Nigel's Roth Child BMW R80
By Gareth Charlton - 27 Jul 15
I like to think I know my shit. Identifying a tank from fifty paces or guessing a bike's builder from the tightest detail shot are the kind of pathetic nerdy games I play and pride myself on. But there is nothing better than discovering something you didn't know about and turn out to love. Ed "Big Daddy' Roth. I am aware chastisement inevitably looms from those Bike Shed stalwarts with a touch more grey flecking their beards, but I confess I knew nothing of the guy. So when this brazen BMW R80 built by Nigel Broughton turned up declaring this Roth chap as the chief inspiration I took to the web for a wonderful education. I shall let Nigel introduce Mr Roth as his obsession has clearly incubated for far longer than my own. "Roth was a key figure in Southern California's kustom kulture and hot-rod movement of the late 1950s and 1960s. In the mid-1960s Roth began customizing motorcycles. Mainstream motorcycle magazines refused to run his articles and ads, so he started his own publication called Choppers, which featured articles on extending forks, custom sissy bars, etc. It was a small, black and white publication that ran from 1967 to 1970, and was the first magazine ever to exclusively feature custom motorcycles, or choppers. His legacy lives on today with a range of products including Roth metal flake paints." Nigel built his R80 not just in homage to his hero but as he imagined Ed would have built the bike had he been around today. Nigel carried out the build in a corner of the Side Rock Cycles workshop and is very thankful to Pete at Side Rock for his help, use of space and bottomless cups of coffee. You can see more from Side Rock on Facebook. The concept was for a low, fat bike that went quick but was comfortable to ride, the look had to be pure hot rod. Nigel briefly considered taking the hard tail route but dismissed this in favour of being able to ride longer routes. The engine was rebuilt using a Siebenrock 1000cc kit so that it would have go to match the show. The frame was heavily modified and cleaned up with a welded section replacing the original subframe. When fabrication was complete Nigel plumped for an unusual mushroom hue for the frame, but he was playing the long game, the frame colour was setting up the contrast for the rest of the machine. The '79 donor received a /5 police-spec tank which was chosen for the huge area which it provided for paint. Roth Tropi Cali orange flake was the chosen coverage. It is a fabulous paint perfectly capturing the era, style and location of Roth's work. The police spec tank also features a compartment which now houses the battery and a HGU crown gas cap which was welded into place. "At the front the suspension was lowered some 5 inches and a new set of yokes were made some 2 cms wider than standard to accommodate the big fat front tyre. At the rear the swing arm was modified to fit the wider rear tyre. The new front end was fitted with 1 inch Biltwell Tracker bars shod with Kustom Tech levers in brass and alloy. Motogadget MST vintage brass speedo and cup holder and Motogadget m-Switches mini were fitted." In a build full of eye-catching highlights the first element to firmly trap your gaze are those funky wheels. A pair of 16 by 3 inch Morad rims received the Roth Tropi Cali Orange flake treatment before being laced to the BMW hubs with fat stainless spokes. These were then shod with 16 inch 500 Avon Gangster white walls, perfect on this machine. To compliment the white walls the bespoke seat was upholstered in white Aston Martin leather by Glen Moger and white Pure Grips slipped onto the bars. The headlight is a restored 1947 Lucas King of the Road from a prestige old car given to Nigel by a riding buddy, the rear light is an AHC Titmouse in brass. The combination of brass, chrome, metal flake orange and pristine white is a vibrant eyeful to make Roth proud. Seven Sins Monster plug wires in matching cali flake top the cake. Nigel's Roth Child Beemer is one hell of a tribute to his automotive hero, what better way to pay homage than to encourage a fresh legion of fans to his work. Roth's Mega Cycle has certainly found a place in my dream garage as an ultimate hauler - give it a Google. Many thanks for the introduction Nigel and a stunning build in it's own right, just a shame I missed seeing it on display at Bike Shed London in May, a real show stopper from all accounts.