From Port Elizabeth South Africa , Wayne Buys sends us his latest creation....
- " My goal was to create a café racer with styling from the fifties, I wanted round curves that that would make it pop. It needed to look cool, yet be fully functional with good handling and performance to match. Something that could dress up a guy’s bar and yet be brought out on a Sunday morning and run with modern day sports bikes. It needed to be an air cooled and for the right sound a twin was imperative. The BMW R9T would have been a brilliant platform to use but was too expensive, so a 2008 R1200S was obtained with low miles and still in perfect nick.
The paralever front suspension was going to present some challenges, but I had some ideas that could be used to turn this into my advantage for some unique features. Temptation to modify the suspension in order to get an aggressive look was a nonstarter due to handling requirements. Thus the motor , driveline and suspension were all left stock. The seat to peg and tank ratio was also left standard. All parts were to be hand made from aluminum and stainless steel and no CNC aftermarket items were to be used.
First order was to hide the oil cooler, so it was moved vertically to the front of the engine. A complete new two into one exhaust was fabricated from stainless steel and vapor blasted for an even satin look. It is a one piece unit that drew inspiration from old Norton racers. Velocity stacks were made from stainless steel and vapor blasted to complete the look of the exhaust. A five piece aluminum cowling was then formed to hide the oil cooler and to enshroud the middle of the exhaust. The belly and front profile of the shroud was inspired from WWII fighter planes.
The front fender presented one of the paralever challenges as a conventional fender would either sit to high from the wheel or have a huge gap above it. Aviation came into play a second time for in inspiration with the concept of creating an air intake incorporated on top of the front fender, that has a functional purpose of channeling the air to the oil cooler.
The aluminum tank needed to be unique, so I decided to do a tank/tail piece all in one with the filler cap placed at the rear. As the front section of the tank is mostly hollow to create space for the electronics and front brake/clutch hydraulics, a breather was placed at the top on the inside to solve the problem of an airlock when filling the tank. The rear LED tail light was incorporated into the tailpiece and is mounted behind the logo. To distract attention from the front shock which looked out of place, which was the second paralever challenge. I decided to fabricate a aluminum grill with queues taken from a 1934 Ford roadster.
To keep a clean look I modified the stock clutch/brake units to be actuated via cables and mounted them under the tank. I hand made a custom set of reverse levers that would activate the modified stock hydraulic units at a one to one ratio whiles hiding the cables in the bar tubes. I wanted the bike to look like a craftsman build it in a barn, using skill and available materials, not a credit card. To go with this look I decided that hand wrapped leather grips would fit the build. To keep the bars slim and uncluttered, I left the throttle cable exposed from the traditional cover which would have added bulk to the bars. I formed an aluminum seat pan, after sculpting the foam I used the same leather to cover it.
An aluminum front number board was formed to compliment the racing feel. Yet the bike needed to be completely street legal so the smallest posable hi-low beam projector light was obtained. Only the inner guts were used while all shrouding was hand formed from aluminum. The hanger bracket was hand formed out of stainless steel with a hood to add to the retro feel. Front signal lights were incorporated into the number board.
Green was selected as the main color with a complimenting cream to enhance the vintage period feel that I was after. Wheel color were selected to give a vintage feel of the bike as the budget had no room for the spoked wheels that would have been the preferred choice for the period look of the build. Fork sleeves were made to cover the spindly looking fork tubes and give it I more robust look.
I am extremely proud to say that this whole build was done with the minimum of off the shelf parts, instrument clock, mirror, headlight internals, fuel filler cap and the left handle bar switch gear. All parts were hand formed and or fabricated with only a band saw, English wheel and an hand operated milling machine. The build was done in its entirety by myself inclusive of the paint job and upholstery work "
- Wayne Buys - FabMan Creations