BMW R80 “Nightmare” by NIKS Motorcycles

BMW R80 Nightmare
 
The BMW airheads, powered by their flat-twin boxer engines and shaft drives, have become icons in the motoring world. Airheads have won the Paris-Dakar Rally, the AMA Superbike Championship, and circumnavigated the globe countless times. They’ve served as mounts for Iron Butt Rally riders and canvases for some of the world’s most talented custom builders, becoming an increasingly popular donor machine.
 
BMW R80 Nightmare
In fact, with so many BMW airhead customs rolling out of workshops these days, it’s become ever more difficult to stand out from the crowd. In all honesty, we regularly find our submissions inbox full of custom BMW boxers that are lovely and well-executed, but just don’t move us. Then came the “Nightmare.”
 
BMW R80 Nightmare
This machine comes from Niks Motorcycles, a Barcelona-based workshop born from the motorcycling passion of founder/CEO Nicos Marqués and his friends — true lovers of two wheels. Nicos started out on dirt bikes as a kid, then got his 50cc license at the age of 14 and never looked back. Soon, he was customizing bikes, working alongside his friends:

“Nicos’s garage was the meeting point for the whole group of friends who moved around by motorcycle, they could be there the whole afternoons and nights, and he, along with Xavi (owner of the Nightmare), was dedicated to repairing and modifying motorcycles, whether they were his or his friends.”

About six years ago, they opened the doors of NIKS Motorcycles. Today, they’re a team of four, who in addition to being co-workers are colleagues. This BMW R80 was unique in that it’s the personal bike of Xavi:

“Because the client for this project was one of us, there were no limits in terms of money or creative freedom, and that’s one of the main reasons why we’ve been able to bring Nightmare to life.”

BMW R80 Nightmare

From the beginning, the team sought to create a very sleek and narrow top line of the bike, which would contrast with the wide boxer twin:

“This way, when you are riding the bike, you get the feeling that you are riding on the engine.”

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The tank, of course, would be a central element to creating this contrast, and the team succeeded in finding and modifying an old Honda unit to fit.

BMW R80 Nightmare

Another signature element has to be the intake. Nicos, Xavi, and crew ditched the OEM carbs in favor of a Weber carb setup originally intended for a car — a challenging sub-project that earned the bike its nickname:

“In general, it was a simple project, if it weren’t for the carburetor, the set-up, and getting it to be the way we wanted it was a challenge and a nightmare, there was when we thought about calling it The Nightmare.”

BMW R80 Nightmare

Fortunately, they had the help of fellow Spanish workshop Voodoo Garage, who has experience with a similar setup. The work was definitely worth the result, as the intakes look amazing, seeming to flow as an extension of the exhaust and feeding the now 1000cc four-plug high-compression engine.

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There is so much more to this build. Below, we get the story straight from the builders themselves, along with more lovely shots from Jandro de la Puente (@hanpug.co) and Samuel Bleda (@samuel_bleda).

 

BMW R80 “Nightmare”: In the Builder’s Words

We are NIKS motorcycles, a motorcycle custom workshop based in Barcelona. We started building our own bikes in 2005, and later we decided to bring it to the public on 2015, when we finally opened doors. Actually, our team is composed of four members, and one of them is Xavi, the owner of this BMW R80 “Nightmare.”

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Because the client for this project was one of us, there were no limits in terms of money or creative freedom, and that’s one of the main reasons why we’ve been able to bring Nightmare to life.

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The aesthetic line of this motorcycle starts from one concept — to make the engine shine, the main character of this project.

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One of the main ideas of the project was to keep a very narrow line from the top view and a clean and clear line from the side. This way, when you are riding the bike, you get the feeling that you are riding on the engine.

BMW R80 Custom

To achieve this, we worked to get a tank that’s out of the ordinary in the BMW world. We managed to get an old Honda tank that fits perfectly with the width/size of the BMW crankcase, very small and narrow. Then, to maintain the main idea of the line, we built a seat that fits the tank and has the same width.

BMW R80 Custom

The tank was modified to fit the frame. The front section of the tank tunnel was closed to hide the electronics, such as the M Unit, which was placed underneath for a better look and finish  The original gas cap hole and thread were cut out and replaced with a Monza type, and we added a level tube on the front left side with “FULL” and “OH SHIT” markings on each side.

BMW R80 Custom

The front and rear fenders were replaced with short ones with a flange around them, and handcrafted brackets were built to fit the forks.

