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Euro style, down under: Ellaspede’s BMW R100R

BMW R100R scrambler by Ellaspede
In the thriving world of BMW R-series customization, there’s a strong design trend in Europe that hasn’t taken off in other countries yet. The core features are a floating single seat, chunky tires, small guards, lots of black, offset lights and super clean lines. Builds from the Amsterdam shop Ironwood are the perfect example.

The style hasn’t made it down under to the big Australian shops—until now. Ellaspede’s latest build hits a bulls-eye on the European style, with a crisp and understated finish as good as any from a northern hemisphere builder.

BMW R100R scrambler by Ellaspede
“We’ve ticked off a few individual ‘Euro’ items on recent builds,” says Ellaspede’s Hughan Seary. “But our client Sam was the first person to come to us with a vision that ticks all the boxes.”

Sam explained his reasoning: “Most modern road bikes have never really appealed to me, which is why I’ve always wanted something custom. I think the BMW R-series makes some of the nicest customs, and I like the shape of the boxer engine. The semi-scrambler style appeals to me too, from growing up on dirt bikes.”

BMW R100R scrambler by Ellaspede
Sam settled on the ‘later’ model 1992 BMW R100R as a donor. In stock form, it doesn’t have the classic R-series shape tank or the popular snowflake wheels, but there’s more to like, especially if you’re doing a custom build.

Sam’s R100R came with 41mm Showa forks, a Brembo front brake and floating discs, Paralever rear suspension, and GS-style spoked wheels—plus early style ‘round’ valve covers.

BMW R100R scrambler by Ellaspede
Once the R100R was stripped down in their Brisbane workshop, Ellaspede worked on getting the ‘core’ elements of the bike right. An earlier model tank was sourced, lined up on the detabbed frame, and a Biltwell solo saddle was slotted into a custom seat unit.

“Sam is quite a tall gent, so we made the unit adjustable forwards and backwards,” says Hughan. “It also houses the hidden tail light and rear indicators, with internal wiring.”

BMW R100R scrambler by Ellaspede
The ‘outside spoke’ wheels were taken apart for a freshen up, with new seals, stainless spokes and nipples, while the rims and hubs were powder coated. Then they were fitted with chunky (but grippy) Continental TKC80 tires.

“The outside spoke design is particularly hard to lace and true, so our usual wheel guy told us to go to a specialist,” says Hughan. “We eventually sent them to the other side of the country to be done. No easy task in Australia!”

BMW R100R scrambler by Ellaspede
Making a custom bike for the road (and not just for Instagram photos) always presents extra challenges, and Ellaspede explored their options for a new rear fender and number plate holder that didn’t disrupt the looks too much. A custom swingarm-mounted guard was the only option.

To get the stance right, the forks were sent off for a rebuild, getting a 70 mm shortening with progressive springs, re-valving and all new seals. The top triple tree is an aftermarket item from Retrofit Collective in German, while the bottom was powder coated and pressed with new stem bearings to complete the overhaul.

BMW R100R scrambler by Ellaspede
Up top, Ellaspede converted the R100R to hold one-inch Biltwell Tracker bars, and installed Motogadget Mini switches, bar end indicators and a Motoscope Tiny analog speedo. Motogadget also supplied the grips, which are matched to Grimeca levers.

Out front is a 7” side mount headlight with some custom internals. “Sam liked the look of the older style R100 headlight mount ‘ears,’ so we sourced some and flipped them to position the headlight a little lower,” says Hughan.

BMW R100R scrambler by Ellaspede
Continuing the Euro style is a single-side fog light, mounted to the factory crash bars. Along with all the other electrics, it’s powered by an Antigravity 12-cell battery hidden under a new cast aluminum airbox cover, at the back of the motor.

The engine was given a once-over to ensure everything was in order, with new seals and bearings fitted, and full rebuilds for the gearbox and carbs.

BMW R100R scrambler by Ellaspede
New exhaust headers mimic the factory style before flowing into a slash cut twin system. “This enabled us to get the muffler tips sitting super snug to the rear tire on the left hand side,” says Hughan.

Everything was finally stripped down, and sent off for paint and powder-coating. The R100R has a mix of satin and matte finishes, with touches of gloss black and polished surfaces to provide highlights.

BMW R100R scrambler by Ellaspede
“I really like the matte finish with select silver components,” says client Sam. “I wanted to keep the original style pinstripe that borders the side of the tank, and introduce some matte silver to break up the black.”

New BMW roundels on the tank add a hint of color; that unmistakable Bavarian blue.

BMW R100R scrambler by Ellaspede
For a bike with such subtle finishes, Ellaspede’s R100R has a real presence. It’s also good to see inspiration from the top European shops filtering down to the custom scene in Australia.

This is a machine we’d love to blast around the hilly streets of Brisbane—and with a pair of proper fenders in play, perhaps along the hardpack trails of the local plantation forests too.

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BMW R100R scrambler by Ellaspede

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