Customizing motorcycles is a very serious business. It absorbs time, money, and garage space. It also requires high levels of mechanical skill, and usually the patience of a spouse.
Not surprisingly, most customizers take themselves very seriously. But one man who doesn’t is Kurt Walter, Design Director for the Icon 1000 apparel brand.
Walter doesn’t just design the gear: he also leads the team that builds Icon’s off-the-wall concept bikes. They’re vastly different machines tied together by a common thread of irreverence.
This is Icon’s latest build, a mid-70s BMW R90/6 with a subtle military vibe.
“The donor bike was the last of the cheap BMW airhead buys in the Portland metro area,” Walter tells us. “Like a swarm of bearded locusts, hipster nation had already devoured every Honda CB within a thousand miles.”
The BMW was quickly dubbed Slow Burn, in reference to her “well-used jugs.”
Walter never does things by halves, so we’ve got a heavily modified frame, with a heightened subframe for clearance and a reworked backbone for rigidity.
The gas tank is stock, but has a neatly frenched gas cap and reworked mounts to keep it low and level.
The R90/6 offers pleasing amounts of grunt straight from the factory, so it’s just been treated to a custom exhaust. It’s a 2-into-1-into 2 setup, snaking high out of harm’s way, and terminated with shorty silencers from a Honda CRF450. A quilted seat from Ginger at New Church Moto cushions the ride.
The rear suspension is now a mono shock—courtesy of Progressive—and fitted to a Dakar-style braced swingarm. The rear cargo rack is almost as neat: it’s actually a modified subframe from a Ninja 300. “Large enough to hold a bespoke shaving kit and antique silver flask,” Walter deadpans.
A front fender from a Ducati 860GT keeps the salt spray at bay, and the rubber is equally practical—it’s Continental’s Twinduro TKC80, the quintessential dual sport tire. A rally lamp from the iconic German brand Hella (est. 1899) lights the way.
Icon is known for its entertaining short films, and there’s one to celebrate the launch of Slow Burn. “We procured a military surplus Zodiac boat, an open stretch of Pacific coastline, and a rubber clad Russian model,” says Walter.
Sounds like the perfect weekend trip to us. Enjoy.