If the name Séb Lorentz doesn’t ring a bell, it should. Séb is one of Europe’s most gifted bike builders, with an eye for a line and a willingness to break the mold.
Séb is now back with another aerodynamic BMW, but this time, it’s road legal. “I was a bit tired of all the naked cafe and Bratstyle-lookalike custom bikes coming from everywhere,” he admits. “So I decided to look for another direction. I’ve always been in love with streamliner design on one hand, and ‘lead sled’ custom cars on the other.”
Séb scouted around for a Moto Guzzi Eldorado or Ambassador, and then stumbled across this 1973 BMW R60/5. “I couldn’t refuse the Beemer because it was really cheap! I also thought it would be more fun to build a German gran turismo kustom bike.”
It’s a short wheelbase model sporting the famous ‘toaster’ tank, but Séb has fitted the engine from an R75/5 to get a few extra stout German horses. The exhaust system has been upgraded with classic Hoske mufflers and power goes to the road via a standard R60/5 gearbox with a short ratio rear end.
Custom parts include a one-off seat pan and new upholstery, which Séb describes as being “temporary but has lasted longer than planned.” The bars are from a US-spec Triumph T120, and are fitted with Posh grips.
The BMW R60/5 is normally quite a high-riding bike, so Séb has shortened the forks and fitted more compact shocks to lower it closer to the ground. But it’s the bodywork that grabs the attention, starting with the magnificent, all-enveloping fiberglass fairing, located by Atelier Chatokhine. The rear fender has been modified to take a 1933 Ford taillight with a grill, and the front fender—not that you can see it under the fairing—is a /6 BMW Police-spec fitment.
It’s the perfect custom for leisurely cruising around central Europe, and pretty practical as well—thanks to the authentic Wixom Ranger panniers. And if you get lost, there’s a little illuminated Hull compass to refer to, a popular post-War auto accessory and far more charming than a GPS unit.
Séb’s BMW R60/5 is probably less suited to long-distance touring than a slick new Honda VFR800, or an American V-twin. And it might not be the fastest bike in the world, either. But I know what I’d rather swing a leg over.
As the saying goes, it’s better to travel than arrive.
Images by Daniel Beres. Follow the adventures of Séb via the Lucky Cat Garage website and Facebook. ‘Dustbeemer’ will make its first public appearance at next month’s Wheels & Waves show in Biarritz, France.