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Radikal Klassisch: Moto Essence’s BMW R80 roadster

BMW R80 RT custom by Moto Essence
Every style of custom motorcycle has a clear-cut formula, but we like it best when builders tear up the blueprint and blur the lines. This refined BMW boxer has the clip-ons of a cafe racer and the high pipes of a scrambler, but it still looks just ‘right.’

It’s the work of Oliver and Dominik at Moto Essence in Gauting, a town just southwest of Munich. They simply call it a ‘classic roadster,’ and the unusual aesthetic is a byproduct of their consulting process.

BMW R80 RT custom by Moto Essence
Moto Essence’s customer originally wanted a scrambler but then changed tack, keeping only the exhaust design from the original brief.

Luckily the guys were working with a versatile donor: a 1985 BMW R80 RT. “We thought of building it ‘patinated’ and without modern aspects such as milled parts,” explains Oliver, “but this wouldn’t have matched the customer. He’s a fan of classic design but also a techie, so we decided to go for a mix of modern and classic high-tech parts.”

BMW R80 RT custom by Moto Essence
Oliver and Dominik tore the RT down to its nuts and bolts before getting started. Then they rebuilt the motor with a 1,004 cc kit, and installed a pair of Dell’Orto carbs with K&N filters. The exhaust system, from the headers to the mufflers, was custom-made by the German exhaust specialists Hattech.

Moto Essence also added a custom oil cooler setup, rewired the bike and hid the battery away.

BMW R80 RT custom by Moto Essence
Moving to the running gear, the duo laced up a set of Akront Morad high shoulder rims, and wrapped them in Bridgestone BT45 rubber.

If you’re wondering where that stunning front drum brake comes from, it’s off a Laverda SFC 750, sourced via a friend that has connections in the Laverda Club of Germany.

BMW R80 RT custom by Moto Essence
And yes, it was a mission to install, and even more challenging to adjust. But now that it’s dialed in, we’re told it’s performing flawlessly.

Higher up, Oliver and Dominik kept the OEM R80 fuel tank, but reworked the rear. The subframe’s a tweaked bolt-on unit from Sport Evolution, held up by a custom shock from YSS. It’s topped off with a custom seat, covered in brown leather with red highlights.

BMW R80 RT custom by Moto Essence
The aluminum fenders are hand-made, and the rear includes a classy taillight shroud for more of a vintage feel. A license plate bracket flanked by tiny LED turn signals finishes off the tail section.

Up front you’ll find a neatly milled top yoke from Sport Evolution, with a Motogadget speedo mounted off it. The guys also added clip-ons, with Motogadget switches and bar-end turn signals, and a single mirror. Smaller details include custom-made foot pegs, and a vintage-style gas cap.

BMW R80 RT custom by Moto Essence
Moto Essence’s customer originally wanted his Beemer finished in dark monochrome finishes, but the guys weren’t convinced. “When Dominik and I built up the silhouette,” says Oliver, “it was clear to us that we were creating a piece of cream cake. I’m glad we could convince him—I think it’s an eye-catcher.”

We agree… the red and cream livery is inspired, as is the decision to leave the motor mostly raw, with subtle black details. It’s a no-fuss build—more timeless than it is trendy, and a pretty decent ride too, by the sounds of it.

BMW R80 RT custom by Moto Essence
“It’s a really smooth ride,” Oliver tells us. “The engine combines the torque of 1,004 cc with the short primary drive ratio of the R80, which gives you superior acceleration. The 38mm Dell’Ortos respond much quicker than the original Bing constant velocity carbs do. The sound is bassy but not too loud.”

“After our test program, Dominik didn’t want to give the bike to the customer any more!”

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BMW R80 RT custom by Moto Essence

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