The turn of the 20th century is one of the great periods of innovation in human history, and transport was at the forefront, with the horse and carriage being swiftly overtaken by a bevy of motorised vehicles. As both the bicycle and then the motorcycle became an affordable and often desirable form of transport, there needed to be a way to ferry a passenger in style. The answer was the sidecar and the original design and many of the early manufacturers of the third wheel continue to this day. So, when a client came calling with a request for such a vehicle, the ultra-talented team at WYLD Garage Co. had the perfect opportunity to put all their skills to the test. The result is this absolutely gorgeous BMW R100 with a sidecar that is simply prestige par excellence.
The last time we checked in with the US outfit from the rugged west, they’d shown off another BMW R100, radical in design and featuring a wild aesthetic, it was known as ‘The Mutant’. The donor bike might be the same, but the design is anything but, this is classic and refined motorcycling at its best, with a level of class that results in a timeless ride. But it also meant venturing into the unknown, past experience and CAD can take you part of the way, but sometimes trial and error is the only solution to a flawless finish in both form and function. Having found a 1988 BMW R100RT Mono Shock to serve as the powered part of the party, it was time to get on with the show.
The inspiration for the look of the sidecar unit came from a canoe, but this would simply serve as a jumping-off point. The bucket section is hand fabricated from sheets of aluminium pounded over a buck. “The buck was mapped out in CAD and printed templates to cut for shape. Approximately 15 pieces of sheet metal formed and welded to create the shape. The flooring is one solid piece of aluminium dimpled for strength and then a custom steel roll cage built inside of the entire bucket as well for added strength and form,” Justin explains. The frame is also hand-built, and does an excellent job as a chassis, without taking away from the aesthetic.
It is then paired to the BMW utilising HEIM joints, that allow for a full sweep of adjustability so that the whole thing could be fine-tuned and things like camber, lean angle, weight transfer etc dialed in. Thankfully with the frame made from steel, it provided enough weight without having to add any ballast into the bucket and keeps the centre of gravity of the whole outfit nice and low. “The original plan wasn’t to polish the bucket with this high of a shine, but as a lot of things usually happen, once we started that process we quickly realised that was going to change and the finish you see now is what we landed on. We wanted the bucket to still retain a “hand-made” feel with the elements of a hand-crafted piece of art.”
Now attention could turn to the BMW to bring it up to a level of finish that would match the sidecar and also provide a riding experience to make the whole thing fun. Not wanting to embarrass the rider when taking out a lady friend for the day, the whole electrical system is modernised for reliability with an EME 450w magnetic charging system, digital ignition, 9-tooth lightweight EME starter, Lithium-Ion Reg/Rec, and matching battery. Next came the exhaust, an area where WYLD truly excels, and with both the bike and the car having an open-wheel, a 2-1 stainless system was chosen so as not to obscure the look.
“We always create our own 1.5” – 1.75” adaptors on the lathe straight out of the headers because we like to run 1.75’ on our custom pieces; more airflow!” The system wraps beautifully around the engine and then ends in a matching stainless 2in muffler with a nice slash-cut for a brilliant sound and an element of raw mechanical sex appeal. To ensure excellent ride quality and an ability to handle the additional needs of running the sidecar, the front suspension is completely rebuilt with Racetech components, and an adjustable rear shock fitted. All three corners feature TKC tyres and drilled disc brakes and rebuilt calipers for stopping power.
Now for the upholstery, “using leather from the same hide for both the bike and bucket, we started with the basics a seat and some grab handles. We knew we wanted to add some kind of satchel for our client’s wife to be able to store things securely as she rode with him like a phone, purse, gloves, and glasses. So, we ended up with a satchel on each side and then to top it off, the nose strap that covers the front of the bucket. This was an option we just weren’t sure about and decided to really go against our gut and despite what we thought, we believe the nose strap is the cherry on the whipped cream. It really helped to bring the entire build into that vintage/timeless/classy era that we were striving for.”
Adding to that hand-built vintage vibe are the three perfectly rolled custom fenders that are then secured at all three corners with individual mounts. Along with the Monza cap equipped fuel tank, the fenders and most of the bike, plus the wheels and frame of the entire unit are finished in a stunning black of the highest quality. Now paired up with clear lens lighting at the front and rear, the monochrome look is in full effect, with just the leather breaking through. The whole package is fitted out with Motogadget buttons, a Grimeca master, and additions from the industry’s best suppliers.
The finished product is simply incredible, you could imagine if BMW offered such an outfit in the early part of the century they’d have been flying off showroom floors. Nearly 100 years on and the look is still absolutely in, with WYLD having been commissioned to build another.
[ WYLD Garage Co. | Photography by Justin Wade Orton ]