Kevils Speed Shop - Justin's R nineT
By Ross Sharp - 01 Sep 16
Like oil tankers trying to keep up with the ever changing tides of the custom scene some of the main manufacturers have been slightly tardy in adapting to trends and the demand of its customers. BMW seemingly stole the show a few years back with their R nineT but it's taken a fair old while for them to embrace the current market. The budget Beemers on the near horizon will offer punters and builders the chance to spare more coin for mods rather than empty their pockets on the base donor but custom shops haven't aren't in a position to wait for such gracious gestures. Kevin Hill from Kevils Speed Shop has been scramblerising the R nineT since they launched but he thought it about time that the finesse engineered-in by those clever Bavarians was enhanced, rather than reversed. Luckily a pharmaceutical company owner, Justin from Hertfordshire, turned out to be just the sort of customer Kev likes working with. A 700 mile 2016 model arrived at the Kevils' Paignton HQ, followed by a steady stream of high-end components with the instructions "just use what you think will work with your vision, pick out what you want to keep for yourself and send the rest back with my bike". Hopefully Kev arranged for Justin to be scanned and 3D printed as this attitude is far from the norm. The R nineT might be an accomplished machine but nobody would call the styling flowing or sleek. Kev's aim was to make it "less bitty". The starting point for smoothing things out is the Kevils Café Tail which is aluminium rather than slightly cheaty GRP. The rear is notched to allow for a flush fit of the LED tail/indicator strip. Assisted by the BMW's easily removable pillion peg sub-structure the new tail is super neat and floats above the rear end, running all the way to the tank in a continuous piece. A thick seat pad upholstered in leather completes the job with comfort to spare, offering Justin hours of ache free riding. Another potential Marmite component of the stock bike is the airbox, fed by a long intake tract on the right-hand side of the asymmetrical fuel tank. Personally, I like to see the trumpet overemphasised in a dramatic Mad Max fashion or deleted altogether. Kev went for the latter and sacked-off the standard intake arrangement and airbox. A body panel was fabricated to fill the void and voluminous K&N filters plugged onto the throttle bodies. With a bit more air going going in it was worth shouting on the way out, decibels and a guttural growl come courtesy of a titanium exhaust system by Akraprovic. A remap and fine tuning on the dyno made the most of these upgrades and released a few more pferdestärkes.
Most readers will know the basics of vehicle handling and understand the benefits of reducing unsprung weight, if you're not one of those people consult our good friend Mr G. Oogle. It's a fair presumption that Justin not only understands such intricacies of improving a stock motorcycle but also has the wherewithal to do something about it. If you manufacture drugs you might have a few brass farthings to rub together but pharmaceuticals, that's a whole different ball game. For the "why would you bother with carbon wheels on a 120hp air cooled twin" brigade, firstly yes, this one has about 10 extra and secondly congratulations for actually reading this far down. The answer is; because he can. And they look great, nice choice Justin.
To make the most of this weight saving Justin ordered a rather tasty looking Nitron shock to dial in the selfish one-man riding setup that he'll be making the most of this summer, scrubbing-in those Pirelli Diablo Corsas.
A halo headlight sits within a cockpit hiding cowl as Justin wanted to maintain the functionality of the stock clocks and dashboard. After all, if he plans on pushing the limits of all these upgrades the last thing he'll want to do is take his eyes off the road for too long and squint at a tiny Motogadget readout.
The Rizoma catalogue was left fairly dog-eared by the time Kev had finished the build, for good reason. The sheer breadth of components available and quality of finish meant more budget could be channeled into fancier areas rather than man hours spent trying hide indicators on over complicated stalks.
Sticking with a degree of originality Kev chose an original and particularly popular colour from BMW paint palette, Estoril Blue. Remember the mean looking E36 M3? Yup that's the blue. To deal with the rest of the fuss and let the sexy carbon wheels standout most of the silver and gold parts from the standard bike have been powder coated or anodised black.
Kev hasn't entered a dick swinging contest or tried to reinvent the wheel with this build, saying "no doubt there are more extreme R nineT customs out there but I wanted the bike to look factory custom and still very much usable, which I'm sure I've achieved. But most importantly Justin is very happy with the final result." With the budget Beemers on the way and sensibly-ish priced secondhand donors on the market we'll no doubt see a whole load more customs based on BMW's already excellent motorcycle.
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Photos by Rob Grist