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Bavarian Bobber: Titan’s extraordinary BMW R50/3

Bavarian Bobber: Titan’s extraordinary BMW R50/3
Motorcycle fashions come and go, but the bobber has been around since the 1930s. In those days, it was known to speed-hungry Harley and Indian riders as a ‘cut down’ or ‘bob job.’ Fast forward 80 years, and the appeal of the bobber is still strong: Triumph is having difficulty meeting demand for its modern-day namesake.

BMW, though, is not a brand you’d associate with the stripped-down hardtail look. But this remarkable machine from Austria can hold its own against the finest from the USA and England. It even stacks up well against BMW’s own official ‘R5 Hommage,’ which we revealed a year ago.

Bavarian Bobber: Titan’s extraordinary BMW R50/3
The builder of this most unusual BMW bobber is Titan, a small shop based in the ancient university city of Graz. The picturesque alpine location makes for a good photoshoot, but the build itself was a little more troublesome.

According to lead tech Michael Siebenhofer, Titan don’t have any inhibitions when it comes to structural changes. But this project was rather unusual: ‘Boxer goes Harley’ is how he sums up the brief.

Bavarian Bobber: Titan’s extraordinary BMW R50/3
“All the technical parts had to be the finest—simple and modern,” he adds. “But rear suspension? Nope.” The frame was to be as old as possible, preferably from World War 2, but the ignition should be electronic, for modern reliability.

In search of the right stance, Titan started calculating wheelbases, axle loads and steering head angles. “We thought a Wehrmacht edition R75 would work—without the sidecar, naturally. Then we found Herr Zink, an outstanding expert on old BMWs. We briefed him about our project, and after the second beer he convinced us to take any other ancient frame but the R75.” Apparently the R75 is made of low-quality steel—a corollary of the war years.

Bavarian Bobber: Titan’s extraordinary BMW R50/3
After another bier and a flick through BMW’s historical literature, Titan decided to buy a 1956-vintage R50/3 frame stored in Herr Zink’s attic. “It was not cheap,” Michael admits. “But buy cheap, buy twice.”

Back at the workshop in Graz, Michael and his crew removed the rear suspension from the R50 frame and devised a new mount for the cardan driveshaft. The hunt began for an engine and gearbox from the late 70s or early 80s, and an R75/7 was found for a reasonable price. “We kept the wheel hubs, the engine and transmission, and the fork tubes,” says Michael.

Bavarian Bobber: Titan’s extraordinary BMW R50/3
The forks were fitted with new seals and bushes, and modern Wirth springs slotted in. Then they were mated to the R50/3 frame with a 9° rake kit from the German specialist AME Chopper. The finishing comes from stunning alloy fork claddings—hand made over 70 hours by the famed Austrian metalworkers Blechmann.

The wheels are works of art too, with the original hubs restored and mated to new 18” rims with fresh spokes. The rubber is classic block-pattern Avon Mk II.

Bavarian Bobber: Titan’s extraordinary BMW R50/3
The old school tires will probably struggle to contain the power unless the rider has a gentle right hand: the 745cc boxer motor has been rebuilt with a Siebenrock Big Bore Kit, punching it out to 1070cc and delivering 70 stout German horses.

After a fresh coat of high temperature paint, it was shoehorned into the R50/3 chassis and plumbed in to new ceramic-coated pipes, topped off with gorgeous fishtails.
Bavarian Bobber: Titan’s extraordinary BMW R50/3

Vintage bobbers can be somewhat cantankerous, but with a Silent Hektik ignition system and a complete new electrical system, Titan’s BMW should be free of gremlins.

Bavarian Bobber: Titan’s extraordinary BMW R50/3
At the heart is a Motogadget m.unit control box, feeding a Motoscope Tiny analog speedo (flushed into the Daytona headlamp bowl). The wide, old-style LSL bars are fitted with discreet m.switch buttons, plus Sguardo bar end blinkers from Rizoma.

It’s the tank that’s the crowning glory, though. Channeled to sit low on the frame top tube, it’s a 4.5-gallon handmade meisterwerk with alloy side covers and grippy kneepads. A touch of candy blue lifts the classic paint scheme—dark blue with white pinstripes.

Bavarian Bobber: Titan’s extraordinary BMW R50/3
The seat is worthy of special mention too. Tooled from leather, with immaculate inlays and blue stitching, it’s the work of the Greek outpost of Autostop—a global leather specialist that designs and produces leather interiors for Toyota, Ford and Chrysler.

Bavarian Bobber: Titan’s extraordinary BMW R50/3
Detailing like that makes this one of the coolest custom BMWs we’ve ever seen, and one of the best recent bobber builds, full stop. Granted, a modern KTM might navigate Austria’s famous mountain passes a little faster—but we’d pick the laidback style of Titan’s BMW bobber any day.

Titan Motorcycle Company | Facebook | Instagram | Images by Klemens Koenig Photography

Bavarian Bobber: Titan’s extraordinary BMW R50/3