Hand-built Boxer from Prague’s Gas & Oil Bespoke Motorcycles…
The BMW R series of “airhead” boxers might be the most commonly customized class of vintage motorcycles in the world. In the wake of that popularity has come a thriving aftermarket, with workshops across the world developing, producing, and selling a vast arsenal of parts for these old German flat-twins. Given that aftermarket support, even a builder with a small set of tools and modest skillset can bolt together a decent-looking custom — one sure to stand out at any local bike night or coffee ride.
While that’s a great way for folks to enter the hobby, there’s a downside: a saturation of BMW customs with little distinction among them. For that reason, we jumped to feature this new R100RT custom from Prague’s Gas & Oil Bespoke Motorcycles, as it was immediately apparent that it wasn’t another amalgam of bolt-on parts. Says Matej, headman at the Czech workshop:
“We wanted clean design along with originality and avoiding cliché that is common for old boxers. So we can proudly say it’s custom and not just assembled from plug and play parts.”
Matej says the Prague-based crew is most proud of the rear subframe, suspension mounts, and saddle. There are plenty of kits for this part of a boxer build-up — one of the more difficult aspects of any project — but the Gas & Oil team eschewed such ready-made options for a handmade solution that’s immediately recognizable as bespoke.
The engine was completely torn down and rebuilt, and aluminum surfaces all over the bike were polished. The bike is now running an electronic ignition, high-output alternator, lightweight lithium-ion battery, and a stainless steel exhaust capped with cigar-style Sharon mufflers.
Vintage BSA bars give the bike a classic look and feel, while a pair of modern YSS shocks perform much better than stock. Matej says the ride of any vintage boxer is a love-or-hate experience, but he loves it — and this build, nicknamed “White Spring,” offers a significantly improved experience over that of the original:
“Since it’s not heavy anymore you don’t have trouble pushing it around. Our cigar mufflers by Sharon have a very nice sharp sound and you get all the attention in the streets, but not in the bad way.”
Below, we talk to Matej for full details on the build, along with more shots courtesy of Jakub Frey (@jakubfreyphotography).
BMW R100RT Custom: Builder Interview
• What’s the make, model, and year of the donor bike?
BMW R100RT, 1979.
• Why was this bike built?
As most of our builds it was bespoke customer project.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
We wanted clean design along with originality and avoiding cliché that is common for old boxers. So we can proudly say it’s custom and not just assembled from plug and play parts.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
The motorcycle went through a complete service, since hadn’t been ridden for some time before the build. We took the engine apart, down to bits and pieces, so we were able to refurbish aluminum surfaces and change worn-out components.
Contactless ignition hand in hand with a more powerful alternator were installed.
What we are especially proud of is the unique rear frame with suspension housing and geometry. The rear light is built in frame.
The original position of gas tank was adjusted. Rims got the same procedure as the engine with aluminum refurbishing. New YSS rear shocks and renewal of front forks with beautiful original calipers. Stainless exhaust manifold with Sharon mufflers. And last but not least, a well-hidden Li-Ion battery under the seat.
• Does the bike have a nickname?
Yes, it does: “White Spring.”
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride this bike?
Every single ride on old boxer is specific — you either love it or hate it. I personally like it and I wouldn’t say no to an old boxer ride. Thanks to old BSA handlebars and also a lower center of gravity in the front, it’s easy to set the direction.
Since it’s not heavy anymore you don’t have trouble pushing it around. Our cigar mufflers by Sharon have a very nice sharp sound and you get all the attention in the streets, but not in the bad way.
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
As I mentioned before we are really proud of the rear part of the frame. Since BMW Rs are very popular project bikes, there are plenty of options to buy bolt-on kits for the rear subframe. We wanted something new, functional, and unseen.
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Photos: Jakub Frey (@jakubfreyphotography)