Moksha: A BMW R nineT from Sinroja and TW Steel

Moksha: A BMW R nineT from Sinroja and TW Steel
For brothers Rahul and Birju Sinroja, the journey to the top of the custom world has been quite a ride. Today, they have a 2,000 square foot workshop in Leicester, England, and can command top billing at any custom show they care to attend. But the brothers grew up in a small town in India, where motorcycles are merely a form of transport.

“We didn’t see a lot of fancy bikes in India back then,” Rahul recalls. “But the ‘ding, ding rumble’ of a 2-stroke Yamaha RX100, or the thump of a Royal Enfield Bullet, would always get my heart racing.”

Moksha: A BMW R nineT from Sinroja and TW Steel
The Sinroja brothers are now highly qualified engineers who can turn even the most prosaic machine into a sleek object of desire. And when they get their hands on modern machinery like the BMW R nineT, magic happens.

Last year, Royal Enfield tapped Sinroja for two ‘factory custom’ builds, and this year it’s the turn of Dutch watchmaker TW Steel, with BMW Motorrad along for the ride.

Moksha: A BMW R nineT from Sinroja and TW Steel
“We’ve known the TW Steel team for a while,” says Rahul. “They’re working with custom builders who have a passion for art and detailing, just like they have a passion for their watches.”

TW Steel chose Sinroja for their latest ‘Son of Time’ custom bike project, and talk quickly turned to the donor bike. “We were keen to work with BMW’s latest boxer engine, since we’re known to work with classic boxers,” says Rahul.

Moksha: A BMW R nineT from Sinroja and TW Steel
“BMW loved the idea too. They got onboard straightaway, and supported us throughout the build—especially when it came to the CAN Bus electrical system.”

This radical R nineT is called Moksha—a word from the Vedic times in India, meaning freedom and liberty. With this commission, Sinroja were free to change the paradigm of the typical custom BMW, and the result is extraordinary.

Moksha: A BMW R nineT from Sinroja and TW Steel
Rahul and Birju usually work off sketches and ideas in their heads, but this time they called up their good friend Rajesh Kutty, one of the head designers at Bentley Motors.

“He helped us envision this bike before we started making it—which made the whole build part a lot easier,” says Rahul. “I had the idea ‘in my head’ and could visualize the bike, but after some dotting around on my iPad he created a beautiful concept.”

Moksha: A BMW R nineT from Sinroja and TW Steel
As with every project, there are twists and turns. In the case of this R nineT, and ironically given TW Steel’s business, it was time.

“Initially we had six months, but it came down to ten weeks. This is where passion took over from business sense and lifestyle … we decided we would work 24/7, to make sure we had one of the best R9Ts out there.”

Moksha: A BMW R nineT from Sinroja and TW Steel
Richard from Motorcycle Wiring Specialists was called in to tackle the CAN Bus systems, with a little from BMW Motorrad UK. The crew knew that the paint part of the build would be last minute, so 8 Ball Custom Paint was also briefed as soon as all the parts were available.

Sinroja then binned every single piece of Euro 4 and 5 compliance gear that wasn’t necessary for the BMW to run. They stripped off virtually everything, except the engine and the main frame section. Even the factory airbox went: DNA Filters provided a custom filtration setup for a cleaner look and increased performance.

Moksha: A BMW R nineT from Sinroja and TW Steel
To get the correct stance, Nitron built a custom rear shock, 27 mm longer than stock, to raise the rear end slightly. The forks and brake calipers were sent to Flying Tiger Coating and ceramic-coated black, to match the paint scheme of the concept.

Sinroja have replaced the wheels with hoops made to spec by Kineo, who even tweaked the spoke nipples. The nipples are all red, aside from two black ones on each wheel—alluding to the two black dots of the TW Steel logo.

As Rahul notes, when building bikes at this level, “It’s all about the details.”

Moksha: A BMW R nineT from Sinroja and TW Steel
Rizoma delivered
 a consignment of Italian billet aluminum 
machined parts: rear sets, clip-ons, valve covers and
 a front timing cover. Sinroja also replaced both levers with Brembo performance master cylinders.

After bolting it all up, they double-checked the 
ergonomics and clearances before starting on the aluminum bodywork.

Moksha: A BMW R nineT from Sinroja and TW Steel
“Every bike we build is built to ride first—then to look good,” says Rahul. “So ergonomics are very important to us. This bike, despite its complicated bodywork, has still got the full original steering lock available, for example.”

The next job on the slate was to create the bodywork in aluminum, with the help of metal shaping specialist Chris Walton. Over 150 hours went into this, all done by hand using artisan skills and coach building techniques from 
the past.

Moksha: A BMW R nineT from Sinroja and TW Steel
“We started with the tank, because it dictated everything else around it. It always looks far too easy on the computer; throughout the build we made three different tanks to make sure we nailed it.” A custom fuel cap was machined by Fastec Racing to replicate the crown of the matching TW Steel Moshka watch.

A striking tail section—with a unique cutaway—houses the rear lights. But the most challenging part of the build was the front fairing. “We didn’t want to have a classic-style fairing, we’ve seen it too many times. We wanted to do something that stands out and makes a statement.”

Moksha: A BMW R nineT from Sinroja and TW Steel
The fairing hints at the ‘impossible objects’ drawn by the Dutch artist Escher, and is almost an optical illusion. It’s formed from three separate sections: two sides and a top piece. Thanks to the strength of the aluminum, the whole fairing structure has just two mounting points—one on each side of the forks.

The front of the fairing leans over the headlight for a slightly ominous effect. “It’s to give the bike an attitude,” says Rahul. He cites the lead character in Assassin’s Creed, one of his favorite video games as a kid. “There was always something about the hoodie the character wore.”

Moksha: A BMW R nineT from Sinroja and TW Steel
The two side scoops in the fairing were inspired by the scoops on BMW M cars—like the new 4 series, which has vents behind the front wheels. Here, the fairing scoops direct air to the cylinders and exhaust headers, cooling them down.

The GPS speedo is a custom creation from Speedhut that also includes a tachometer. The face replicates the watch face, a pleasingly discreet touch of detailing. The clean and simple switchgear is from Motogadget.

Moksha: A BMW R nineT from Sinroja and TW Steel
Once the electronics were sorted, Sinroja mocked up the R nineT one last time, to finish off the stainless custom exhaust (made in-house).

The paint was laid down on the already-prepped panels, using TW Steel’s house colors of red and black. The stripes suggest kinetic energy, and despite the immaculate quality, were laid down at speed: all three of the 8 Ball paint team worked through the night to finish the BMW in time for the Bike Shed show opening the following day.

Moksha: A BMW R nineT from Sinroja and TW Steel
“Motorcycling is the ultimate form of joy for us, a way out of the daily routines of life,” says Rahul. “It’s almost a world of its own, away from the material world we live in today. Moksha is exactly that: a sense of freedom, a motorcycle that breaks the molds of usual cafe racer design.”

If you didn’t catch this stunning R nineT at the BSMC show, the next stop is at the Glemseck 101 festival in Germany.

Say hello to the brothers if you are there—and keep an eye on the race schedules. There’s a chance Moshka will be racing against time in the sprints. 

Sinroja Motorcycles | Facebook | Instagram | Photography by Tom Horna from Autohouse London