A classy airhead from Portugal’s Algarve Coast…
In 1978, BMW introduced the R65 as a 650 middleweight to the airhead lineup. While the bike had the same frame as the larger R-series machines, it had a shorter swingarm, subframe, forks, and a smaller 18-inch front wheel, making the bike appear quite more compact than the larger-capacity airheads.
While the 648cc boxer could only boast 50 horsepower (42 bhp in pre-81 models), it still managed to sprint to 60 mph in just 5.8 seconds and run the 1/4-mile in 14.3 — not too bad for a non-sporting machine of the era. What’s more, the shorter-stroke engine gave the R65 a snappy and responsive character that won over its share of riders, and continues to make this bike one of the more enjoyable airheads to ride.
Enter our friend Francisco from Rusty Wrench Motorcycles — aka RW Motorcycles — a custom workshop, apparel brand, and brick-and-mortar store for bike lovers on Portugal’s stunning Algarve coast, which you may know from the Algarve International Circuit — site of last weekend’s Portugal MotoGP.
The bike you see here would certainly turn some heads in the parking lot of the Portuguese Gran Prix. It’s a 1981 model, so it benefits from the model’s power boost to 50 hp and 37 ft-lb of torque that year, and it’s been customized with an eye toward a classic style. The subframe, saddle, and most of the brackets are homemade. The exhaust, tires, suspension, and brakes have all been upgraded, and the gas tank has one of the more eye-catching details of the build — Francisco’s favorite element of the build:
“The gas tank! With the recessed fuel tube. It was a very nice detail that makes it unique.”
Below, we get a few more details about this custom R65 roadster and more photos from shutter-pro Paulo Teixeira.
BMW R65 Custom: Builder Interview
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
BMW R65 from 1981.
• Why was this bike built?
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
• What custom work was done to the bike?
- Handmade subframe
- Handmade seat with special leather
- Handmade headlight support
- Handmade front blinkers
- Handmade license plate
- Handmade support for MMB speedometer
- Replaced the front brake pump for a Nissin pump, for a better braking system
- Special touch to the gas tank, recessing the fuel tube in it
- Replaced the exhausts for more classic ones
- Replaced the rear suspension
- Mounted classic SHINKO tires
• Does the bike have a nickname?
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride this bike?
You feel like a gentleman!
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
The gas tank! With the recessed fuel tube. It was a very nice detail that makes it unique.
Follow the Builder / Photographer