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Scott Halbleib’s BMW K100RT – “Number 3”

Posted on October 27, 2012 by Andrew in Brat, Café Racer. 59 comments

See that title up there? The one that starts with the name “Scott Halbleib”? There will two groups of people who read the line. The first, and probably by far the largest group, will be the readers who say, “who the hell is Scott Hal… Hal…” And then there will be those of you know who Scott is in the same way that you know that Dare Jennings is the guy behind Mambo and Deus Motorcycles, and that Ian Barry is the guy who owns Falcon Motorcycles. See, every bike that Scott has fashioned has been a jaw-to-the-floor, put me in a nice dress and call me Shirley world beater. In fact his first build, the Honda CB450 Bobber we featured in 2010 is one of my personal all-time favourites. Seriously. So when we heard from Doug Devine, owner and builder of the Yammie we posted last Wednesday that Scott had a new bike, we got our nice dresses on, picked our jaws up off the floor, and this is what we found…

Here’s Scott. “This one came out of left field. An acquaintance left a message that he was getting rid of his bikes and wondered if I’d be interested in his BMW that had been sitting in a garage for 6 years. Sure. Then I got it home. What the hell was I going to do with this mint green mammoth? I had to get it running first, which meant stripping it down a bit to swap out the battery, new cables, clean injectors, filter and swap fluids. A little trial and error and it was running perfectly.”

“I thought about putting it back together and selling as a restore of sorts. But the challenge of trying to do something with it was keeping me awake at night. Plus the f@#cking thing was eating up all the space in my garage, so everything came off. Then I wondered if I had made a mistake. It didn’t necessarily get any better looking. I spent a lot of weeks mocking things up with foam, hangers, cardboard, spare parts, etc. and this is the result – a tourer-enduro.”

“The modifications include: low rise dirt bars, 7″ headlight w/ aluminum brackets and rock guard, Kenda dual sport tires, Works performance shock, stripped tank, fork gaiters, painted wheels, fenders from the XS650, tailight from Low Brow and turn signals from British customs.”

“The biggest challenge was creating a seat that fit the bulk of the bike. I spent some time carving foam until I had something I liked, then had my upholsterer, Mike Brewer stitch me up some 2 tone vinyl.”

“it’s still vintage somewhat, but bulletproof
and capable of riding cross-country”

“It’s a beast. And looks the part. Best thing about it, is it’s still vintage somewhat, but bulletproof and capable of riding cross-country with an aftermarket windscreen. I’m still looking at some exhaust options and waiting on some expanding aluminum to form some side panels. Hopefully get some seat time in it, post on Ebay, then move on to the next one.”

  • hugh


    • ELGuapo

      Shes sinister.

  • This is a stunning bike, one of the most fascinating cafe racers of 2012 by quite a margin.

  • Sergio J

    Fantastic solutions, great job !!

  • arnold

    Great looking, but a heck of a thing to pick up after washing out the rear in a muddy field due to lack of (perfect) throttle control.ald

    • I hear ya. I doubt many folks (including myself) would try this thing out in a muddy field, or any sort of off road for that matter. There’s some form over function on anything I do. The tires are DS tires – more on than offroad so they serve their purpose fine. I did have it on a fireroad though and it felt surprising planted and not too harshly sprung. Picking it up… maybe I’ll add a winch.

  • revdub

    Louisville may not have a large, well known custom shop, but we have Scott and Doug. And, that’s pretty damn awesome, if you ask me. This bike is so big and mean that it scares me. When you hear it coming, you might be mistaken and think a dragon is about to rain fire down upon your shivering head. Scott has a designed a raw beast here, and just like a good horror film, I love it.

  • Greg Volkman

    How does the swing arm work? Looks like a solid connection between the engine, swingarm and differential?

    • arnold

      Never looked at it, never owned one, but the term ‘universal joint’ comes to mind.

  • DougDevine

    Trust me when I say cars move out of the way when he’s coming down the road on this thing. Congrats on another great build bro!

  • Another nifty BMW. Something should be done with those frame pipe ends I think. Maybe incorporating the turn signals into the openings would be groovy.

