Bell Bullitt designer Chad Hodge builds a BMW

A BMW R100/7 built by Chad Hodge, designer of the Bell Bullitt helmet.
Here’s a great way to kick off the New Year: a brand new custom from one of our favorite up-and-coming builders, Chad Hodge.

Chad landed on everyone’s radar when his stunning Bullitt helmet concept was picked up by Bell. Then his first build appeared—an equally stylish Kawasaki KZ750.

A BMW R100/7 built by Chad Hodge, designer of the Bell Bullitt helmet.
Since then, Bell has given the Brooklyn-based designer a full-time gig. But he’s also found time to launch Cardinal Motors—a custom shop-cum-soft goods producer.

The motorcycles are pretty cool. This is ‘DV 100’—a BMW R100/7 built for Ashley Bezamat of the Italian sunglasses company Dom Vetro.

A BMW R100/7 built by Chad Hodge, designer of the Bell Bullitt helmet.
“The main requirement for the build was a strong connection to his brand,” explains Chad. “Something that was vintage yet reliable, and a bike that could go on long trips comfortably.”

“I ended up suggesting a BMW R100, and found a 1978 donor bike two blocks from my apartment. I know airheads are very popular these days—but I guess that’s for good reason, ’cause they are really great bikes.”

A BMW R100/7 built by Chad Hodge, designer of the Bell Bullitt helmet.
The donor could be hacked up without remorse. The pistons were installed backwards, the valves swapped on both sides, and the wiring was a mess. So Chad took it as a sign. (“Funny enough, it didn’t run all that bad,” he quips.)

This old boxer’s come a long way since then—thanks to a healthy teardown, a top-end rebuild and a rewire. Standout bits include a new set of Mikuni carbs and mufflers from Cone Engineering, mated to custom headers.

A BMW R100/7 built by Chad Hodge, designer of the Bell Bullitt helmet.
The one-off subframe sits on a pair of custom-built Works shocks. The seat’s a minimal affair, but the upholstery is immaculate—just as we’ve come to expect from Ginger McCabe at New Church Moto. And that neat little bum-stop on the end was 3D printed.

A BMW R100/7 built by Chad Hodge, designer of the Bell Bullitt helmet.
The rest of the bike’s finished with a mix of off-the-shelf and hand-made bits (there’s a build sheet below).

The overall effect is subdued and tasteful—with very little color, save for the burgundy seat and leather touches.

A BMW R100/7 built by Chad Hodge, designer of the Bell Bullitt helmet.
And boy, do we love those leather touches: a tool roll where the airbox once was, and a magnetic tank strap that holds a pair of shades perfectly.

It’s low-key, classy stuff, like the rest of the locally produced gear in the Cardinal Motors shop—a Kevlar-reinforced base layer, a waxed cotton and leather helmet bag, and a leather tool roll that doubles as a dopp kit.

A BMW R100/7 built by Chad Hodge, designer of the Bell Bullitt helmet.
“In the end the BMW came out just like I wanted it to,” says Chad. “It’s cleaned up but still looks old, has all of the important things upgraded, and maintains that airhead character.”

DV 100 is not as extreme as some BMW customs we’ve seen. But its minimalist, industrial vibe is alluring.

A great way to kickstart a new business from a promising young designer.

Cardinal Motors | Facebook | Instagram | Photos by Blaine Davis

A BMW R100/7 built by Chad Hodge, designer of the Bell Bullitt helmet.
Build Sheet
Stripped down to the frame, new powder coat and paint
Top end engine rebuild
Custom sub frame and seat
3D printed tailpiece
Custom built fenders and mounts
Dyna III electronic ignition
Dyna Coils
Motogadget Motoscope Classic speedo
Custom built Works shocks
Mikuni VM34 carbs
K&N air filters
Shinko 705 tires
Motogadget M-Unit
Tarrozi fork brace and rear sets
Tommaselli throttle housing
Tommaselli matador levers
Relocated Odyssey dry cell battery
Custom built headers
Cone engineering mufflers