There is a certain image that the general public musters in their mind when they think of those who work in the custom bike industry. A cool mechanic or creative designer, a beard, jeans and probably chugging on a craft beer. Ok, so they’re not completely wrong, but every now and then someone comes out of left field and infuses their unique background into a bike we know and love. Today that is motoring big shot Dany Bahar, former CEO of Lotus, who now runs the design house ARES of Modena, Italy. Limited to a run of just 25 machines, this BMW R nineT Bullet is known as Bumblebee and it absolutely is, more than meets the eye.
For those not familiar with Mr. Bahar, he comes from the world of marketing before a meeting with Red Bull owner, Dietrich Mateschitz, saw him join the company to help bring them into the world of Formula One. Clearly a knockout success, he was also responsible for the company’s purchase of a number of sporting teams around the globe. After which he spent time with Ferrari expanding their global merchandise operations and then became the CEO of the Lotus Group. But looking to finally run his own ship, he founded ARES Design of Modena, and their impact on the car world has been enormous.
With one hell of a high-tech facility, they combine traditional coach building techniques, with modern materials and the latest in computer design. The result has been some incredible creations, from their Corvette-based Hypercar to their ‘Legends Reborn’ series, which includes the Panther ProgettoUno, a Lamborghini Huracán that is completely redesigned to become a modern interpretation of the famous De Tomaso Pantera.
These cars sell before they’re even finished and with his client’s including those with a love of two-wheels, a range of BMW-based customs has been released. All based on the ever popular BMW R nineT, there are Scrambler and Racer offerings, and now comes the Bullet, a neo-racer design with styling cues from the original R series and the best of the ’70s. It makes sense to start with the tank, as it was the first thing to catch my eye. Clearly not the original metalwork I’d assumed that perhaps it was a repurposed R100 chunk of steel.
No Sir, there is none of that going on around here, every piece is designed and built in-house, and while there is definitely vintage R design cues, there are a host of subtle touches. Oh, and its completely made from carbon fibre to weigh an absolute fraction of any metal equivalent. To bring the design to life, a fully machined Monza style cap and filler are installed, with a leather strap and side covers. The front fairing too is all made from carbon, with the neo-racer theme kicked into full gear with the classic lines offset by a multi-function LED headlight.
The tail section is a beautiful piece of design, with gorgeous lines, faux Naca ducts, a recessed LED tail light, and form fitment at the all important tank junction. With the tail raised up to suit the style of the bike, a set of side covers has been designed to tie everything in together and the carbon piece features cooling vents for the rear of the engine and the side covers around the radiator. A small carbon belly pan helps to give the bike some beef and then the new body is covered in that eye-popping yellow paintwork with black accents.
The performance of the bike is nothing radical, but it has been improved in every way, with the sub standard factory shock swapped out to allow for the fitment of a fully adjustable Matris unit. The airbox has been deleted for a cleaner look and pod filters with unique coverings provide for a rorty intake sound. A complete custom exhaust is the biggest improvement for the engine and ceramic coated and with grilled exits, it does its job without trying to be flashy, and then it’s onto the dyno for a remap.
To help further give the styling that neo-racer appearance, the valve covers have been swapped for pieces with an early R influence. Clip-on bars give the bike a racier riding experience and to ensure for the perfect position, custom rearsets have been designed and installed. The final touch comes from the in-house upholstery team, who made the gorgeous black leather seat and grips, both with paint matching stitch.
The end result is a truly gorgeous machine that also benefits from a subtle kick in the pants. Pricing is upon request, but the ARES badge alone means this will remain a desirable machine for years to come, and who doesn’t want their own Bumblebee when the call to ‘Roll Out’ is heard across the city.
[ ARES Modena ]