Slovenia’s Gas&Retro builds an R80 street tracker…
The BMW “airheads” are some of the most iconic motorcycles of all time — modern classics that have won the Paris-Dakar Rally, raced in AMA Superbike, circumnavigated the globe, and developed a cult following of riders. They’re also some of the most popular donors for custom bikes, though we’ve admitted that we see so many BMW airhead customs these days that a bike has to really stand out to grab our attention.
Enter this ’89 BMW R80RT street tracker from Žiga Petek, founder and CEO of Slovenia’s Gas&Retro, aka GRMTO. Žiga, who’s been building bikes for more than a decade, opened his own workshop in an old barn three years ago. He’s always put a great deal of emphasis on designs that differ from the norm:
“When I finished high school, I tried to study art history but soon I found out that I would rather do stuff with my hands and check motorsport books. So since then, I’ve been creating custom bikes. I always say be different and I will say it a billion times more, BE DIFFERENT!”
Like us, Žiga was a bit bored of seeing so many similar airhead builds. He wanted to build something that the world hadn’t yet seen:
“I saw so many BMW boxers custom builds, but in the end, they all went with the same style or something similar. I wanted it to be different, something the world hadn’t seen till now from the BMW R80…and I hope they like it being different!”
We love it, Žiga! The bike, which has also been featured on Bike EXIF, was the source of several double takes here at BikeBound HQ. The design is so contemporary, the bike appears at first glance as much more modern than it is.
The tank is a Honda FT500, heavily modified, while the rest of the bodywork is one-off custom, shaped with an English wheel. The bike is now rocking Öhlins suspension at both ends, cannibalized from a couple different Ducatis, and brakes have been upgraded to Brembo. We love the custom engine top cover, which follows the lines of the tank, and there’s a custom battery box mounted behind the gearbox, clearing up the undertail area.
The combination of glossy and satin black engine finishes give the motor an especially modern look, and Žiga welded up a new set of exhaust headers to complement the Spark mufflers. He says there’s no comparison to the original bike:
“There are many improvements from the original bike, we can’t even compare it — stuff that was upgraded, etc. Like, say, the original suspension versus Öhlins…it’s a whole different world.”
Aptly enough, he simply nicknamed the bike “Different.” Below, we get the full story on the build from Žiga himself, as well as more photos from photographer Rok Plešnar.
BMW R80 Street Tracker: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
My name is Žiga Petek and I am 31 years old. I’ve been involved in bike-building for the past 11 years, but been on my own in my workshop for three years now.
I always loved bikes. I guess I got it from my grandpap, because besides him, nobody in my family rode bikes. So here I am living and loving what I do, and I wouldn’t change it for anything…except those days that nothing goes right, hahaha.
As for the styles I build…I actually like everything, just to make it in my own style, which people know who do it.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the donor bike?
The bike we spoke about is a BMW R80RT, 1989 year.
• Why was this bike built?
I built it for friend of mine.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
Style inspiration was a tracker style, because I saw so many BMW boxers custom builds, but in the end, they all went with the same style or something similar. I wanted it to be different, something the world hadn’t seen till now from the BMW R80…and I hope they like it being different!
• Does the bike have a nickname?
The bike’s name is “Different,” as that’s what it is.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
Headlight fairing with wings
Brembo brakes and brake rotors
Custom paint job
Kellerman turn signals
Motogadget m unit
Motogadget push button
Motogadget mini speedo
Brembo RCS brake master cylinder
Brembo clutch lever
Spark exhaust and custom-made headers
Custom engine top cover
Custom battery box
So, all in all, a complete custom build.
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride this bike?
The bike feels good. There are many improvements from the original bike, we can’t even compare it — stuff that was upgraded, etc. Like, say, the original suspension versus Öhlins…it’s a whole different world.
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
The process was pretty smooth, but I stopped for 3-4 months in the middle, because I didn’t have inspiration for the front fairing…and I needed it to be perfect to fit the bike.
Follow the Builder
Looking great. Congrats
It looks like a super motor bike you know I just don’t get something being called a Street tracker when I just built one that looks like a Street tracker because it was built to flat track but put on the street I guess I’m a traditionalist form and function is my motto if you want to to see pictures of what a real Street tracker looks like I’d be more than happy to show you
Belle rifiniture bello il motore completamente verniciato carburatori compresi, linea originale un po’ diversa dal solito, Bravo
neat bike as it could be for a boxer, tho scars on my ankles are urging me not to ride em boxers ever more
btw a bike without the front fender is a joke
Flat trackers and street trackers rarely ever run front fenders.
If you’re going to build a street tracker you should probably put 19 inch tires on it and flat tracker bars on too . But who am I to say what you should do.
Sure, but I think Žiga wasn’t interested in building a traditional street tracker, but something a bit different.
I almost didn’t even look! So tired of BMW customs, but WOW this bike is awesome! Great build.