If you visited the BMW Museum in Munich a few months ago, you might have noticed an interloper: a brawny custom with a Yamaha XT500 tank. Sharing space with a BMW concept car and an immaculate 1982 R100 RT, the custom looked like a pit bull amongst immaculately coiffed poodles.
The juxtaposition was not as incongruous as it seemed, though. The ‘Yamaha’ was actually a BMW R100 RT, just like its neighbor on the stand, albeit in disguise. It was built by the controversial French workshop Blitz Motorcycles and is called ‘La Parisienne.’
Confused onlookers who failed to recognize the bike can be excused—this R100 has been customized almost beyond recognition. The rear frame is completely new, and fitted with a bespoke seat and a mono shock. The frame and forks have been powdercoated in dark gray, and the engine, bars (from an R100 RS) and wheels powdercoated in a sinister black.
The bike has also been rewired with simplified electrics; a compact li-ion battery now hides in a box under the transmission. Mini switches control the blinkers and the digital speedometer display, and the engine start button is screwed into the bracket of the front brake lever. The levers (shortened) and brake master cylinder are from a Yamaha R1.
Vintage-style lights add a retro touch, along with 18” Coker rubber. The carbs sport handcrafted intakes and the shorty muffler is painted a high-temperature black on the outside and red on the inside. And yes, the tank really is from vintage Yamaha XT500 enduro—mounted on the frame exactly as it was found.
The effect is brutal and even disorientating. But it still caught the eye of the BMW museum curators. Maybe the Teutonic purveyors of motorcycling efficiency do have a sense of humor after all.