Maria Motorcycles Panzer
By Anthony van Someren - 27 Aug 13
When a custom Motorcycle builder decides to build a German brat-style BMW flat twin airhead and call it "Panzer", you don't necessarily expect the bike to come out looking so, well, ...refined. But there's more to this pretty build than a flat seat and fat tyres, as Luis and the guys put a lot of subtle work into the chassis too, to make sure it works as well as it's looks suggest. The donor was a R75/6 and initially came to Maria Motorcycles for a new seat. Parts of the bike had already been rebuilt, but the whole thing just wasn't hanging together right so Luis took things up a level and decided a full re-think was in order. Although a lot of custom builders in Europe have already had their take on the BMW R series, it was a first for Luis as he had been pretty skeptical about the bike's limitations, but he clearly got over it, as the end result has the MM stamp on it, and it looks superb. Plan A was to make the bike smaller and lower, shrinking the overall presence of the chassis and letting the wheels dominate the proportion of the bike a little more, and making the whole thing looks more chunky - as Luis put it - 'less thin and shy". New aluminium rims helped fatten things up, allowing the guys to fit Firestone AMS tyres. This meant pushing the rear rim over to the left a little, as the transmission got in the way of the wider rubber. The rear sub-frame was completely rebuilt using a larger diameter tubing for a not just a stronger rear end, but a more uniform look to the entire frame and a more robust look to the whole bike. The suspension at the front was lowered and shorter Bitubo shocks were fitted at the back. The tank was also lowered to complement the rest of the bike's compacted look. The whole bike is now hunkered-down and tucked in like a pitbull ready to bite. "In this build there were many small details that we loved. For example the original air box was completely changed to fit the battery. We had to close the original air entrances with welded aluminium plates, then we had to blast them to remove any marks and to keep them with the original look. By doing this we solved two problems: One was to hide the battery, and another was to fill the gap on the back of the engine if we had removed the air box." As with all quality customs the electrics were simplified and the starter was added to the ignition key while Luis sourced the simplest possible controls and small speedo/tacho to keep a minimal brat-style look up top. Luis is very happy with the end result and described the bike as being a mix of classic and aggressive, and when you put this build side by side with many other BMW customs, we have to agree. Although at first glance many of the Beemer brats look similar, when you dig a little deeper every builder has their own take on this German machine, and this one is pure Maria MC. See more from Luis and his crew on The Bike Shed and on their own website, and Facebook pages.