Euro Fighter: Avon Tyres’ wild BMW F800S

The TrailRider X-Over: a custom BMW F800S by Avon Tyres
If you were a tire company, what bike would you select to show off some new dual-sport rubber? The obvious answer would be a BMW R1200GS.

But the venerable British company Avon (est. 1904) has plumped for something very different—a custom BMW F800S with a radical front suspension system.

The TrailRider X-Over: a custom BMW F800S by Avon Tyres
The ‘TrailRider X-Over’ is the work of two Frenchmen: Charles-Henrick Gaurier, who works for Avon France, and Thierry Marie, a specialist alloy fabricator.

Together, they’ve built a machine that’s almost impossible to pigeonhole. We’d say it’s a café racer with bobber genes and a scrambler-esque stance. It’s certainly an engineering masterpiece, and a fine match for the new TrailRider tire—which Avon pitches as it’s most advanced yet, with a higher silica content than any other motorcycle tire.

The TrailRider X-Over: a custom BMW F800S by Avon Tyres
So what was the appeal of the F800S and its Rotax-developed parallel-twin? “The choice of engine might seem funny,” Charles agrees. “But you should take into account the 360 degree firing interval—just like British engines from the good old days.”

Another reason is Thierry’s love for the Mini brand, owned by BMW. “The X-Over is a natural consequence of a simple idea: if Alec Issigonis was commissioned to design a bike today, how would it look?”

The TrailRider X-Over: a custom BMW F800S by Avon Tyres
Little remains of the original BMW F800S: the power plant, wheels and swingarm are there, but just about everything else is new.

The most eye-catching addition is the completely bespoke front suspension system. It borrows the best ideas from several vintage designs—resulting in a system that separates steering and damping via a single, adjustable shock hidden in the steering column.

The TrailRider X-Over: a custom BMW F800S by Avon Tyres
The arms, rods and links have all been made from raw 2017/AU4G alloy. The same material is used for the custom-made frame, tank, seat cowl, fenders and speedo casing. (According to Charles, Thierry handcrafted it all “between some orders from Parisian palaces and the building of prototype furniture.”)

The airbox intakes have been redesigned too, and the headlight is a custom-made LED unit.

The TrailRider X-Over: a custom BMW F800S by Avon Tyres
In all, Thierry put in over eight hundred hours of fabrication. And it shows. Most of the aluminum has been left raw to show off the amazing craftsmanship. The only splashes of color are Union Jacks on the air intakes, and the frame and wheels in British Airways blue.

The riding experience is more akin to a Euro Fighter than an A380, though. The Trailrider X-Over tips the scales at less than 155kg, but records 85hp and 86Nm on the dyno.

The TrailRider X-Over: a custom BMW F800S by Avon Tyres
Looks like the new TrailRider rubber will have its work cut out keeping this machine on the road. But we’d happily take it for a joyride.

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The TrailRider X-Over: a custom BMW F800S by Avon Tyres