On The Right Track: A sublime BMW R100 from Clutch

BMW R100 Street Tracker by Clutch Motorcycles
As any vehicle designer will tell you, minimalism doesn’t come easy. And Willie Knoll of Clutch Motorcycles knows that better than most. His bikes might be effortlessly cool, but they take gallons of sweat to get that way.

Willie is not the most prolific of builders, but he focuses on quality over quantity. As a former photographer, he has ‘the eye,’ and there’s never anything awkward or out of place on his machines.

BMW R100 Street Tracker by Clutch Motorcycles
This 1980 BMW R100 RT rolled into his Paris workshop as a 1980s tourer, and left as a classy, pared-down street tracker. In the metal, you’ll probably first notice the ‘flip-flop’ Daytona Paradise paint, which changes color with the light—but there are plenty of other subtle details that shine.

“It’s not a crazy futuristic build,” says Willie, “because that’s not what I’m into. I like good lines, timeless and minimalist details, and a perfect running, rebuilt motor.”

BMW R100 Street Tracker by Clutch Motorcycles
Willie wanted something simple and a little aggressive, so getting the silhouette right was key. So he’s binned the original bodywork—including the fuel tank, which he replaced with an older ‘toaster’ unit tweaked for a better fit.

The beemer’s rear-end has been re-worked too—dramatically. There’s an all-new subframe that creates the impression that the seat is floating, although it’s actually supported by well-hidden cross braces. And lower down, there’s a completely one-off monoshock system, hooked up to a Hagon shock.

BMW R100 Street Tracker by Clutch Motorcycles
The stance is just perfect, helped by 18” Excel rims laced to the stock hubs at both ends. They’re wrapped in Avon Roadriders, whose levels of grip will be tested by the new front brake setup—a Brembo system from a newer BMW.

To keep things super-sano, Willie has relocated the battery to behind the transmission. He’s also ditched the airbox in favor of K&N filters, adding a cast cover in its place to round the engine off nicely. It houses the starter, and a small oil pan for the engine breather outlet.

Most of the wiring is hiding under the seat, or in the modified tunnel of the fuel tank. There’s a full complement of Motogadget goodies too, including a speedo, bar end turn signals and handlebar switches. They’re joined in the cockpit by a gorgeous set of hand-made, direct-mount handlebars, with all the wiring hiding inside.

Willie’s handiwork can also be seen on the stainless steel exhaust headers, which terminate in a pair of Spark mufflers mounted parallel to the subframe rails. He’s paid attention to the smaller details too, like the foot pegs, and the beautifully knurled gas cap—a Clutch Custom signature touch.

BMW R100 Street Tracker by Clutch Motorcycles
And then there’s that crazy paint job on the tank. “The paint is vintage ‘Daytona Paradise’—new old stock,” explains Willie. (A rare blend used on the 1964 Shelby Daytona, and going for around a hundred bucks a tin.) “The effect is crazy, man…from green to blue, to purple, to bronze, it’s a trip!”

A pair of handcrafted fenders cap the build off at both ends, along with a Harley-Davidson headlight and a machined tail light from the Clutch Customs catalog.

BMW R100 Street Tracker by Clutch Motorcycles
Notwithstanding the eye-catching paint, this R100 RT is as clean and sleek as they come. Like a little black dress from Chanel, it’s the kind of style that will never go out of style.

Clutch Motorcycles | Facebook | Instagram | Images by Daniel Beres | Limited edition Clutch helmet by Veldt

BMW R100 Street Tracker by Clutch Motorcycles