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Shitanes 61: VTR Customs’ outrageous BMW R nineT

A 1980s-inspired BMW R nineT by VTR Customs
There’s a lot to be said for elegance and subtlety. And there’s also a time and place for going completely over the top.

Dani Weidmann and his crew at the Swiss shop VTR Customs can play it both ways. This time, they’ve turned the volume up to 11 and built a BMW R nineT that’s about as subtle as an AC/DC riff.

A 1980s-inspired BMW R nineT by VTR Customs
It’s got 136 hp, a stonking 145 Nm of torque, and it’s called ‘Shitanes 61’—a reference to the famous Gitanes motor racing livery from the 1980s.

The story starts at the last Swiss Custom Moto Show, where VTR displayed their R nineT Pure ‘Street Tracker33’ bike. It was snapped up on the second day of the show, much to the chagrin of one of VTR’s regular clients.

A 1980s-inspired BMW R nineT by VTR Customs
“Talking on our stand, our client came up with an idea,” says Dani. “He wanted a bike that was even more radical than ST33, and faster.”

The concept was agreed on the spot: an R nineT with USD forks, engine tuning, a quickshifter, top shelf high performance parts, and a dash of 80s style. “That’s doable for us, because we grew up around that decade, and have done 80s theme bikes in the past,” says Dani.

A 1980s-inspired BMW R nineT by VTR Customs
While kicking ideas around during a coffee break, talk turned towards Formula 1 cars. “We came to the Gitanes design [used on the French Equipe Ligier cars] and voilà—Shitanes was born.” The #61 comes from the owner’s year of birth.

For the donor bike, VTR chose an R nineT with the Option 719 accessory pack—which includes goodies like milled cylinder heads, upgraded foot pegs and adjustable brake and clutch levers. But to get the 80s look, VTR decided to have the Spezial parts ‘shrink coated,’ as Ferrari cylinder head covers are.

A 1980s-inspired BMW R nineT by VTR Customs
It’s the engine that’s really the centerpiece of this build, though. It’s been bored out to 1320 cc (80ci) using new high compression pistons, cylinder liners and connecting rods from Wössner.

VTR have also reworked the cylinder heads for better airflow, and installed a Power Commander to get the mapping right for the modified engine.

A 1980s-inspired BMW R nineT by VTR Customs
The dyno sheet now shows 136 horsepower, a 23% increase over the standard 110. “It’s a beast,” says Dani, and we bet it sounds like one too: gases now exit via a straight-through Akrapovič titanium race exhaust system.

There’s a racing quickshifter from Translogic for banging through the gears even faster than usual, and Dani mentions that the traction control has to be turned off before full power can be used. “We stayed away from a NOS system though,” he says wryly, “because our client also wants to ride on the street.”

A 1980s-inspired BMW R nineT by VTR Customs
Grip will be plentiful thanks to Michelin’s race-bred Power RS slicks, which are wrapped around 17-inch Kineo spoked wheels—a hefty 6 inches wide at the back, and 3.5 at the front.

Bobbed fenders keep the crud away, and VTR also fabricated the alloy front and side alloy number plates. The tank is stock but the fuel cap assembly has been modified to accept a Monza-style cap.

A 1980s-inspired BMW R nineT by VTR Customs
The cockpit has been given an upgrade too, with the standard bars swapped out for a lightweight Magura SX bend. Magura also supplied the high-end HC3 radial master cylinders and VTR have added tinted green glass to the stock twin instruments.

Sitting atop the shortened rear subframe is a new seat pad, stitched in classic 80s style and made with the help of Carrosseriesattler Yves Knobel. Tiny multi-function taillights from Kellermann are only just visible—if you know where to look.

A 1980s-inspired BMW R nineT by VTR Customs
The Gitanes-style paint was applied by VTR’s regular spray guys, Freuler of Benken. And there are a few logos from the 80s scattered around too—some of them discreetly subverted.

The owner of Shitanes 61 usually trades in his bikes after a while, and then commissions another one. But this time, he asked for all the wordmarks and logos to be placed under the final clear coat: “I will keep this beast for ever!”

A 1980s-inspired BMW R nineT by VTR Customs
That’s bad news for anyone hoping to buy this BMW in the months to come—which includes some of VTR’s own staff, apparently. “None of the parts are available in our shop or as a kit either,” Dani adds. “One of the promises we make to our clients is that we build unique bikes, and no copies.”

So it looks like Shitanes 61 will forever be a one-off. But the good news is that VTR’s order book is open. If you want something a little different, and a guaranteed one-of-a-kind too, you know who to call.

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A 1980s-inspired BMW R nineT by VTR Customs