Road and Track: A lithe BMW R80 restomod by 46Works

BMW R80 restomod by 46Works
When Shiro Nakajima isn’t honing his considerable talents in his home workshop at the base of the Yatsugatake Mountains, you’ll find him racing at the Tsukuba Circuit, a few hours away. Those opposing environments are reflected in Nakajima-san’s custom bikes; tasteful restomods that are aesthetically restrained, but also built to be ridden hard.

The man known as 46Works also has an affinity for European motorcycles, carried over from his days as the founder of the powerhouse restomod workshop, Ritmo Sereno. This explains why his latest creation—a wonderfully prepped 1986 BMW R80 restomod—looks so damn good.

BMW R80 restomod by 46Works
The bike was built as a collaboration between 46Works and the Japanese leather racing suit manufacturer Kushitani. Founded in the late 1940s in Hamamatsu, Kushitani has made leathers for Grand Prix racing greats like Randy Mamola, Wayne Gardner, Kevin Magee, and Kevin Schwantz. They’re also Shiro’s go-to race suit supplier, and they’ve collaborated on numerous 46Works apparel collections.

Shiro’s goal was to build a lithe machine that would be just as happy on the track as it would be on B-roads. His second priority was making sure that once the bike was parked, it would give its rider endless details to ogle.

BMW R80 restomod by 46Works
Since Shiro was looking to gain performance by shedding weight and improving handling, the decision was made to rebuild the BMW R80 boxer motor to OEM specs, rather than bore it out. The overhauled engine and transmission were both blasted to a raw finish, and the heads were fitted with vintage-style peanut covers. The Bing carbs were tossed in favor of superior Keihin FCR units, fitted with K&N filters.

A custom-made battery tray now sits where the airbox used to, hooked up to the revised electrical system. Shiro threw a bucketload of electronic parts from Euro MotoElectrics at the old Beemer, including a new electrical hub, digital ignition system, starter, charging system, and more.

BMW R80 restomod by 46Works
One hallmark of Shiro’s work is his ability to bend titanium tubing. True to form, this BMW sports a set of sand-bent titanium headers, flowing into a stainless steel two-into-one-into-two collector, which in turn exits via a pair of aftermarket stainless steel mufflers. (The carbs have been tuned to make sure the bike runs optimally with the new cans and pod filters.)

As per usual, the man’s attention to detail is on another level. Check out the exquisitely machined exhaust hangar; it also acts as a foot control mount, heel guard, center stand stopper, and grab handle for lifting the bike onto the stand. The foot controls are custom too, as is the corresponding mounting plate on the other side of the bike.

BMW R80 restomod by 46Works
Shiro turned his attention to the suspension next, swapping the OEM forks out for a set of Ceriani replicas. They’re matched to the BMW chassis by way of a bespoke steering stem and yokes. An Öhlins shock sits out back, with a remote reservoir tucked away inboard of the frame rails.

The wheels and rear drum brake are stock, but the front calipers have been swapped for Brembo items, attached to custom caliper mounts and gripping fresh Sunstar discs. Shiro specced the R80 with Dunlop TT100 GP tires, which offer vintage looks with modern rubber.

BMW R80 restomod by 46Works
This classic roadster also wears all-new aluminum bodywork—from its front fender through to its teardrop fuel tank, perfectly proportioned tail bump, and inner rear fender. Although the tank and tail are two separate pieces, they’re so well matched that they look like a monocoque at a glance. The subframe is another custom piece, as are the headlight brackets and seat pan.

The cockpit sports a classy set of chromed low-rise handlebars, fitted with a new throttle, Brembo levers, and Motogadget bar-end turn signals. A Motogadget speedo sits front and center, hovering above the chromed Bates-style headlight.

BMW R80 restomod by 46Works
Shiro’s judicious use of chrome and raw metal finishes is the perfect accompaniment for the R80’s elegant livery. Drops Design Works handled the paint, splashing the bike in an elegant blue hue that perfectly matches the color of Shiro’s special-order Kushitani race leathers.

With everything buttoned up, Shiro did the only logical thing—he took the bike to the Tsukuba Circuit for a proper shakedown. “I made a few carburetor and suspension adjustments, and rode it on the race track,” he tells us. “As I had hoped, it offers light and nimble handling, a powerful engine characteristic, and a comfortable ride.”

BMW R80 restomod by 46Works
Shiro sums the bike up as “a roadster that combines desirability with the joy of riding,” and we can’t fault that assessment. From the svelte bodywork to the well-judged chassis mods and intricate hard parts, there isn’t an inch of this BMW R80 restomod that we aren’t in love with.

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BMW R80 restomod by 46Works

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