Ever customized your own bike? Then you’ll know that sometimes, even the simplest plans can get out of hand.
The owner of this BMW R100 wanted to turn it into a classy cross-country tourer, just like the one James Crowe built. So he ordered the same subframe and luggage rack combo from James’ shop: Crowe Metal Co.
But once the owner had the parts in his hand, he decided the bike needed more than just a rear-end swap. So he called up his nearest bike builder: Samuel Guertin of Clockwork Motorcycles.
The client wanted Sam to fit the Crowe Metal Co. rear end, and complete the rest of the build around it. Little did he know that it would spark an intriguing collaboration.
“I was already a fan of James’s work,” says Sam, “but it was out of question to use a complete subframe made by James and put a Clockwork tag on the bike. So I contacted James to see if we could push the idea further, and tackle the project as a collaboration.”
“He accepted right away and was pretty excited about the idea. We are both Canadian—me from the East and him from the West, Quebec x British Colombia. I loved the idea of a collab involving two people of the same country, but 5,000 kilometers apart.”
With the bike in Montreal, distance would be the team’s biggest challenge. To work around it, James fabricated and tested the parts on his own BMW airhead, and then sent them to Sam to be fitted.
Sam quickly stripped the bike down and fitted the subframe and luggage racks. The guys then decided to upgrade the front forks to Suzuki DR650 units—a conversion that James had done previously. So he machined a wheel spacer and new brake disc (to match the DR650’s caliper).
The stock mag wheels were kept and powder-coated black. They’re wrapped in Continental TKC80s, for a good balance of road manners and off-road grip.
James also sent over a new set of custom-made handlebars, controls and a throttle. “He did an awesome job fabricating those parts,” says Sam. “I can’t stop staring at them!”
Sam completed the front-end with a one-off aluminum fender, and a double-headlight setup—perfect for off-the-beaten-track trips that could run into the night.
With those mods done, the bike was torn down again for coating and finishes. Sam de-tabbed the frame, adding a new mounting point to hide a Motogadget m-Unit control unit under the tank.
The frame now has a two-tone finish: gloss black for the front, and nickel-plating for the subframe, racks, front fender and handlebars. The same treatment was given to the foot pegs and shifter—parts that Sam made himself.
The seat pan went off to mutual friend Ginger at New Church Moto, who wrapped it in burgundy leather.
Sam did some basic maintenance to the engine, before having it soda blasted and left bare. Upgrades include a set of Mikuni TM38 flat-slide carbs, and a custom stainless steel exhaust system—tucked in for maximum ground clearance.
The wiring’s all new, complete with a Motogadget speedo and switches. The battery now sits in a Crowe Metal Co. battery box, just behind the transmission, and the charging system’s been upgraded with a hefty 450W EnDuraLast kit.
“The bike was running great, and the only thing missing was some luggage,” says Sam. So a set of waterproof waxed canvas bags were made by one of James’ friends: Kassy at Old Fashioned Standards in Vancouver.
The BMW now looks like it could cross the 5,000 kilometers that it was built over.
And, in fact, it pretty much will: the owner plans to ride it from Montreal to Whistler, crossing the Rockies and numerous forests along the way.
Can we come too, please?