    • you are correct Tony. I forgot to mention, that’s on the to do list!

      • Battles

        I’m running a couple of tiny round LED signals on my much less well executed frame chop that would be perfect in there.

  • K Dibnah

    Interesting – I owned one of these stock and you ‘almost’ could not ride it slowly because it wanted to fall over. You sort of sawed your way through traffic with the bars. Get it moving and it was a dandy on high-speed sweepers. My bet is the first time you try riding it cross-country you will leave it out there somewhere as you will get very fed up with trying to pick it up. I also bet it will end up on Ebay much sooner than planned.

    • Not sure what your riding experience is but I’ve ridden a LOT of bikes and have a blast on this thing. Gotta fund the next project tho!

  • I like the exhaust as is. Maybe it’s the lighting but that golden color is sick, and the grouping of the header pipes makes me thing of one of those multishot pistols they had in the time before revolvers.

  • Purple Moose

    It’s gonna be a no – a tiny no, from the Purple Moose!

  • A great naked beemer brick. I love it.

  • Sonny

    Bulky and fantastic!!!

  • Mike Cambareri

    I don’t think I would call it pretty, but it certainly does look tough as hell. The thing just has a great vibe, and as much as I love most the bikes that show up on here, it’s a nice change of pace.

  • Oldnbroken

    That looks much better than a BMW.


  • fonaktamas

    Nice bimmer, but looks strange to me. What’s with the tank bottom edge and sub-frame ends? Great job anyway! Cheers.

  • DylanSeitz

    I love it. Simply awesome. You need to quit your day job.

    • Well I kind of have… laid off. Just not sure how to move bikes quickly enough to make a living at it. Definitely have more time to try and sort it out though. When are you placing your order??

  • Andres

    Love the seat and overall effect, but it must have a muffler. It is obnoxiously loud with just the headers. I wish someone would make a decent aftermarket tank for the brick – there’s a market out there somewhere. Sorry, but the front guard just looks stupid. A rubber plug would tidy up the open seat rails.

  • hrhealer

    Not to bad. Hard to make some thing from that platform. I realy like the seat. I would not call it a cafe bike tough, more motard or enduro

  • Easily my new favorite “K” bike.

  • Krylov

    Nope, I do not see it: My respectful apologies to the builder, but this is not working for me.
    Not even as a scrambler – way to heavy and just the mere thought of doing any jump with this bike will most likely leave the frame banana shaped.

    It’s form is possibly too close to the standard K100 without fairing sold in the last years of its market appearance (which I quite liked in its original form.)

    While a nice bavarian “dirndl girl” re-dressed with hiking boots and shoody outdoor clothes may still have quite some sex appeal to me, this bike does not. And just as rampant flatulence is a non sexy feature with bavarian (or possibly any) girls, imho, the lack of an exhaust on this bike falls into the same category…

    • BoxerFanatic

      Have to agree with you.

      I kinda thought I was taking crazy pills or something, when reading all of the fawning commentary on this bike.

      The thing is, I like the K100 series bikes… and have thought about modifying one, if I got the money to wrench on something. I like BMWs, both Rs and Ks.

      I guess my tastes would have led me more toward a BMW teutonic take on a Ducati 900SS-CR style, with a low forward mounted half fairing modified from an R1100RS or K100RS, or bits of both.

      This just looks stripped and un-finished to me. no paint on the tank, no exhaust, no fairing, not even the radiator cowling cover from an un-faired K100 or K75.

      The rear fender and old-school tail light just don’t fit with the angular tank, either.

      And I have to agree also that K100 is a big, heavy bike for a scrambler or street-legal dual-sport on/off road bike… but then again, I think the same thing about late-model R1200GS, as well.

      There have been other modified K-bikes that I have liked more than this one.

      • All input is welcome. I’ve been in some sort of “design” field for 20+ years so I’m well aware that you will never create something that everyone likes. It’s impossible.

        That being said, this bike is not supposed to look “finished.” I figured that was obvious. The entire bike was meant to look raw, mechanical and unpolished. Trying to do anything else w/ a naked Brick, would be senseless IMO.

