A bike has to be pretty special to stand out at the annual Wheels & Waves festival in Biarritz: it’s the motorcycling equivalent of a beach full of French supermodels. But this lovely 1979 BMW R65 with a surfboard rack stopped passers-by in their tracks with its understated elegance.
It’s the work of Xabi Ithurralde, and it took him ten months to build. The slightly ungainly looks of the stock R65 are gone, replaced by the more athletic build of a scrambler: Xabi’s goal was to create “a narrow and light motorcycle to drive off road.” He chose a BMW R65 rather than a larger bike because the short-stroke boxer engine revs eagerly, and the weight—at just over 200 kg wet—is very manageable. A major consideration if you’re going to strap on a surfboard …
Everything has been slimmed down, from the headlight to the tank to the beautifully finished seat, which Xabi describes as une place et demi—a seat and a half, “for the best proportions.” The renowned tannery Rémy Carriat, which supplies Louis Vuitton and Hermès, provided the leather for Xabi to make the seat.
The bars are now high and wide for a comfortable riding position and maximum leverage, and the brake master has been relocated to underneath the tank. (It’s a BMW K1200LT unit for extra stopping power.)
If you’re a laidback kind of guy who likes to ride the waves as well as the roads, what could be better?
Head over to Xabi Ithurralde’s Atelier 11 website for more images.