BMW R80 Custom

The original alloy wheels have been kept, while the forks have been replaced by thicker ones from a BMW R100R with its thicker and nicer triple tree. The new forks have been modified, shortening the length by 7cm and also shortening the preload setting. What’s more, the springs have been replaced by shorter and harder progressive ones and the fork caps swapped for a pair of better black aluminum ones — better looking with useful preload adjustment.

BMW R80 Custom

The rear shock was replaced by a longer full black TFX Suspension unit with compression, rebound, and preload adjustment.

BMW R80 Custom

Also the brake calipers have been upgraded to the R100R four-piston Brembo calipers, which not only look cooler than the stock ones but also brake better. To complete the front brake set up, keeping a simple and classic look on the handlebar, we chose a Brembo master cylinder with round integrated reservoir like the one on the old Ducati — it also give you more feeling on the brake.

BMW R80 Custom

To continue talking about the handlebar setup, we were looking for a comfortable riding position, so we went for a 22mm LSL Comfort black bar. Since we love Motogadget components, we chose the M-Blaze bar end indicators together with their machined aluminium M-Grips, the amazing M-switch mini switches, and the Motogadget Tiny Speedometer that is placed on top of the steering nut.

BMW R80 Custom

A machined aluminium spacer was created to get a smooth connection between the switch and the clutch lever mount, and all the cables are well placed through the handlebar and the steering tube so no wires can be seen. Motogadget sponsored the project by giving us a pair of Mo View Club (ECE) mirrors that complete the front end. Thanks to Motogadget for that!

BMW R80 Custom

To complete Nightmare’s face we chose a small headlight with a mix of clear and striped optics, with only two sets of thin lens stripes, that fits perfectly with the idea of this build, mixing the best of the old with the best of the new. The headlight bracket was handcrafted with three machined bushings and a thin iron rod, giving a simple, clean look that works with the OEM triple-tree threads. Thanks to Stefan from @Kooltcreations for his help on these and other details of the build.

BMW R80 Custom

In the back, the taillight is integrated in the subframe loop with a weld-in housing, while the M- Blaze Pin indicators are placed on each side of the plate with a tubular handmade bracket.

BMW R80 Custom

The rear section of the frame and the subframe itself have both been modified. Originally, the subframe was bolted to the frame and now it is just one piece, with the exception of the subframe loop, which can be removed by disassembling a machined joint, removing four hidden screws on the inner side of the subframe tube. The modified frame section is now angled the same as the front section of the frame, achieving a sporty look with parallel lines. The upper shock mount was also rebuilt to fit the new frame shape.

BMW R80 Custom

As for the engine, it has been fully rebuilt, from crankshaft bearings, connecting rods, and rocker arms to new 1000cc cylinders with high compression pistons. The cylinder heads have been rebuilt and machined to fit a second spark plug for better combustion. In addition, the intake ports have been machined and polished by hand. The gearbox has also been completely rebuilt.

BMW R80 Custom

For the four spark plugs to function properly, the coils were replaced with a pair of double Silent Hektik units and the alternator and ignition system swapped for a Silent Hektik Lima 410, a 410W three-phase alternator with Power block digital ignition system made especially for two-valve boxers. The battery was replaced by a Skyrich Lithium, relocated under the gearbox where it goes unnoticed.

BMW R80 Custom

Finally, one of the main aspects of this build was the replacement of the OEM carbs with a twin Weber carb from a car, which was not easy to tune, but thanks to the help of the Voodoo Garage (@voodoo_garage_grx), who did this before, the way was smoother than what could have been.

BMW R80 Custom

The rear looks amazing with the air intake trumpets in the middle. From the side, the longer and curvy intake manifolds look like an extension of the exhaust, and make a perfect connection between the carburetor and the cylinder heads.

BMW R80 Nightmare

The muffler and exhaust manifold, as well as the intake manifold, were handcrafted by Christoffer Martensson (@martensson_engineering). He even managed to do the foam and leather upholstery on the seat. So cheers to Chris for his help!

BMW R80 Nightmare

The paint job was done by Edgar (@tja_creates), following the original BMW paint design.

BMW R80

Builder Thanks

@Motogadget
@Kooltcreations
@Tja_creates
@Martensson_engineering
@voodoo_garage_grx
@maxboxer_javier

Pictures by: @hanpug.co @samuel_bleda

Follow the Builder

Website: www.niksmotorcycles.com
Instagram: @niksmotorcycles
Facebook: @niksmotorcycles

 

2 Comments

  1. This is the best build I’ve seen from you guys.

  2. Ted LeCraw

    I like the thinking that went into this build

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