Custom motorcycles are a mix of art and engineering—and there’s a tension in that mix. Trends develop, and quickly become cliché. But occasionally a builder bucks the trend so hard that it literally stops people in their tracks.
That’s what happened six months ago at the Wheels & Waves show in Biarritz, France. Crowds gathered around this BMW, which was given a brief outing by Spanish builder David Borras and his El Solitario MC crew.
‘Baula’ is based on a 1969 BMW R75/5 and it’s the result of six months’ hard work, from design to the fabrication of dozens of parts. “The inspiration was a mixture of the 1939 TT-winning BMW Rennsport and the art deco Henderson,” Borras reveals.
El Solitario completely rebuilt the motor and suspension, and the restored frame is now nickel-plated. The fishtail pipes are from a Velocette Thruxton, but it’s the huge Hoske long-range tank that dominates the looks.
The electrics are all-new, with a Silent Hektik coil and an electronic ignition system at the heart of it. A featherweight AntiGravity lithium battery provides juice, and the instruments are from Motogadget.
The metalwork is entirely new and hand-made. The fairing, molded around twin Bates headlights, sports a pair of brown Lexan polycarbonate resin windows. At the back, custom-made racks house vintage Buco Panniers.
Handmade bars are finished with leather grips and matched to Royal Enfield levers. The BMW now rides on Excel Takasago 18” aluminum alloy rims, more often found on motocross bikes.
And why the name ‘Baula’? It’s the Spanish word for a leatherback turtle. Like this BMW, it’s an ungainly yet strangely elegant creature. And impossible to ignore or forget.
Cycle World has just published an excellent piece about El Solitario and their exploits; Read it here. Then keep in touch with the adventures of Borras and his crew via the El Solitario Facebook page.
Images by Kristina Fender.