The popularity of BMW’s classic R-series shows no signs of waning. Still, it’s unusual to see a R80G/S get the custom treatment. Given the heritage of the Gelände/Strasse designation, you’re more likely to spot one in stock trim, or kitted out with parts from the likes of HPN and Touratech.
The owner of this ’81 G/S had other things in mind though. After having bought it as a non-runner, he dropped it off at Blitz Motorcycles‘ workshop with a dead engine, rusty carbs, and a photo of a vintage Norton dirt tracker as inspiration.
Blitz gave the engine a complete top-end rebuild, ditching the Bing carbs and airbox in favour of Mikuni VM34s with K&N filters. They then overhauled the wiring to simplify it, installing a new ignition system and a lithium-ion battery—the latter stashed away in a small custom-made box under the seat. Vintage, USA-spec Triumph handlebars were fitted, with Blitz’s signature mini-switches, and a tiny speedometer mounted to the left of the engine.
To give the G/S more of a dirt tracker stance, the front wheel size was dropped to 18 inches—allowing Blitz to fit Dunlop K180 tires both front and rear. Stainless steel, ‘2-into-2’ exhaust headers were fabricated and, along with the mufflers, ceramic-coated in cobalt grey. The rear shock was also replaced.
A bespoke seat and rear loop were made, as well as a tail unit with integrated LEDs. Out front, Blitz mounted an old rally car spotlight and built discreet fork-mounted LED blinkers, fashioned after similar units by Japan’s Speedtractor (with their approval).
The client had only one special request—that blue housings be used for the throttle cables. Blitz obliged, fitting a blue, vintage Yamaha AT2 fuel tank to match, and powder coating the frame dark blue. The fork legs, wheels, engine covers and handlebars were all powder coated gloss black, with white grips and a single white number board adding a touch of contrast.
The practice of mounting an old tank—in the condition it was found—is a hallmark of Blitz’s aesthetic, and something that tends to polarize opinion. In this case it works perfectly—adding a touch of patina and character to an otherwise completely refurbished machine, and complimenting its stripped down lines.
As for the client, according to Blitz’s Fred Jourden he was well pleased with the finished product. He had not expected (to use his own words) such ‘radicality’ from a ‘German cow.’