Flashbike: An exquisitely modified “860LS” hits the BaT auction block…
In the late 1970s, a new term was coined for the bold breed of motorcycle leaping onto the scene, with radical style and high performance, filling the glossy pages of the era’s magazines and the odd Milanese or New York street corner: the “flashbike.” Motorcyclist Illustrated defined the breed nicely in 1976:
“To qualify for this terminology a motorcycle must be rare, expensive, European, quirky, handsome, high-performance and a bit of a technical or stylistic oddball.”
Some say the outrageous six-cylinder Benelli Sei was the first of the flashbikes, and other examples included the MV Agusta 850-four, Laverda 750 and 1000, and one of the most attention-grabbing of all, the original Suzuki Katana.
The latter’s designer was none other than Hans Muth, who many credit as saving BMW Motorrad from the staid staleness into which they’d cornered themselves. When he was enlisted to design the now legendary R90S, his biggest concern was color. After all, in the early 1970s, buying a BMW motorcycle was not unlike buying a Model T Ford: you could have any color you wanted, as long as it was black.
“Thus was born Daytona Orange. It was how Muth rebelled against the status quo and one of the reasons his designs are so iconic. There is nothing subtle about the motorcycles he designed, not one of them, and they were all designed with passion and purpose.” –Wes Fleming, BMW MOA
In the early 80s, Muth was tasked with injecting some new life and excitement into one of BMW Motorrad’s lesser loved machines, the R65. The result was the R65LS (Luxus Sport).
Enter our friend Peter Boggia of Moto Borgotaro, a New Yorker who cut his teeth apprenticing beneath Chuck House in New Orleans before opening his own shop in New York, Union Garage NYC. We met Peter via his work with Keith Hale’s one-owner Ducati 750 Super Sport, and he’s the subject of the documentary Moto Borgotaro.
Though Peter has been a professional mechanic for more than two decades, he’s quick to assert that learning is a lifelong pursuit:
“I would urge anyone interested in mechanics to first be a student with someone more knowledgeable, as the only thing you truly learn is how to be a better student. After over 20 years I still believe this. There is no “master” — there is only a master student.”
Peter’s first bike was an R65 in metallic blue, so the 650cc short-stroke airhead has always held a special place in his heart. That said, the R65LS, despite its brilliant designer, never quite delivered on its flashbike status. Says Peter:
“It was meant to be a ‘flash bike,’ but the two paint schemes that were used in the 80’s — Henna Red and Metallic Silver — didn’t do the ‘flash’ idea justice.”
So when Peter learned that Siebenrock had produced a specially-designed 860cc kit for the R65, he decided to take a Luxus Sport to the next level, giving it the treatment of a high-end build while maintaining the integrity of the underlying design. (“Gentle design,” as Peter calls it.) Here was the recipe:
“1982 BMW R65LS (Luxus Sport), respectfully modified with stronger engine, super sexy paint, go-fast goodies, and sick suspension.”
Renowned BMW painter Kent Holt laid down the color — Lamborghini Gold, for true flashbike flair — and Peter says the completed bike goes just as well as it shows, far outpacing a stock R65:
“No comparison, faster, more precise, longer powerband. I built the same bike in the past for my collaborator and friend Roberto Serrini — the “Serrini Special” is difficult to keep up with in the Hollywood Hills and canyons around LA.”
In our opinion, this is the R65LS that should have been, a true flashbike created by one of the best in the business. Not only that, but it’s now going up for auction at Bring a Trailer. Here’s the BaT auction link: bringatrailer.com/listing/1982-bmw-r65ls-custom/
BMW R65LS: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and Moto Borgotaro.
My name is Peter Boggia. I am the owner of Moto Borgotaro Inc. I have been a professional mechanic for over 20 years, and I founded Moto Borgotaro in 2008. I began as an apprentice mechanic over 20 years ago in New Orleans, LA. The owner of the shop where I worked, Chuck House, is one of the most gifted, knowledgeable mechanics in the world, and I consider my apprenticeship with him to be the most important time in my life. I would urge anyone interested in mechanics to first be a student with someone more knowledgeable, as the only thing you truly learn is how to be a better student. After over 20 years I still believe this. There is no “master” — there is only a master student.
I also enjoy going to the movies, 90’s music like SoundGarden and Nirvana, and long walks on the beach…oh wait, wrong platform.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
1982 BMW R65LS (Luxus Sport), respectfully modified with stronger engine, super sexy paint, go-fast goodies, and sick suspension.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
The LS is an underrated, underappreciated model. In the BMW community, the R65 and R65LS is seen as the ugly redheaded stepchild, as it has an underwhelming motor and is the sole short-stroke variant of the engines. Brilliant designer Hans Muth — to whom we owe a debt of thanks for the BMW R90S, the BMW R100RS, the BMW R80GS, and of course the R65LS — may have saved the BMW motorcycle program more than once, and with the BMW R80G/S and its variants, Mr. Muth helped create an entire new genre of motorcycling — the adventure/tourer.
So where does the LS fit in? It was meant to be a “flash bike,” but the two paint schemes that were used in the 80’s — Henna Red and Metallic silver — didn’t do the “flash” idea justice. I have taken it upon myself, out of sincere love and respect for the design, to change a just few things while still maintaining the look and feel of the original bike. In fact, the best compliment would be for someone to say, “cool LS” — not realizing it never came in that color. I’ve always felt the importance of maintaining the integrity of the brand and design when I go about changing things — call it gentle design.
My first motorcycle was an R65 in Metallic blue, so the R65 has always held a special place for me. I decided to build this R65LS after reading that Siebenrock had produced a specially-designed 860cc kit for this model range, and they manufactured an asymmetrical camshaft as well. At the same time, I started becoming obsessed with the louder colors of Lamborginis from the late 70’s and early 80’s, and thought: why not build an R65LS with all the fun features of a high-end build?
• What custom work was done to the bike? Who did the paint?
The paint was done by award winning painter Ken Holt of Holt Design, whom I consider one of the best painters in North America. His knowledge is profound and his quality is peerless. Mr. Holt has original Glasurit paint books, and we went about choosing a Lamborghini Gold to make the bike really sing. The bike has the look and feel of a 365BB (Berlinetta Boxer) with the matte black on the underside and the flash color on the top. I have no doubt that Mr. Muth drew from this concept for the look of the LS.
• Does the bike have a nickname?
Sure, Bridget Von Hammersmark…
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride this bike? How’s it compare to a stock R65?
No comparison, faster, more precise, longer powerband. I built the same bike in the past for my collaborator and friend Roberto Serrini — the “Serrini Special” is difficult to keep up with in the Hollywood Hills and canyons around LA.
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
I think the turn signals are neat. I hate turn signals, I think they are useless, BUT…I do understand that some do not think this way, and being an 80s bike, almost all states would require them. The MotoGadget signals in the front are pretty rad, and they are way less disturbing than the originals.
More about Peter Boggia / Moto Borgotaro
A short film about Peter, directed by friend of the blog Roberto Serrini.
Follow Moto Borgotaro
Bella motoretta peccato per il motore un po’ piccolo, comunque simpatica e belle rifiniture e particolari curati.
Moto Borgotaro belle costruzioni bravi.
Great resto-mod here … great color choice too.
Would have loved to have heard more about the “sick suspension” mods which I have always felt was the most difficult and under-discussed undertaking when updating a classic.
For most guys it begins and ends with Race Tech internals (not great) or slapping on an upside down front end (looks all wrong imo).
Very very well done project. I like you kept the original beauty of that particular bike (!) Let me know if you plan on selling it.