Lean, Mean, Green: BREW’s 349-lb boxer, built for mountain roads!
To those in the know, Steve “Brewdude” Garn of BREW (Blue Ridge Electric & Welding) needs no introduction — he’s a legend in the world of two wheels, both motorbikes and bicycles. “Brew” was building engines by the time he was 12, ranked 3rd in the 125cc mx class at the national level, and opened his workshop in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains in 1983.
Within a decade, BREW bicycle frames were a fixture at the most elite levels of bicycle racing — at one time, half of the USA’s triathlon team rode BREW frames. At the same time, Brew was making waves with motorbikes, placing 2nd at the AMD World Championships, being inducted into the International Master Bike Builders Association (IMBBA), and becoming a 5-time #1 AMA National Land Speed record holder.
We met Brew in person at the 2021 AMA Motorcycle Speed Trials at Bonneville Speedway, where he was racing his 1974 Kawasaki H1 Mach III Purple People Eater. We’d just left when we heard Steve had gone into cardiac arrest while preparing for his next run. What followed was the Miracle at the Bonneville Salt Flats — Steve very literally died on the salt and came back, revived by CPR after 3-4 minutes with no heartbeat.
Brew is not one to be kept out of action for long. He’s come back to building with a vengeance, and we’re thrilled to feature this 1983 BMW R100RT he just completed and unveiled at Cycle Showcase St. Louis. Known as “The Green Hornet,” it’s one of the lightest airheads we’ve seen, both visually and poundage-wise. Brew’s vision was clear:
“A bike that could easily handle mountain roads, and if you came across some old logging dirt roads, you could go for it.”
Highlights include a Yamaha R1 front end adapted to work with the BMW wheels, larger brakes, ported dual-spark heads, Lectron carbs, 4130 subframe with Ballard Custom Leather saddle cover and VintCo air shocks, House of Kolor flake green paint, and much more.
Brew says the bike has dropped a whopping 167 lbs (516 lbs to 349 lbs), and he estimates the 1000cc flat-twin is now putting out in excess of 80 hp. The Green Hornet is one of the leanest, meanest airheads we’ve seen, and we’re thrilled to feature it.
Below, we talk to Brew for the full details on the build.
The Green Hornet: Builder Interview
• What’s the make, model, and year of the donor?
1983 BMW R100RT.
• Why was this bike built?
I always wanted to build a BMW, a client wanted to build one also. He gave me 100% control on the direction of the build. Owner’s name is Randall Jolley.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
A bike that could easily handle mountain roads, and if you came across some old logging dirt roads, you could go for it.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
- Yamaha R1 frontend adapted to use the BMW wheels, now fitted with a much larger rotor.
- Trees machined for Motogadget speedo/tach.
- Heads ported and milled.
- Heads now have dual spark plugs per head.
- Lectron 38mm Billetrons.
- Rear subframe made from 4130 and now using VintCo air shocks.
- Everywhere where I could shave some weight, was done.
- Dual Pingel HiFlo petcocks
- Fiberglass tail section.
- Seat leather was done by Ballard Custom Leather.
- Painted by Brew using House of Kolor Flake green.
- Stainless steel stepped header.
- Powder coating by Brew.
• Does the bike have a nickname?
The Green Hornet.
• Any idea of weight and/or power numbers?
Original weight was 516lbs. NOW, 349lbs. Estimated HP is mid 80’s.
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride?
Actually, just finished and haven’t ridden it yet. We have snow and ice and roads heavily salted.
• Is there anything with this build you’re especially proud of?
I tried to get a good balance of different ideas in my head (that is scary), but as I now look at it, I am happy!