The first time you build a custom bike, you tend to make a lot of mistakes, which means stripping the bike back down and often damaging fresh paint and rounding off new bolts. But most builders out there are self-taught, so we all learn the hard way and have a few horror stories that leave a minor scar. But Earth Motorcycles just doesn’t have these kinds of issues, they do everything once and they do it absolutely perfectly. What you get from the Slovak outfit is not just a cool as can be custom machine, but practically a brand new motorbike. It’s no wonder then that the customers are lining up, and having seen a beautiful black BMW R80 on these pages last year, a local lad made the call and ordered this picture perfect pitch black Bavarian from the Stará Turá based outfit.
The team of Ales and Vlad have had their bikes featured many times on these pages, including a Top Ten Bike of the Year spot and a general consensus from the comments section that they build some of the cleanest bikes in the world. They have their process down to a fine art and they literally replace or renew every single part of the motorcycle until the finished product has a level of finish which dramatically exceeds OEM quality. It’s a labour intensive process, but it ensures each time they send a customer off on their new ride, they can be confident they’ll enjoy years of trouble free riding.
Beginning the process with an R80 is a good place to start and the bare frame is shaved of all its unnecessary brackets and tabs before being completely smoothed out. The centre stand has been ditched to save weight and the guys build a custom side stand to suit the bike, before it’s all finished in a black powder coat. The customer had his eye on a particular subframe and wanted to use a Walzwerk item, so a call to Germany had one of Marcus’s brilliant bolt-on solutions on the way, which includes the frame, upper shock mount, full seat and an array of lighting.
To get the riding position spot on with this new setup, a full change of the lower controls is part of the process, and Earth fabricate their own from aluminium. When you’re going for such a clean look, the BMW tank with its large, almost flat sides, has to be perfect and for this reason a new item is selected. It is then modified to sit even more neatly over the backbone before the company logo replaces the factory badges and the gas cap is now a machined billet part. It is then all finished in perfect matte black paint with a single pinstripe, while the single Daytona LED Headlight maintains the clean lines.
The suspension is an area the guys have always paid particular attention to and with their look calling for the use of the stock forks, they come in for a serious overhaul. They are cut and modified to reduce the overall ride height by 5cm, with new internals to deliver a comfortable and yet highly capable ride. The owner wanted the vintage tyre look, but this threw one small spanner in the works, “because of the Shinko tires big height I had to grind a fork bridge a bit to fit the short aluminium fender. It’s just about 1cm above the tyre which made the customer very happy as well as me because I did not want to weaken the bridge too much.”
Holding the front assembly together is a stock steering stem that moves on new tapered bearings, with a custom aluminium triple clamp machined for the job. The hardware is all stainless including all the nuts and bolts, with the fork tops and steering stem nut machined especially for the job. The rear shock was sourced from YSS, delivering a black 410mm adjustable unit, valved to match the front. The brakes are first class too, with a modern drilled disc and pad combination for the front, and new Venhill hoses and stainless fittings used throughout.
Cracking the engine apart revelled a nasty surprise, “very badly damaged cam followers but the camshaft was intact.” This called for a complete rebuild and the engine and gearbox were stripped down to the last nut and bolt. After a good clean and glass bead blasting, it was all painted in a black Cerakote, with the fins file finished. Then the rebuild process could begin, and every last gasket, grommet, seal, bearing, ring, and bolt was replaced, along with a host of other parts to build essentially a new short block.
The Bing carbs were ultra sonically cleaned, and a stainless choke mechanism fitted; talk about going all out. To breathe a little more life into the engine, the filtering is by K&N, before an entirely new exhaust system was built from scratch, and finished in a black heat proof coating. The same clinical approach was taken to the wiring, with a new loom built and upgrade to lithium power and a Motogadget m.unit Blue, with alarm and keyless ignition.
The bike not only looks amazing, but weighing just 168kg and packing the best part of 70nm of torque, she’s a sweet ride to boot; Slovak’s sure build a nice German.
[ Earth Motorcycles – Instagram ]