A 118,000-mile adventure rig from Eli Carver x Stasis Motorcycles…
The BMW R100GS PD (Paris Dakar) was a beast of an adventure bike, combining the 980cc flat-twin boxer engine and paralever suspension of the highly capable GS with a mammoth 8-gallon plastic tank, burly rear rack, high-mount fender, and other Trans-Saharan accoutrements.
“THIS IS A BIKE AND A HALF. It’s half tourer, half schoolboy motocrosser and, in its violet and white paint, it looks half Cadbury’s Dairy Milk too.” —Bike magazine, 1993
Other bikes were certainly faster on the tarmac and/or more capable in the dirt, but few machines could rival the GSPD in sheer do-anything utility and globe-trotting style.
Enter our friends Eli Carver (@Eli22Carver) and Cliff Fisher (@stasismotorcycles) of Texas. We’ve previously featured Eli’s BMW R75 scrambler and Honda CB550, as well as Cliff’s BMW R1200GS Dakar and Triumph Scrambler 900 — what now seems a prescient harbinger of the factory Scrambler 1200.
Eli got into motorcycles a little over a decade ago, when his twin brother Tyson — whose XS650 street tracker we featured back in 2017 — signed him up for a motorcycle class.
“During that first class, I knew I was hooked. Eleven years and more than 10 motorcycles later, I’d say that motorcycles are my biggest passion. My workshop is nothing fancy, but its one of my favorite places to be. It is actually only a 10’x20’ enclosed shop attached to a 2 car carport. It’s tight and cramped but it’s just enough space for me to roll in a bike and do what I need to get done.”
Cliff Fisher, a friend of Eli’s and the man behind Stasis Motorcycles, actually picked up this 1990 GSPD ten years ago, ordered most of the parts to complete the project, but life and other bikes kept getting in the way. A year ago, he offered the bike to Eli:
“BMW airheads have developed a special place in my heart and motorcycle travel is one of my biggest passions, so I knew this bike and I would be great friends!”
Eli sought to preserve the original charm, character, and utility of the 30-year-old boxer, while upgrading things like suspension and electronics, which have come a long way since 1990:
“The goal was to simply make this already solid bike even better on and off road, while making it as reliable as possible…. This is not the most custom bike by any stretch, but the things that were done, were done with a purpose.”
Upgrades include WP forks with dual discs, 21-inch front wheel, rear disc brake, all new wiring with Motogadget M-unit, Supertrapp exhaust, and more. In the year since he finished the build, Eli has made two long trips to Mexico and countless rides through the Texas hill country:
“I’ve ridden this bike more than 5,000 miles in the past year (which brings the total on the bike to 118,ooo miles), and I can say that I wouldn’t change a thing.”
Below, we talk to him for the full story on the build, which was showcased in The Handbuilt Motorcycle Show earlier this month!
BMW “R1000GS” PD Restomod: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
My name is Eli Carver and I have been riding motorcycles for about 11 years. My twin brother, Tyson, had wanted to get a bike since we were in high school, but it was something that I was never really interested in. In 2011, both of our parents passed away two months apart, and while we were going through that time, Tyson decided to buy a bike and take the riding class. After a night of playing music and drinking, we came home and he asked me what my Paypal password was. I thought it was a kinda random question but gave him my password anyway. Turned out, he had just signed me up for the motorcycle class too. I wasn’t mad about it though and figured it would be fun — it just wasn’t something that I had necessarily wanted for myself.
During that first class, however, I knew I was hooked. Eleven years and more than 10 motorcycles later, I’d say that motorcycles are my biggest passion. My workshop is nothing fancy, but its one of my favorite places to be. It is actually only a 10’x20’ enclosed shop attached to a 2 car carport. It’s tight and cramped but it’s just enough space for me to roll in a bike and do what I need to get done.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the donor bike?
This bike is a 1990 R100GS Paris Dakar.
• Why was this bike built?
