so you can say it’s in my blood. I love getting oil on my hands. For me the fun is to see how much I can do myself from what I have in the shed/workshop and sometimes different creative ideas spring out of that. For example I needed some parts vapor-blasted for my new R100 Scrambler/adventure project, so I called a guy to hear some prices and damn it’s expensive. So I built my own vapor-blasting cabinet out of things laying around like a pedal from an old sewing machine, sprinkler system from a car, cheap waterpump, big converted sand-blasting carbinet and so on. And it works like a charm! Even my old welding machine from the 70’s I’ve rebuilt.
The workshop is partly under construction. With eight bikes and a Chevy pickup I just needed more space. So now I’ve built a big garage out of containers covered on the outside with rough wood so it looks like a big log cabin. It cost me around 10% of the cost for a similar big garage. So good times are in store for me this year, I think!
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
Bmw R65 LS from 1985.
• Why was this bike built?
I love building bikes. I build them out of own personal interest. Build them for the fun of it.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
With this build I wanted to build a bike influenced y the old BMW R50 with the black tank and white pinstripe. My take on it was to make a small compact snappy scrambler with old-school looks and funky lines to it.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
850ccm big-bore kit with roller-bearing rocker arms.
New homemade simplified wiring harness. Custom seat and subframe. Converted to mono shock. Custom exhaust. Hydraulic clutch. Tank from a Kawasaki z900 (painted by me). Everything is custom-made even the tail light (from a dish washer). The speedo holder is a simple leather strap. It’s made by me Jimmi at Unicorn Extreme.
• Does the bike have a nickname?
Hmm why not “Snappy.”
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride?
It’s very snappy. It likes to rev fast but still have a strong bottom end with the 850ccm kit. It feels light in the corners. It’s funky fresh.
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
Painting the tank with 2k spray cans with the bad weather we have in Denmark was a challenge.