Everyone takes a different approach, some custom builders are traditional meat and potato kind of guys, wizards in the workshop, and either employ people for promotion or don’t worry about it at all. There is no right way, we see success in all forms in this scene of ours, but Charles and Enzo from Panache Customs take as much care on their press releases and marketing as they do their incredible builds; giving even the big manufacturers a run for their money. But it’ll always be the bikes that do the talking, and this time our French friends have delivered a beautiful 1992 BMW R100R, that’s one hell of a clean green machine.
“Our BMW was conceived and designed following the Bavarian landscape. Thus, the green paintwork comes from the Audi catalog and combines old-school style with modern elegance. The seat, made of brown imitation leather, blends perfectly with the green paint. In accordance with our client’s wishes, the motorcycle has a foresty mood – not without reminding us of Bavaria, BMW’s homeland…,” Enzo explains. And you can easily see this BMW powering its owner up a twisty mountain road, taking in the stunning scenery.
But first, the bike had to be built before such niceties could take place, and the later model variant of the R100 is a great place to start, years of perfecting what is essentially a simple and effective design, leading to a wonderfully sorted package. But, even the best things can be improved and the new subframe, with its gorgeous alternative to a hooped rear, gives the bike the start of its clean and crisp lines. This is then topped with that beautiful brown leather seat, expertly stitched together and designed for genuine two-up riding.
Not everything is done in the traditional fashion, the front guard cuts a perfect line and is expertly sculpted. But to hang it from the forks a new mount was first sketched up and then 3D designed in Fusion 360. Then the file is sent over to Cura, which allows it to be 3D printed, with multiple small changes until they had absolutely the perfect part. The rear fender is designed as a complement and to show off the single-sided swingarm, the mounts allowing the hand-rolled guard to float over the rear tyre, the radius matches flawlessly.
The stock tank gets a new filler cap and is panel beaten to perfection, before that green, plucked from nature, is laid down over the tins. The neat white pinstripe and the new BMW badges doing enough to break up the main hue, to deliver a high-class finish. Black paint adorns many of the functional elements, the refurbished front forks and triple clamps stripped of their 30 years of aging. The rear shock was always going to be replaced for improved handling and those duties fall to a Wilbers 640 unit.
Wiring we tend to think of as a necessity and often a headache, but Charles and Enzo have made it an art form. Hidden under the seat, removable thanks to a custom catch using Ducati pieces, the electronics sit out of sight. But when that seat is lifted, you find them affixed to a backlit perspex panel that highlights with LED lights the key components. These include a breakout box and m.unit from Motogadget, as well as an m.lock and m.button. The rider is able to control all of the functions using the bar-mounted Motone micro switches.
What you get is a bike with classic looks and yet the uncompromising useability of the latest and greatest machines from the likes of that big German, BMW. Kellermann indicators and combined turn signal and taillight combo keep things ultra clean, with all of the vital information displayed on a Motoscope pro dash. While the rest of the controls are all high end too, footpegs from Rizoma for a premium feel and a master cylinder from Magura to help the rider apply just the right amount of pressure through the Brembo brakes.
A whopping 20 days was invested in the wiring and functionality of the motorcycle, but there was also a desire to maintain the mechanical aesthetic. So the engine has been cleaned up, although not painted, and retains that Boxer twin charm. The Bing carbs pull their air through a set of pod filters, that wear some very clever covers. And the exhaust is well thought out, with two-into-one pipes, a reverse cone muffler, and an ultra clever valve system to adjust the sound from dastardly to discreet.
Even the name is well thought out, Ceiba, for the giant trees revered by the Mayans, through which the spirits travel; just as the Panache Customs soul is transferred to the rider via his all-new forest green machine.