Written by Tim Huber
Building one-off motorcycles for customers requires a bit of a delicate balancing act: the shop has to adhere to the wants, needs, and personal tastes of the client, while also aligning with the builder’s style, abilities, and overall ethos. Juggling these elements can be a headache, though sometimes, things come together wonderfully, with a design and theme that jives well with both the builder of the bike, the characteristics of the donor, and the customer who commissioned it. And that’s very much the case with Side Rock Cycles’ latest work, entitled “Rogue”.
Based on a 1992 BMW R100R, this scrambled Bavarian was whipped up for a client who works with tanks and other all-terrain military vehicles. “Between the customer’s job, and the fact the donor model shares a lot of parts with its factory off-road-biased cousin, the R100GS, the scrambler style was a forgone conclusion as we knew the transformation would work,” explains Side Rock head honcho, Pete Hodson.
The UK-based outfit kicked off the build with a complete teardown to the frame. The chassis was de-tabbed before having the stock rear-frame lopped off and replaced with one of Side Rock’s “Mono Scrambler” subframes which was modified slightly to fit the Paralever structure — a tweak that resulted in the seat height being raised a few hairs. Once complete, the custom framework was powder-coated in a satin black, along with the single-sided swing-arm, wheels, and hubs.
With the engine pulled, Side Rock took the opportunity to treat the boxer twin to a thorough refresh that included the addition of some up-specced internals. “In went high-compression forged Omega pistons, a heavy-duty clutch, new Mikuni carbs with Ram Air filters, and a new digital electronic ignition system,” Pete tells us.
Before being shoehorned back into the revised chassis, the OHV mill was hit with a coat of black paint and its fins were polished. Holes were also drilled in the outside of the engine which were fitted/filled with custom meshed inserts. The 979cc lump – which is now shielded behind cylinder head guards and a custom skid-plate that also protects the headers — was also given a trick custom radiator with steel-braided lines, and an impressive, one-off satin, full stainless steel two-into-one exhaust culminating in a high-mounted cafe can.
With the engine and frame all sorted, Pete moved onto the bodywork. The stock tank remains in the mix, though the fenders are both retro-inspired custom alloy items, and a pair of one-off alloy number plates were also cooked up and tacked onto the Beemer. Next came the saddle; a custom flat leather unit with double-diamond stitching, bespoke “SRC” embroidery, and a kicked-up end that follows the contours of the subframe.
The original 18-inch front wheel was jettisoned in favor of a more off-road-friendly 19-inch hoop, that, like the back wheel, has been fitted with new stainless steel spokes and shod in knobby Heidenau K60 rubber. The factory dual disc Brembo brake setup also remains in play, though it too has been refreshed for the build. The fork is a stock item, though it’s been given a new set of gaiters, while out in back there’s now a fully-adjustable GS-spec Bitubo mono-shock that’s a tad longer than the stock piece.
Pete opted to replace the stock electronics system with top-shelf Motogadget parts. All of the R100R’s factory lighting was binned, too. Turn signal duties now go to aftermarket LED’s fore and aft, while an old-school, round taillight rests on the new rear fender, and a trick Koso Thunderbolt LED headlight now guides the way out front.
Gone is the entirety of the stocker’s cockpit, and in its place there’s a set of Renthal FatBars outfitted with a Domino quick-turn throttle, Highsider bar-end mirrors, machined reservoir caps, adjustable Accossato levers, Koso multistage heated grips, trick Motogadget switchgear, a custom-engraved top-triple and risers, and a one-off yolk that supports an Acewell speedo/tach combo. “To complete the rugged look, a set of billet alloy ‘bear claw’ footrests was also bolted on,” says Pete.
The final piece of the puzzle came in the form of a custom paint job. And, like with previous SRC customs, Pete opted to go with a bespoke, factory-esque multi-hue livery. “On any bike, a great paint job is the ‘icing on the cake’ so a lovely pearlescent metallic blue was laid down on the tank, lightweight mudguards, and alloy racing plates with the client’s favorite number perfectly airbrushed on the sides,” relays a satisfied Pete.
Like the rest of Side Rock’s works, the Rogue didn’t set out to reinvent the proverbial wheel. It’s by no means a groundbreaking or innovative build, however, it is everything a quality custom motorcycle should be; it’s charming, well-proportioned, expertly executed, and highlights some of the donor’s finer aesthetic qualities while still managing to deliver a thoroughly transformative effect. Best of all, while Pete does incorporate some modern components and visual themes, he does a stellar job of using the original design language of the era from which the bike came when penning its design.