You don’t get many customs based on high-tech, 160 mph roadsters. But this stunning new BMW from Deus has the ‘go’ to match the show.
It’s called 4CYL and it belongs to Orlando Bloom—who is a certified custom bike nut and horsepower junkie. The project got rolling when Bloom visited the BMW factory in Munich and hit it off with BMW designer Ola Stenegärd (below right). Soon after, a freshly uncrated BMW S1000R was sitting in Deus’ Los Angeles workshop.
4CYL is the work of Michael ‘Woolie’ Woolaway (above left), an old-school racer who heads up Deus’ Venice Beach design department
This isn’t the first BMW that Woolie has built for his friend. Bloom’s garage is also home to a 1964 BMW R60 that Woolie restored to original condition.
As you can imagine, building this BMW S1000R was a completely different Kessel der Fische. After all, the first step was to remove all the plastics.
“I realized why not many people want to customize this bike!” laughs Woolie “There are a lot of electronics under the plastics, but not a whole lot of ‘raw beauty.’ It all had to be addressed.”
As a point of reference, Woolie thought of the functional, stripped-back Butler & Smith racebikes from the 1970s—like the R90S ridden by Reg Pridmore. And he’s succeeded. This S1000R isn’t what you’d call conventionally pretty, but it celebrates the essence of the machine.
The 158 hp inline four-cylinder motor is unusually wide. So rather than try to hide it, Woolie decided to accentuate its girth. He’s plumbed in an oversized Febur radiator, a functional architectural piece that adds character to the broad-shouldered bike.
Another key element of the re-design is the pair of boardtrack-style bars that stretch across the top of the tank. “There were a few details that were important to Ola, such as the tank bars.” says Woolie. “They hold down the tank quite well.”
Next up was a custom subframe for the seat and tail section, which hides the electrical box. “This was not easy—there are so many electronics and gyroscopes and sensors, and they have to stay in the stock location,” says Woolie.
The new tray that fits below the seat was shaped first with aluminum, and then vacuum-bagged in carbon fiber. The ABS brake pump and all the accompanying brake lines were removed to further free up space. The mirrors and brake fluid reservoir are from Rizoma.
The one-off seat is wrapped in black waterproof Kushitani leather, with double diamond tuck stitching. Another classic element is the round headlight, secured by elegant brackets made from stainless steel tubing. It’s a stark contrast to the sharp-edged sport bike fairing that the S1000R left the factory with. The new front fender has a vintage feel too, despite being crafted from carbon fiber.
Behind the small hand-shaped aluminum fairing, you’ll find the stock gauge cluster—stock because it’s hard-wired into the electronics. But the artist Ornamental Conifer has treated the face of the analog rev counter to a neat geometric design.
To secure the forks, Woolie put a call in to fellow Coloradan Davey Durelle. “He had his guys make a clean top clamp, to match the clip-on bars from Gilles Tooling.” Gilles also provided rear sets and axle components, with the ultra-light carbon fiber wheels coming from BST. Traction is provided by Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa hypersport tires.
4CYL adds a dash of retro magic to an already great bike, swapping the edgy modern plastics for a more timeless vibe. If you like the style of the R nineT but want even more power, Orlando’s new ride is food for thought.