With the BMW R-series becoming the platform du jour for custom builds, it’s getting harder to create something new—without simply being ‘different’ for the sake of it.
That was the quandary faced by Filippo Barbacane of Officine Rossopuro, one of Italy’s top custom builders and a man best known for his Moto Guzzi customs. “I wanted to build a BMW that could be distinguished from the others,” he says. “So the first thing I decided to do was to clean up the main frame, and build a completely new rear subframe that would allow me to create a more harmonious form.”
Filippo’s client wanted to use the bike off road, so there’s a beefed-up swingarm and a set of 45mm Marzocchi forks up front. The shocks are adjustable gas Bitubos, and Heidenau tires provide an excellent compromise between on- and off-road grip.
The brakes are upgraded too, with custom-fabricated 320mm front discs machined to fit the stock BMW hub. Four-piston Brembo calipers provide maximum stopping power.
The aluminum bodywork is unobtrusive, functional and light. The electrical wiring is now hidden under the tank and juice comes from a small lithium battery positioned under the gearbox.
The hand controls and lighting have been replaced by ultra-minimal aftermarket components, including a compact Daytona speedo. The engine itself is factory specification, but as with most of Filippo’s bikes, it’s now hooked up to a custom exhaust system built by the Italian specialist MASS.
The finishes are simple and beautifully judged. There’s a durable, rough-effect black powder coating on the frame and chassis, and the tank is painted in a two-tone of very dark petrol green and grey.
It’s a twist on the classic scrambler style, with a more practicality than you’d expect to find on a retro-style custom. This is one bike I’d love to take for a blast down the local dirt tracks and gravel roads—and fine work from a builder at the top of his game.