Full Motard: Big Bavarian adventure-tourer turned supermoto…
The BMW R1100GS, introduced in 1994, was the first of the “oilhead” GS bikes, offering an oil/air-cooled engine with 80 horsepower and stump-pulling 72 lb-ft of torque. GS, of course, stands for Gelände Sport (German: off-road sport). While the R1100GS was an excellent globe-trotter, capable of getting you to Timbuktu and home, it was a little underpowered and heavy for sportier riding, either on-road or off.
Enter Riccardo Micheli, founder of Toro Moto. Riccardo worked as an official BMW Motorrad technician for 15 years, and also has experience as a race mechanic in various championships, most notably the old 2-stroke 250cc MotoGP class. Riccardo and the owner of this BMW R1100GS used to ride off-road together in the 90s, and they decided to build a modern retro motard on the platform — a lightened, road-based BMW G1100GS supermoto dubbed the “Ultramoto.”
Below, we get the full story from Riccardo himself!
BMW R1100GS “Ultramoto” Motard: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
Hi, I’m Riccardo Micheli and I’m Toro Moto, a workshop founded in 2012 in Pistoia, a Tuscan city in Italy.I have been working in the motorcycle world since 1993 when I started on the official BMW Motorrad network and in parallel in the various Italian and European championships as an assistant and tuner (Yamaha, Aprilia, Kawasaki). I also worked in Honda and Ducati service for a few years until Toro Moto was born.
I have always loved off-road but the love for speed and the preparation of the bikes has brought me up to here…to the customization of the vehicles as a specialist in all parts and functions of the bike.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
The motorbike is a BMW R1100GS 1994.
• Why was this bike built?
Basically for having a road-based motard on a BMW base. Here’s the reason for the name — “Ultramoto” — a reference to the BMW HP2 Megamoto, but customized on something older and more glorious. The R1100GS is perfect for touring but has always been slightly lacking in engine and slightly heavy for sportier riding.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
The bike was built with the inspiration of the fantastic 90s during which me and the owner of the bike used KTM to off-road. Acerbis ELBA in front and Acerbis BAJA in the rear. From the beginning and during construction I am very influenced by vintage combined with modern and cut techniques both in the materials made from solid materials and in motor painting.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
-Tank built with integrated touch screen tool MOTOGADGET
-Exposed air filter with lids machined from solid, contrast cut and hand-made intake manifolds
-Footboards machined from solid and enduro style pedals
-Rear frame built by raising and sliding position in the saddle (openable)
-Vintage and new plastics ACERBIS, TT600 direction indicators
-Oil cooler repositioned with dedicated protection grid
-Front axle with front brake discs increased to 320mm and Brembo radial pump
-Engine R 1100 RS prepared with highlift camshafts, flush heads, high compression pistons
-Exhaust system entirely handmade
-Control unit with 3 selectable mappings
-Adjustable shock absorbers tailored by Wilbers
-Final transmission shortened
-Engine, gearbox and final transmission painted with special technical paint contrasted and reworked parts
• How would you classify this bike?
Modern retro motard.
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
Driveability and functionality linked to retro aesthetics and modern use.