BMW R100T custom

BMW R100T custom
When I first saw this BMW, I struggled to put a date to it. Was it an older bike freshened up, or a relatively new bike that had taken a trip back in time? It turned out to be an R100T resto-mod, customized to make it look older than its 1979 model year. It’s owned by Oakland-based Jean-David Gerber: “My goal was to have it overhauled in such a way that it would look more like a bike from the 1960s—a ‘naked’ bike, with fork gaiters and spoked wheels and so on. As you know, BMW used to have a very conservative approach to the design of their ‘airheads’: most parts are interchangeable throughout the 25 years of their production, from 1970 to 1995. Greg Hutchinson, one of the airhead experts of the San Francisco Bay Area, kindly agreed to teach me the basics of mechanics.”

Jean-David replaced the wheels, tank, turn signals, valve covers and handlebars with parts from older BMW models. The seat is a modified police seat from a R90/6. The objective was to have a later-model 1000 cc airhead that “looks old, but still fresh.” The ‘Sienna Ivory’ color comes from a modern Vespa GTV250 and none of the metal parts were polished (to retain the patina) but some were bead-blasted. The engine was overhauled and kept stock—except for fitting dual plugs, electronic ignition and a deeper oil pan—so as not to compromise reliability. The result is understated and low-key, but to my eyes, creamily delicious. See the full restoration, beautifully photographed, on Jean-David’s Airhead Reborn blog.

BMW R100T custom
BMW R100T custom
BMW R100T custom
BMW R100T custom

  • Great job. “creamily delicious.” My thoughts exactly.

  • Beautiful! I’d love to see what saddlebags look like on those mounts! You don’t see too many, if any, bikes with them on this site.. Granted most of the bikes on here shouldn’t have bags, but this one actually has the mounts and I believe it could pull off that look quite well (depending on the look of tha bag)!

  • Al

    Isn’t it great what you can do with an old or new BMW?

  • DarmahBum

    One of the nicest I’ve seen. Well done mate.

  • MIke

    no matter what you do to a BMW they are still the most ugly motorcycles ever built. how can anyone say that having that big lump of a flat twin sitting beneath you is attractive. well thats my view – it may not be yours!

  • Al

    Send us a photo of yourself MIke and we’ll tell you what YOU look like…

  • Keith Mc Veighty

    It takes all kinds, there are millions of bikers must be blind, One of the best bikes I have ridden, the first is an ST1300, but Mike will think that’s a pig as well.

  • DimiG

    what is not to like about massive cyclinders exposed like that, would you preffer a hidded 4 under some plastic?

  • Kidchampion

    That’s why they call those cylinders “jugs”. Some guys are just into jugs.

  • BryGuy

    Ok, let me jump to MIke’s defense and say maybe in custom motorcycle is the truest example of beauty being in the eye of the beholder.

    A few days ago there was a Guzzi LeMans. Some people raved over it. I just don’t get Guzzi’s. Every time I see those huge cylinders angled up I wonder where I would put my knees, and how you ride it without burning yourself.

    The R motor here is kind of the same. If Honda could fit 4 cylinders inside a CB frame, why does a Guzzi or a BMW seem to have such huge chunky cases practically bursting out. When you ride them how do you not feel like you are trying to steer a big metal block.

    That having been said, where I don’t get the Guzzi, this R100 speaks to me, and the recent light blue R60/5 brought tears to my eyes it was so beautiful.

    Oh and the Ducati Sport 1000 just back there… does it remind anyone else of a kid’s transformer toy that got stuck halfway open?

    $0.02. YMMV. Ride safe! I love this site.

  • don’t

    I have the opposite problem, after motorcycle engines went liquid cooled they became big ugly chunks of flat metal so designers started burying them under all kind of fairings and other crap. The engine used to be the center piece of a motorcycle, now it’s just a lot of pointless angles and false complexity to make your eye think you’re looking at something interesting when really there’s nothing to look at anymore. I don’t own a single modern bike for this reason. Even a modern air cooled ducati has the engine all hidden away under junk that’s supposed to look “high tech”. Look at an old round case one. How in a million years could anyone think the new ones look better?

  • mingh

    I’m with Don’t.
    I don’t want my bike to look like a set of nike airs. While a modern Ducati is probably heaps more reliable than any bevel, or a speed triple probably goes much faster than a T150 Trident, new bikes are only about numbers, not about emotions and engineering beauty.
    I never lost a hearbeat over a BMW though, although i like the stubborn solid style in the R series. If only they didn’t sound like an old woman’s wet farts

  • squish

    So… Let me get this straight
    White grips, cream paint, solo police style seat and the number 79 applied crookedly to matte black side covers a custom BMW makes?

    Normally you guys hit it pretty dang good. Good looking bikes effective execution but this bike, while the photogs look good the bike is just…

    Well it’s just kind of ho-hum.

  • BryGuy

    mingh said:

    “If only they didn’t sound like an old woman’s wet farts”

    AHhahahahahehehehehehohoho! Oh my! That’s funny! Oh Jeez, laughing so hard I can barely breathe.

  • YJH


  • Mack-o-matik

    stylish shots though, the 3rd and 4th have a brilliant perspective. the 2nd shows why this bike is not for beginners… and hey, why THAT backlight!?

  • McGlasses

    This is just the classic motorcycle,stripped down to the necessities. Just beautifully simple.

  • lenny Norton

    i love it,,,great work