By James McCombe - 16 Sep 14
There isn't really any single formula to success that I know of in this world. Sure, there are ways to maximise the likelihood of it coming your way, but in my opinion the key is to find something that you love and then work bloomin' hard at it. Be open minded, talk to people and most of all, work bloomin' hard at it. In the world of bike building a formula can be a blessing and a hindrance. Transferable skills and knowledge on a particular mark reduces costs and labour, making it easy to keep churning out the same bikes; a valid business model. However, the fickle world of fashion means that people can lose interest and eyes wander onto the next shiny thing. Kevil's Speed Shop, down in Devon have deftly sidestepped the issue of other distractions and moved forward by going backwards. 2014 has seen Bavarian bike botherer Kev Hill put aside their tried and tested BMW airhead café recipe and get busy with some new ingredients. With both the OldTimer and Artisan builds finding new homes, Kevils fancied something else with a vintage flavour to fill the void. Despite first appearances this BMW is a 1980 R100, though you'd be forgiven for not noticing such a tranformation has taken place. It would not look out of place ripping around at the Goodwood Revival with the other classics last weekend. The R69 flavour comes predominately thanks to the reworked rear end. Kevils built a completely new rear end in homage to the plunger bikes of the 1950s and 60s and topped it off with twin leather clad solo seats. The pillion seat removable for solo blasts. With springs in the seat and the shocks, the ride should be comfy and the rider controls mirror this. The bike rightly is not trying to display sporting pretensions and the Triumph USA bars provide a comfortable rise and sweep, perfect for cruising the Devon country roads, or Sunset Boulevard if you'd rather. One and the same aren't they? All new electrical components and a rebuilt loom ensure the bike will get you where you want, and back again. It's easy to miss initially but have a look at the exhaust. The manifolds sweep down and cross over in the silencer making for a neat, short system tucked up front and not spoiling the clean rear end. It's just one of the many customised and fabricated parts on this bike, and every other Kevils build, subtle touches are found everywhere, but they don't scream out for attention. A word I love to use, overtly, on such builds is cohesiveness. Nothing looks out of place. Usefully, the engines on these old Beemers can be retrofitted with the more classic cast metal airbox and kidney style rocker covers. These transform the engines from a brutal 80's slab to a more classic 60's look. And as with all Kevils builds the engine has been completely rebuilt, vapour blasted and treated to a thorough freshen up. Vintage looks, modern BMW reliability; the perfect combination. Classic Avon rubber, like the rest of the bike, gives the OldSkool it's looks, but the modern compounds ensure they grip like your Grandad could only wish for. To complete the vintage look, an appropriate colour scheme was laid down. Panther black metallic offset with Old English White pinstriping and powdercoated wheels to match. Built up against a background of black powdercoat, blasted aluminium and stainless parts the bike is functional, durable and extremely pretty. It will be interesting to see where Kevils go from here. Can we expect a rigid framed R29 lookalike with modern power and reliability. I'm drooling already... Old Timer was captured by the lens of local photographer Ashley Kent in Paignton Old Town, a suitably idyllic and genteel place for the timeless curses of the bike. Now residiing with it's new owener, keep an eye out in London town, I will be! See more from Kevils Speedshop here on The Bike Shed’s Kevils pages, their Facebook page and Website.