Form Follows Function: K75 Redesigns from Revel Customs…
While we see a lot of four-cylinder BMW K100 customs, projects that utilize the K75 triple seem much less common. That’s too bad, because the K75 was the lighter, sportier member of the “Flying Brick” family:
“With the K75S also being 22 pounds lighter and therefore nimbler than the K100, it’s not surprising it was designated the K-range’s sport bike.” –Motorcycle Classics
Though the K75 was down one cylinder and 250cc as compared to the K100, it made 10% more horsepower per cubic centimeter due to higher compression pistons and other tweaks. Combine that with the lighter weight and quicker-revving engine, and the K75 made a great sport-tourer.
“There’s something rather attractive about the idea of having a bike you can jump on at a moment’s notice and be in Marseilles in 48 hours.” –Classic Bike Guide
One man who’s recognized the continuing value of the K-series machines is Andrei Kouznetsov of the UK’s Revel Custom. Andrei has spent most of his adult life working as a design director for a London-based interior design firm, focused mainly on commercial projects, but his dedication to the two-wheeled life runs deep.
“Regardless of what or where I was working I have been riding motorcycles everyday since I was 17.”
He began customizing smaller 125cc machines as a side hobby, but during the pandemic, the market for his small-displacement projects exploded, as commuters could complete a CBT (Compulsory Basic Training) to ride a 125cc motorcycle without the time and expense of buying a car. Soon Andrei had quit his design job to fulfill the orders, building 30+ bikes in just 18 months, with an emphasis on practicality, comfort, and aesthetics.
He’s always believed strongly in the “Form Follows Function” philosophy, which he readily applied to his motorcycle builds.
“I applied my commercial design approach early on and set about making templates, future-proofing elements that would later become easier to up-scale and just generally a bike that would be easy to live with everyday, including the maintenance aspect.”
Over time, he began experimenting with bigger machines, leading to the BMW K75 customs you see here. As opposed to a single one-off build, Andrei worked to create a template that could be reproduced:
“Our main objective was to focus on customising one important element, which was to design a new subframe which would be seemingly fused onto the original tubular space frame. In other words, to redesign the K75/K100 with maximum effect…”
The new subframes house many important details, such as integrated LED lights, seat locking mechanisms, electrics, suspension, rear fender, and saddle. Everything is road-legal, so the owners will have no issues with MOT, and with a few other custom details — bars, gauges, fenders, controls, and exhaust, etc. — a quite practical custom bike is born. The same subframe works for the K100 as well.
Andrei is most proud of the bikes’ combination of comfort, aesthetics, and practicality:
“This also leads me on to the fact that I can not only build a cool looking custom motorcycle, but most of the bikes I build are also very comfortable and practical too. Form Follows Function!”
Below, we talk to Andrei for more details on his K bike customs.
BMW K Customs: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
My name is Andrei Kouznetsov and for most of my life I have been working as a Design Director for a London-based interior design firm working mostly on commercial projects. Regardless of what or where I was working I have been riding motorcycles everyday since I was 17. My background in architecture led me to build my first custom motorcycle during the global pandemic, which was a Honda CBF125 2009 model.
I always believed in Form Following Function throughout my career and this continued with motorcycles. Since I generally like practical motorcycles, my initial approach to customizing a bike was to make it easy on the eye, practical, and affordable. So even when it came to designing my first bike, I applied my commercial design approach early on and set about making templates, future-proofing elements that would later become easier to up-scale and just generally a bike that would be easy to live with everyday, including the maintenance aspect.
I then realised this was actually a big task, but since being able to offer my first custom bike for sale on eBay, the amount of interest I had was beyond my initial expectations. During the pandemic, people living in London wanted to avoid public transport, and since getting a car had its own restrictions in getting theory and practical tests completed, the alternative was to attain a CBT (a light motorcycle licence), which would allow riding any motorcycle up to 125cc.
So yeah, the orders kept coming in. Soon I quit my job, and started building more of these 125cc bikes off the back of the same template using the original bike (grey tank with black vertical stripe). Eighteen months later I built over 30 of these little 125cc bikes and obviously I started to try other bigger models such as the CBF250, the CB400SS, and so on.
My workshop was originally a double car garage, which I was sharing with another biker, but that quickly changed as me and him had different interests and eventually I found a good sized commercial unit in Surrey, Chertsey area, which is where I am today.
Best thing I like about my workshop is that it has a private road about half a mile long, off the main street and this becomes very useful as it’s got all sorts of surfaces and bumps along it — making it ideal for all those initial shake down test rides! Most of the 125cc models are on this website here: www.revelcustom.com/125cc-motorcycles
• Please tell us about the builds.
Our main objective was to focus on customising one important element, which was to design a new subframe which would be seemingly fused onto the original tubular space frame. In other words, to redesign the K75/K100 with maximum effect but with minimum customisation. The result is a Street Tracker with powerful integrated LED rear lights offering all light signals required and within the road legal 185mm displacement.
The new frame now celebrates and continues the original tank line, and with the new 4mm-thick side panels, they too hide the tank lugs and the radiator mess.
Cosmetically, the entire bike has mainly bolt-on additions such as the Acerbis fenders, Fork Gaiters, Renthal Bars, gauges, and lights.
Of course many small brackets were all handmade and powder-coated to host all of these additions. I also wanted to avoid making the usual drop-down handlebar cafe racer K-bike, which is usually uncomfortable for long rides. This, however, is as comfortable and practical as the original bike but a lot lighter!
The exhaust is actually from a RnineT — well one of the mufflers, that is! We like to use BMW’s fancy original equipment such as the Akra pipe, as we think it further compliments the bike’s aesthetics.
• Do any of the bikes have nicknames?
Not really, I like to keep things formal and appropriate before giving the bike to its new owner where they can decide on nicknames. Since 90% of the bikes I build are designed for each individual customer, usually the name comes near the end of the build.
For example, I was once asked to replace an old 70’s 250cc engine with another bike originally a 2007 model and therefore a lot changes had been involved during that project — therefore that bike was later named the Frankenstein.
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride the customized bikes?
Mainly its the fact that most of the bikes have lost at least 25% of their weight and therefore these bikes can’t hide the true character of having an engine between your legs. So yeah, riding these bikes reminds you that all new bikes produced today are very refined and too bland in my opinion — apart from the Moto Guzzi’s — as they always have plenty of rock n roll because of their unique engine configuration!
• Was there anything done during these builds that you are particularly proud of?
Fabricating and fusing the new subframes, as they host many important details like the integrated LED lights, seat locking mechanisms, electrics, suspension, fenders and seats. It’s really important to get that absolutely correct!
As this element needs to behave and obey not only the Road Legal requirements but also offer the best physical advantages of having a custom subframe — like comfort, for example. This also leads me on to the fact that I can not only build a cool looking custom motorcycle, but most of the bikes I build are also very comfortable and practical too. Form Follows Function!
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