Lord Drake Kustoms builds a BMW R springer…
The BMW R100 has become one of the world’s most popular donors for custom transformations, appearing in a wide variety of modes and styles: café racer, scrambler, bobber, and more. As a BMW, the “Airhead” has a certain Germanic mystique and character that has long attracted riders and builders, and the flat-twin boxer engine is nothing short of iconic in the world of motorcycling.
That said, there’s such an unending parade of BMW R-series customs that we sometimes find our eyes glazing over. Without a doubt, most of the Airhead builds we see on a daily basis are handsome, well-executed machines, many of which offer unique or highly original details meant to help them stand out from the crowd. What’s more, building custom motorcycles is no easy business, and workshops have to meet the demands of customers — many of whom want an Airhead cafe racer or scrambler. Still, it sometimes seems like too much of the same thing, an Airhead snoozefest, and it takes something truly striking, stunning, and different to wake us up…
Leave it to Fran Manen of Lord Drake Kustoms to drop this chrome, brass, and coil-sprung bomb before our jaded eyes. Known as “Survivor,” it’s a BMW R100 conceived and built to stand apart from the crowd:
“The idea was to create a piece of art on two wheels and above all a custom BMW R that had not been seen to date. It is well known to all lovers of the world of custom motorcycles that the BMW R100 series are possibly the most demanded and customized cafe racer motorcycles in recent years, but if you look at them, they all have the same patterns…and almost none of these BMW R have a springer front end!”
Truly, we can’t remember ever seeing an Airhead with a springer fork — certainly we haven’t featured one before — and the entire bike has a look and feel all its own. While the style of this LDK build might be too flashy for some, no one can deny that Fran isn’t afraid to challenge the status quo — and for that we’re grateful.
What’s more, the details on “Survivor” are nothing short of exquisite. We especially like the use of brass, which we don’t see too often, and the rear suspension conversion to a twin-shock setup.
Below, we get the full story on the build straight from LDK.
BMW R100 Springer Cafe Racer: In the Builder’s Words…
This BMW R100 springer cafe racer “Survivor” that we present today is the first unit of a limited edition of 10 units that Lord Drake Kustoms has begun to manufacture in our cafe racer workshop.
The idea was to create a piece of art on two wheels and above all a custom BMW R that had not been seen to date. It is well known to all lovers of the world of custom motorcycles that the BMW R100 series are possibly the most demanded and customized cafe racer motorcycles in recent years, but if you look at them, they all have the same patterns…and almost none of these BMW R have a springer front end!
After several months of investigating, Fran Manen (owner of Lord Drake Kustoms) started with the front end. The most radical way for a BMW R was to install a springer fork (something that has practically not been seen to date on any BMW R cafe racers or scramblers), accompanied by a drum brake rim for a more classic touch.
The other great challenge, and perhaps the most difficult thing in this very retro cafe racer, was to create another rear suspension system. For this, the swingarm was modified, the subframe was eliminated, and the chassis was modified so that two shock absorbers could be installed under the seat.
Then came a clean handlebar with inverted levers, sans buttons, along with a Motogadget Speedometer and a very original and unique button panel. Another challenge was to modify the fuel tank to adapt it to the chassis and then create an electrical installation that was as hidden as possible.
The bobber-type leaf spring seat support, the button panel located in front of the gas tank, the license plate holder, the battery box, and the rear fender and their brackets are entirely handmade. Brown leather, white powder paint, chrome plating, and antiqued brass were combined to give the bike its color.
The was originally a project that Fran planned to build in his cafe racer workshop in Miami. Unfortunately, in 2020 COVID 19 arrived and Francisco was in Spain at that time, so due to the impossibility of traveling to the United States for a while, he decided to develop the project in his workshop in Málaga, since he (like everyone else) didn’t know how long this situation was going to last and how long it would be until he could travel again to Miami, his other city of residence and where the LDK brand is headquartered.
This bike is the first unit built from a limited edition of 10 units that Lord Drake Kustoms has put on sale and has been sold to a customer in Brazil. Units 2 and 3 are already sold and under construction (for clients in Madrid and Dubai). But units 4 to 10 are still available to be ordered and shipped worldwide. For more information you can contact LDK through our website: www.lorddrakekustoms.com or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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