        Nor is it supposed to end up on a motocross track. I figured that was pretty obvious as well. There’s admittedly some form over function to my work, but the tires chosen for this build do exceptionally well on the street and in it’s one and only fireroad ride, it did surprisingly well.

        Either way, everyone’s entitled to their opinion and input is input. Sometimes it’s helpful, good or bad.

        • BoxerFanatic

          My opinion is just that, just an opinion.

          I didn’t mean the crazy pills thing as an insult to the build, but rather a comment on the commentary…

          This looks like a nice bike that is in the middle of a build process. IMHO raw and elemental is one thing… not ready and incomplete is another.

          Not that my opinion counts for anything but expended breath, but I would be a bit more enthused about the bike if it had an exhaust brought up along the frame tube up toward the seat, to keep clearance enough to change the wheel without dis-assembling the exhaust.

          The tank looks good, but a coating would be better, even if it is a low-gloss or satin silver… or a rubberized coating.

          BMW built naked brick K’s and they had radiator cowls under the front of the fuel tank… I could see using one on this bike, even just to sacrificially protect the radiator and hoses. Even if it was painted matte black to visually disappear, it would look more ‘ready’ with one in place.

          I agree with another comment earlier, about the raw hollow tube ends under the seat… asking for debris or something to get inside the frame tubes, and they should at least be closed or plugged, if not going to complete the hoop around the back of the seat.

          The tail light and fenders are a personal taste thing, and it looks more 50’s-70s than 80’s/90’s… fenders with a bit more rectangular, rather than arched cross-section, and an oval or rectangular, or at least slightly more modern round tail light would fit with the technical look of the bike, and the very angular tank. That isn’t a functional criticism, just a matter of taste.

          With the tires and high fenders, I figured this was a bike, not necessarily to race off-road, but to at least venture into the rough and tumble… yet it still seems like a pretty heavy bike for that. Again, I think that even about BMW’s production R1200GS, so that isn’t really directed at you, more at an idiom of big bikes.

          Not that big bikes are bad when they are upright and rolling when everything is going well… but it seems like a big bike would be harder to exctract from a mess if it were not upright. Sometimes heavy bikes are hard enough to pick up if they end up on their side, on a hard surface, let alone on uneven soft ground.

          However, the base line is, that if you like it, that is what matters most… have at it, and have fun. kudos to you for actually making something. So many don’t, or can’t afford to.

          If I could afford to, I would build the way I want to build. Hopefully someday I can do that. All I do otherwise is just discuss things, for whatever discussion is or is not worth.

          I absolutely do not begrudge anyone else that prerogative to do what you please.

          • I actually agree with some of your points.

            I am still considering exhaust options. Unfortunately there’s really no aftermarket options so I’m looking to possibly get another OEM pipe (want to keep mine to sell w/ the bike for a quiet option) to modify so I don’t have the cost of building a custom 4 into 1 collector.

            I considered the radiator cowl but they are VERY hard to come by and it would be the only plastic piece on the bike so… debatable addition.

            definitely looking for frame plugs, but the large diameter makes sourcing scarce. will come up w/ something.

            as you say the fenders were a personal choice, as were the tires – kind of an oxymoron – could it be a dirt bike? hell no. is it a 70’s 80’s jap bike? definitely not but I like the motley mix of items to distinguish it from other builds. as I said, I don’t expect everyone to like it but still appreciate people’s opinions. as for tank coating, I like the fact that you can let it age, and if you decide you want to “polish” it up, you can do so to your level of sheen. to each their own. no issues there. thx for your feedback. set some time and money aside to build something. you’ll be glad you did.

          • Put the turn signals in the pipe ends.

  • Joel E Cervantes

    Hey Scott, this bike turns me on! Not because its super sexy, cause its not. Not because its fast as hell, cause its prob not, I dont know. And not because its “bulletproof and capable of riding cross-country…” Oh wait. Thats exactly why. Sweet ride. PS I just rode Skaggs Springs Rd for the first time ever and that is an awesome ride. Plus, Hwy 1 is almost completely repaved which makes a look even better!

