Fit for a Goddess: 72 HKG Performance’s BMW Boxer…
Sekhmet was an Egyptian goddess of war and healing, often depicted in the form of a lioness or woman with a lion’s head. Her name can be translated as “She who is powerful.”
“She was seen as the protector of the pharaohs and led them in warfare. When she was in a calmer state she would take the form of the household cat goddess Bastet.” —Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum
To build a bike with such a name, especially from the starting point of a rather staid BMW R80, requires a boldness of vision and a high level of execution. Fortunately, Antonio and Gorge, the duo from Spain’s 72 HKG Performance, were more than up to the task.
Antonio (72 Cycles Performance) and Jorge (Hell’s Kitchen Garage) came together in the post-pandemic era as 72 HKG Performance:
“The best of all is to create bikes with your buddy, and build one bike and only one for a unique person. Sometimes we think different, but that’s the way to enlarge the final result!”
This ’79 R80 was built for a client of theirs from Monaco, Moody — “the perfect customer.” Moody loves classic sports bikes, and he wanted a BMW boxer with performance and aesthetics more in line with his riding style.
“It was clear, it needed an air-cooled boxer engine, with its ‘swing’ when accelerating, but with current features, elegant design, and just the right rogue touch.”
Highlights include the modified fairing, custom steel subframe with Öhlins shock absorber, and USD forks with six-piston calipers courtesy of a Hayabusa. One of the biggest tasks of the project was fitting a 160 rear wheel, which required modifying the swingarm internally, welding the central shock mount, and much more.
The engine is now running forged pistons, breathing through Mikuni 38mm flat-slide carbs, and putting the power down via a reinforced clutch. All of the work translated into one stunning machine, with plenty of performance to boot.
“You forget that you are riding an old BMW! When I really felt comfortable and decided to check those Mikunis at full throttle — it was awesome. The bike ran into the high RPM so fast, and I saw 169 km/h on the speedometer (the highest speed was with a smaller rider. Much better than we expected!”
Below, we talk to Antonio and Jorge for the full details on the build.
BMW R80 Café Racer: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
We start around 13 years ago with two different brands, 72 Cycles Performance and Hell’s Kitchen Garage. We met at a bike show, became friends, and decided to work together after the pandemic time!
We are 72 HKG Performance now… The best of all is to create bikes with your buddy, and build one bike and only one for a unique person. Sometimes we think different, but that’s the way to enlarge the final result!
• What’s the make, model, and year of the donor bike?
BMW R80 from 1979.
• Why was this bike built?
Our workshop is located in Spain; we have a huge problem with the legal restrictions. When you are building a bike, you have to be sure that it will be legal for roads. When you have a customer from Monaco, you know that you don’t need to think about “legal restrictions,” and then…you smile.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
Moody is the perfect customer! He called me and said, “I love your bikes, I want one from you!” When a client unleashes your creativity, then you can be sure that his bike will be built just for him. Moody is passionate about classic sports bikes — in fact, he has a Norton Commando — and he likes the BMW boxer, but the performance not so much. It was clear, it needed an air-cooled boxer engine, with its “swing” when accelerating, but with current features, elegant design, and just the right rogue touch.
Sekhmet is built with lines that flow from the nose of the fairing to the tail, leaving nothing in sight that is not merely structural or aerodynamic. A central multifunctional speedometer presides over the front of the fairing, push buttons embedded in the semi-handlebars, everything is clean, minimalist. The hidden optics are only visible when they are turned on.
We chose the paint from the BMW color chart, hence that solid black, along with an anthracite with multicolored metal. But Sekhmet is an Egyptian Goddess, she must be different, so we put yellow accents along with the forged carbon of the colin — now it was what we wanted for Moody.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
I’m going to start by saying that the bike has gone through several proposals. From the beginning we wanted a fairing, we discarded what was in the aftermarket, that was already seen, we thought about the image she needed and…we modified a fairing that seemed perfect for her.
Structurally, we have built a steel subframe, which houses part of the structure we made to anchor the Öhlins shock absorber. Centering the 160 wheel took many hours and a lot of trial and error. We have built a transmission, modified the swingarm internally, welded the central shock mount, but the result is an R80 with a wheelbase 8 cm longer and a 4-inch rear wheel.
- Exhaust line made in stainless steel, adapting the collectors of an RT.
- Upside down fork, Hayabusa 6-piston calipers, radial pump.
- Rear disc brake, master cylinder and Brembo calipers.
- Reinforced clutch with hydraulic pump.
- Mikuni 38mm flat gate carburettors.
- Engine with forged pistons.
- Ignition, electronic governor.
- Motogadget M Unit blue replaces the old electrical system.
- Motogadget Mlock, keyless activation.
- Adapted rear aluminum footpegs.
- Powder coat painted spoke rims (note that each rim is of one color and the spokes of the opposite color).
- Chassis, swingarm and other elements painted in Powder Coat.
- Black leather Rolex-inspired seat!
• Does the bike have a nickname?
“Sekhmet” — it is a Egyptian God!
• Any idea of horsepower, weight, and/or performance numbers?
We checked out some numbers. Don’t know about the horsepower but…187 km/h is a high speed for that bike!!!
Weight: 178 Kg
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride this bike?
Sure!!! My first ride was like…fuck that is so stable!!! Race position, with your arms almost straight, feet behind and that sound!!! You forget that you are riding an old BMW! Five minutes later, when I really felt comfortable and decided to check those Mikunis at full throttle — it was awesome. The bike ran into the high RPM so fast, and I saw 169 km/h on the speedometer (the highest speed was with a smaller rider. Much better than we expected!
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
I think the concept, we almost used a regular rear rim, centering the wide rear tyre was not easy. And we made a lot of fails, but after those hundred hours, we are so proud of the shape, the way Sekhmet rides, and the powerful engine.
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Pics: @alberto_del_alamo | @eduardo_recuero