After building bikes for nigh on 20 years, Unique Custom Cycles has a reputation most builders would die for. The Swedish company is known for its traditional chopper and drag racing builds, but its latest project—nicknamed The Stockholm Syndrome—is very different.
UCC’s Ronna Norén and Gordon Roth like a challenge, and a few weeks ago BMW Motorrad dropped one right into their laps. They were given just five weeks to revamp a BMW R nineT, to enter into the famous Norrtälje Custom Bike Show.
For 35 days, Norén and Roth barely slept. But as you can see, the result was worth it. ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ is a clean and rakish roadster, the naked cousin of Roland Sands’ faired Concept 90 bike. And despite the tight timeframe, this R nineT is rammed with high-end Swedish engineering.
The forks and triple trees are new, built in collaboration with Tolle Engineering. The brake system was designed with the help of ISR, and features radial 6-piston calipers grabbing 320 mm fully-floating disks. The ABS sensors are retained, and on the custom handlebars is an adjustable ISR master cylinder. Öhlins got into the act as well, providing a custom shock and steering damper that we’ll probably see in production soon.
The bike is also a showcase for UCC’s own fabrication skills. The frame has been cut and raked a few degrees, and fitted with inserts from Perka Nyström of Plebs Choppers—the legendary Swedish motorcycle club that includes BMW Motorrad head designer Ola Stenegärd amongst its members.
The super-sano tank is a cut and modified R nineT original, matched to a custom seat from Stitch Sweden and a hand-made rear subframe. The exhaust system is newly fabricated from stainless steel, hooked up to a Burns muffler, and even the oil cooler is a UCC custom part.
Despite the clean, classic looks and extensive modifications, all the R nineT electronics are retained. Norén and Roth spend a lot of time working with modern Harleys, so they are comfortable negotiating their way around ECUs and wiring looms.
‘Stockholm Syndrome’ was entered into the Custom Class of the Norrtälje show, which meant it had to be ridden to the event. “We had 96 km of tiny country roads to ride, and there were no incidents at all,” the UCC boys report. “The Custom Class is one of the biggest classes, so we were up against 45 to 50 bikes—mostly Harleys. We didn’t think we had a chance because of the Harley domination in that class, and some of the experienced Harley builders were judges. That’s how it works at this show, and we thought the judges would not see what we’d put into this build.”
UCC did not take the outright trophy, but came in second. Which for a modern-style café racer in a sea of choppers, is a win all the same. And the build got a tick from Ola Stenegärd too. “Very clean, very Swedish somehow. Beautiful proportions with a lot of trick trademark UCC details and technical solutions. The wheel combo and overall stance is one of the best I have seen.”
“At the show, we had nothing but positive reactions,” says UCC’s Ronna Norén. “The one comment we heard most was ‘I can imagine having one of these’.”
We could imagine that too.