The BMW R80, built from 1978-1994, featured an ~800cc version of the venerable “airhead” flat-twin boxer engine, offering 51 horsepower to the rear wheel through a low-maintenance shaft drive. The bike cost nearly 50% more than contemporary Japanese shaft-drive touring bikes, but it was a proven design with a long and storied pedigree:
“BMW have built their reputation almost solely on the touring virtues of their flat twins, so it was a pleasant reminder when I rode the R80 that a balance of performance and ride properties can produce a versatility based on excellent rather than average capability in every department.” —Bike, 1980.
Fast forward 40 years, and the airheads have become darlings of the new wave custom scene. While they’re a great platform, an airhead build really has to stand out these days to pique our interest.
Enter Maarten Bressers of Moto Rebuild, who’s been building custom bikes with this father since 2016. Based out of Eindhoven, the fifth-largest city in the Netherlands, they build bikes as a hobby, making the most of smaller budgets and doing as much of the work as they can by hand, rather than relying on so many expensive aftermarket parts.
This build, appropriately nicknamed “Woodmachine,” immediately caught our attention. While it’s certainly not the first time we’ve seen woodwork incorporated into a custom build, rarely have we liked it this much. It gives this airhead a truly elegant look without detracting from the bike’s practicality.
BMW R80 Custom: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
Since 2016, I’ve been customizing motorcycles with my dad. It’s really a passion — we want to build nice bikes with a small budget.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
1985 BMW R80RT.
• Why was this bike built?
We always build just as a hobby — for something fun to ride.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
A futuristic wood look.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
We did everything by hand — custom rear subframe, license plate bracket, wood inserts, etc.
• Does the bike have a nickname?
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride this bike?
It’s a really proud feeling. You sit for one minute in the town center and everyone’s phones come out of their pockets to take a picture.
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
The straight lines and the bodywork.