    • Thanks Joel! And it’s actually pretty fast – not in modern day terms, but it’s got a shitload of torque, and when you twist the throttle, the shaft drops the ass and it lurches forward. Pretty entertaining to ride.

  • Barney

    Keep polishing. It still looks like a turd.

    • Let me guess, Harley rider?

      • Ah, the world of armchair experts.

        • Barney

          and you are…?

          • …making fun of you I’m guessing

      • Barney

        If I could afford one.

  • Ziyad Nasrawi

    Ditch the turn signals attached to the body, and replace with bar-end turn signals…otherwise great build.

    • considered that option but I don’t think it looks vintage. that, and then I’d have big holes in the fender. i think once i’m able to source some frame plugs, it’ll look finished.

      • Ziyad Nasrawi

        Hella bar end signals (the round type found on /2 BMW’s) would definitely give it a classic look (definitely black powder coat)….but I guess I wouldn’t change it with the fenders already having holes. I’m currently rebuilding a wrecked R100/7, hopefully mine will make it up here as well. Again, cheers and superb bike.

  • Tony R

    Well done! I like the patina; natural worn finish on the tank and engine case, the scotch-brite effect on the fenders and headlight, against the black frame and wheels. Good selection of tires and handle bars. Just need to do something about those pipes!

  • rennie61

    I like it, it looks like a beast and all due respect but I think people need to realise that often when bikes are re-fashioned as a ‘scrambler’ it’s normally more of a style thing than an intent to go seriously off-road. It’s a great look. Same as people who have mountain bikes in London very rarely take them up mountains (probably up the odd kerb on the way to a latte) but they are more rugged than say a race bike. What are the tyres please?
    Nice one.

  • Nabih

    Gorgeous bike. Would kill to mod my Honda CX650 like this…

  • Bultaco Metrella

    I love this bike, I want to see it when it is finished but I hope you keep that lovely raw ragged look. I owned two K’s; a K100RT and a K1100RS for about 10 years each over the period ’84 to ’04. Covered some 400,000 miles and loved them both. They were my daily driver and car substitute. I even commuted 200 miles in each direction every weekend for a year on the RT. Travelled through the Southern Highland of New South Wales in the winter at night. Loved the fairing and knitted silk long johns. I’ m reasonably big, 6’2″ and 220 in those days. I never found picking up a K a problem. There’s a technique to picking up a big bike. I rode the RT down some dirt roads at speed and it was fine. You do need confidence and assertion though. The RS was particularly well balanced and stable at low speeds. Probably better than my Vespas. On the other hand when challenged at red light drags from various cars, it was a case of “Kiss this Pal”

  • Thinking outside of the box will always bring critique ……. What I normally say to those types of people is….”show me yours”.
    I love what you have created….yes it’s a work in progress and it’s obvious you wouldn’t take this bike off road…..anyone thinking or commenting to that fact has no business going off road to begin with.
    I love the bike….obsolutely cool!!! My hat goes off to you for even daring to think this way 🙂 and even more for making it happen.
    I’m looking to build one for myself……NICE WORK SCOTT!

  • bmwjoe

    Cool as hell. Scott, can you please let me know what the front tire size is? Is it the same as the stock size? It looks larger in diameter than the stock one. I will be putting these tires on my K. Thanks, Joe email:

  • Kristian

    Sir, that seat is gold. Would you consider making a copy and ship it to Norway? If so, how much?
    I am currently working on the same bike and I am using this bike a lot for inspiration.

  • SoHo Speed Shop

    I love this bike…It is big and brutal…It reminds me of a rhino

  • xromad

    I’m fairly close in a similar build. Mine is a little more cafe than scrambler. I love the aesthetic of the wide open rear wheel. I plan to reuse the stock collector and make a belly muffler aka Buell.

  • shalbleib

    Finally letting it go. It’s on Ebay.

    • JessePinkman

      I saw that, thanks for the link. Nice build. Beautiful. I wish I could afford it.

  • Cswenson

    What year is this?

  • Tdotriders

    Have you done anything lately to it, or still remains the same? don’t get me wrong I luv it just wondering if you have done any more mods:)

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  • twothreebreak

    Anyone know what tyres are on it?