Edwin's BMW Sidecar
By Ali Latimer - 22 Jun 14
We've featured many custom R series Beemer's, but a sidecar is a first for us, and it has to be one of the coolest combi's we've seen. Built by Edwin Mensink from the Netherlands along with some help from friends. Edwin is a salesman working for a GPS specialist company and seems to know his way around a bike, just as his products do around the roads. Like most GPS units, he found his skill-set limited at times and needed help from friends and experts along the way, just like when I refer to my map! After entering a BMW R1100GS into a street fighter Edwin won. When he was introduced to the sidecar community, and had a go on one, he knew he had to build his own, but with a very low budget available it wasn't going to be a quick build; finding the right bike, sidecar and parts is timely enough without having to watch the pennies. Inspired by an R75/5 sidecar combination, Edwin decided an R series would be his donor bike, but he wanted something older, and with a bit more grunt, so a 1975 R90/6 was found, but it was a daily driver and looked pretty tatty, and nearly wasn't bought; but a friend gave some advice on the bike and a stonking deal was struck, then to top it off; it actually turned out to be a great base for the build. Edwin had the foresight to take measurements of the fork/swingarm of the R75/5 when he first saw it, so these measurements would be the guide to his bikes front end transformation. The front fork with swingarm was built by the owner of vgmotorcycle.com, at first Edwin thought he was going to do it himself, after all it was just a bit of pipe bending... right? Absolutely not, computers, measurements and drawings all took place ahead of the final product, and it's a stand out feature, so we're as pleased as Edwin that he went with the pro's; he may still be bending pipe other wise! The sidecar frame is from Stoye and is early 1960's, but the sidecar itself is a Walter Wünsche from the 50's, it wasn't in the best condition and needed a new floor and a complete back plate. The base is wooden, probably a commonly used material for this kind of thing back in the 50's. The sidecar had a car battery mounted weighing about 10kg and steel plating underneath, weighing about 16kg, this extra weight gives the combination good stability and cornering. Lines and details are very important to Edwin, whether it be the location of the seat between the engine and rear wheel or the flow of the fenders or the handlebars being a low height so as not to rise too far above the tank; all this gives a low and wide profile, and with a mere 12cm ground clearance it's lower than you realise thanks to the Ikon suspension and a Hagon shock mounted to the sidecar. The paint on the tank and headlamp is the original blue and the sidecar is obviously left in plain aluminium apart from the painted lady, but Edwin likes showing the new v's the old, so the replacement floor stands out making its own statement. The bike seat as well as the cockpit of the sidecar have been treated to a thick brown leather, which was sanded to make lighter and give a near Nubuck look, the edges of the cockpit also received some leather detailing making the look of an old open cockpit plane. All together, the new and old Ally, the blue paint and the brown leather all complement each other beautifully. There's so much to talk about with this bike; from the exhausts and the lamps to the switches and the tyres - maybe it's because there's twice as much as 2 wheeler or maybe because it's just that interesting, but it's time to wrap this feature up, so I'm going to leave the last word to Edwin, as he tells us about the riding experience: "The Sidecar combination rides better than expected. It's just like a go-cart. It handles very well, with a very direct steering which makes it fun cornering a roundabout or corners. Because of its stiff damping she sometimes throws me out of her saddle which makes it a total fun-bike. It really invites you to play with it. I lack experience, but there's progession every time I ride it." Thanks for sharing Edwin, if you find yourself in London anytime let us know, we'd love to see this in the flesh and get a lift through town.