A good friend of mine named Cliff Fisher actually started this project about 10 years ago. He purchased this bike as an old, travel-beaten R100GSPD. His idea was to refresh the good stock components and upgrade the items needed to make it a reliable, comfortable adventure travel bike. He ordered most of the major parts needed for his idea and got to work, but then life and other bike builds took priority.
About a year ago, he told me he was selling off most of the bikes that had followed him home (just admit it, it happens to all of us bike folks) and I asked about this bike. He said he was going to keep it and finish it up, but two weeks later, my phone rang and he offered it to me. His vision for this bike was very clear and very much aligned with what I would want to do with this bike so we agreed on a price and it followed me home. BMW airheads have developed a special place in my heart and motorcycle travel is one of my biggest passions so I knew this bike and I would be great friends!
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
The design concept for this bike was to make an already great bike even better. Though it is a 30-year-old bike, there’s no need to try and redo the already well-thought-out 9-gallon gas tank, perfect fender layout, luggage racks, etc. But things like suspension and electronics have changed significantly in that amount of time. The goal was to simply make this already solid bike even better on and off road, while making it as reliable as possible.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
This is not the most custom bike by any stretch, but the things that were done, were done with a purpose. A WP front fork was added for better suspension, which also came with dual front disc brakes and a 21” front wheel. A KTM rear master cylinder was also adapted to the stock rear brake lever and with the use of a BMW K bike faceplate and an R1150GS rear wheel hub, a disc brake was added to the back. This hub was laced up with just enough offset to clear a larger tire than it was from stock. All wiring was also removed and replaced with a Motogadget M-unit and new wiring.
Because of the wiring and front brake changes, it was easier to simply replace the handlebars with all new buttons and controls. The stock muffler was also narrowed and gutted to accommodate the new rear tire size, but once the bike was back together and running, the sound from this muffler just wasn’t going to cut it. So I acquired a Supertrapp exhaust system, rebuilt the baffle, and this muffler setup is much more usable and friendly to the ears.
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride this bike?
This bike is a blast to ride! Is it fast? Well, no. Does it handle mountain curves like a sport bike? Also no. Is it plush like a Goldwing? Nope. Does it ride off road like a dirt bike? Still no. It’s kinda loud, has ok wind protection, is just comfortable enough for a full day’s ride, and, in my opinion, looks simply badass doing whatever you want to do with it.
• Can you tell us about some of your adventures on it?
I’ve only had the bike running for about a year, but so far it’s made countless Texas hill country backroad weekends and two trips to Mexico. The first trip was for the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride in Monterrey. A group of us decided to participle in the ride there because my sister-in-law’s family lives there. About six of us rode old BMW’s down for a day of mountain riding and the DGR and had a blast.
The second Mexico trip was a little more in depth. I rode the bike from central Texas to Monterrey the day after Christmas to meet my brother and his wife, who had gone down a few days before on their old airheads. About 25 miles into Mexico, I had a front flat tire while doing about 80MPH passing a semi.
Once I was able to get stopped and clean out my undies, I began the process of installing the new tube that I had brought with me. I quickly hit a snag though when two of the four axle pinch bolts began to strip out with my 30-year-old BMW-issued 10mm wrench. I also didn’t have an air compressor because that’s the deal, I carry the plug kit and my brother carries the air. Well, after help from a federal cop, a Good Samaritan, and a trucker, three hours later I was on my way. Once in Monterrey, we all headed south and spent the next five days riding all kinds of roads through the mountains, deserts, and jungles of Mexico. From treacherous dirt roads, to perfectly paved twisties, and everything in between, this bike did it all without a hitch.
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
I’ve built more custom bikes than this one, but I think the pride and joy of this bike are refining it as a practical daily rider and adventure travel bike. I’ve ridden this bike more than 5,000 miles in the past year (which brings the total on the bike to 118,ooo miles), and I can say that I wouldn’t change a thing.
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Photos: Eli Carver or Ana Valdez Carver