BT1100 Bulldog from Martin Buchmayr x i-flow…
Introduced in 2002, the Yamaha BT1100 Bulldog was quite an interesting machine, a hard-to-classify V-twin roadster with Italian roots:
“The Bulldog has been conceived, developed and assembled by Belgarda Yamaha, in Italy, under gentle far-eastern supervision.” –Visor Down
Then there’s the engine. Look familiar? That’s because the 1063cc air-cooled SOHC V-twin is straight from the Yamaha XV1100 Virago — a bike introduced back in 1986!
Though the bike drew comparisons to the Ducati Monster, it was really its own machine — one loved by its owners:
“Above all, the Bulldog is one hell of an urban tool. I had a hard time trying to recall a bike that was so much fun to just hop on and go for those little errands — to my lover’s or to get (cigarette!) rolling papers from the corner shop.” –Motorcycle.com
“The bike was solely built because it’s kind of the weirdest XV engine powered motorcycle…. It’s a mix of a modern naked bike with an older, long-established XV engine — which is not the most powerful, but very robust.”
He obtained this particular ’03 BT1100 with some very nice parts already in place, including Öhlins suspension, Akrapovic mufflers, and Kineo wheels. However, the lines of the bike just didn’t flow right, so Martin enlisted the help of his good friend Wolfgang Kuzma aka i-flow — a fabricator and custom painter who works not only on bikes, but vintage cars, bicycles, furniture, and more.
“He has a very classic approach of doing things, and is skilled in stuff like pinstriping / lettering, working with and restoring fiberglass and carbon fiber bodywork, and even wood crafting.”
They lengthened the tank to include the seating area, creating a monocoque-like body that hides the electrics, which include a Motogadget mo.unit and mo.lock, Ignitech ignition, and LiIon battery. They updated all of the lighting and gauges, and went with a Yamaha speed block-inspired paint scheme in candy metal flake.
Martin says the bike not only looks much better than the original, but it’s a hoot to ride:
“The suspension elements are way more sports orientated. The current owner, Marc Stütz, is a very talented motocross rider and mostly enjoys that he can ride the BT to the fullest like his cross bikes, without ‘risking it all.'”
Below, we talk to Martin for the full details on the build. Studio shots courtesy of Christian Haas.
Yamaha BT1100 Custom: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
Hey guys, I’m Martin Buchmayr, and together with my good friend Wolfgang Kuzma a.k.a “i-flow,” we built a Yamaha BT1100 “Bulldog,” which is the second motorcycle project we’ve worked on together.
I had the idea of using this model as a donor for a custom bike with Wolfgang, because I thought it would not be easily reduced to a more classic kind of ride. I knew that it would become something experimental and special with its very own unique look.
Wolfgang doesn’t identify himself as a custom bike builder per se — he is very talented in almost any aspect of customizing anything, but when it comes down to how he refers to himself, he probably would describe himself as a fabricator and custom painter — self-employed for 14 years. He not only works on motorcycles, but many 30s to 60s cars — bicycles and furniture go through his hands too.
He has a very classic approach of doing things, and is skilled in stuff like pinstriping / lettering, working with and restoring fiberglass and carbon fiber bodywork, and even wood crafting. Honorable mentioning, he has painted several bikes for Vagabund Moto and Titan Motorcycles without going into further details.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the donor bike?
It’s a 2003 Yamaha BT1100.
• Why was this bike built?
The bike was solely built because it’s kind of the weirdest XV engine powered motorcycle. The BT was originally assembled in Italy at the Belgarda factory. It’s a mix of a modern naked bike with an older, long-established XV engine – which is not the most powerful, but very robust. It seems fairly odd to compare the BT to its Italian competitor / rival of this time, the Ducati Monster, because the Monster was a way sportier ride while the BT was a sporty bike just by looks.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
Fortunately, the bike was already technically quite advanced as I got it. The base parts consisted of an Öhlins FGR front end and an Öhlins TTX rear shock. A Haslacher brand tangential manifold led to carbon fiber Akrapovic mufflers off of a Kawasaki Z1000. And lastly, the Kineo wheels top off the crazy expensive parts on this bike.
On the other hand the original lines weren’t flowing that well. This is where Wolfgang came into play.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
The original tank was way too bulky on its own, so we lengthened the tank to include the whole seating area. It’s now more like a monocoque body that also hides all the electrics.
We wanted to adapt the Yard-built colors of the Yamaha heritage line and used candy/metal flake paint to give it extra depth on this huge surface.
For the electrics under the seat, I used the Motogadget mo.unit, an Ignitech ignition unit, a LiIon battery, and the Motogadget mo.lock, which were all placed together without significant space problems.
At the front we used a Motogadget Mini Speedo and Messner Moto switches on a Fatbar handlebar. For lighting we went with classic Kellermann Rhombus indicators and a bright LED headlight, which was also painted in the same color as the frame.
• Does the bike have a nickname?
Yes, it does. It’s called Leopold. Like Leopard.
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride this bike?
I can. It is still a cruiser but with a twist. That exhaust system sound is very bass-heavy. Thanks to the tangential manifold both mufflers are in-line beating, just like a drum.
The seating position is slightly leaned forward compared to the original and, of course, the suspension elements are way more sports orientated.
The current owner, Marc Stütz, is a very talented motocross rider and mostly enjoys that he can ride the BT to the fullest like his cross bikes, without “risking it all.”
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
Sure. To make the tank, rear frame, and seat flow as well as it does now was hard but really was worth the effort in the end. Of course, there are bikes that can be modified and turned into something cool way easier. Wolfgang did an excellent job.