Retro Moto Tori's R100
By James McCombe - 26 Mar 15
All mouth, no trousers, is not a phrase that can be fired Junior Burrel's way. The man has more cloth than the Vatican; his turn-ups are practically Mobius strips. But without wishing to inflate an ego, he's banging the drum loudly for traditional fabrication skills and that should be raucously applauded. Operating out of Texas under the Retro Moto name, a quick glance at his Instagram feed will fill your screen with hand-beaten delights and manual-milled wonders. So when he finds time to build up a full bike it's always going to be good'un. And this RT build was to be a little different, with a particularly singular challenge. His newly-married buddy Chris, was imminently departing for the Air Force, and wanted to build up a bike for his wife, so they could enjoy a couple of weeks ripping round together. So time was short and the build have to be done in double time. As inspiration to all of us who have had a 'nearly finished' project in the garage for a year or two, Junior and Chris cranked out all the work in just 6 (very long) nights, allowing the glowing bride to have a couple of weeks to ride it before her plane-wielding husband left to play beach volleyball and what-not. To get things going, a '95 R100RT was found at a local bike shop. Low miles, fully optioned up but critically it had just had a full mechanical going over and was plum for a quick build. Whilst the acres of bodywork and numerous switches weren't required, having a solid bike underneath, meant the focus could be on making the bike look right. So back to the workshop and stripped of it's tourery-ness, the first item on the agenda was a new subframe. Simpler, sleeker and with a mild kick. As a personal challenge, where structurally reasonable, Junior no longer uses mild steel in his builds, rather opting for stainless and the difficulties that go along with welding and machining it. Hence the subframe on this bike is crafted from the chromium-alloyed bretheren of the steel family and looks great for it. Without the need to paint it, the raw steel provides some great contrast, picking up on engine detail and the exhaust system. To avoid disturbing the lines of the back end, the frame was drilled and the wiring threaded through. With the fairing gone, a single 52mm Acewell gauge supplies the rider with more functionality than the original armada of dials and lights of the original setup. The charging light was relocated to under the tank, out of sight but removing the need for major electrical surgery. Time well spent practicing with needle and thread allowed Junior to upholster the aluminum seat base himself; the fluted, Brat style . Along with the continual honing of machining skills, Retro Moto can now handle almost all aspects of a build in house; a real boon for a cohesive build. The paint too, was thrown down by the guys, the electric blue an uppercut of colour on an otherwise tonal bike. The original 8 spoke alloy wheels were sent off for a fresh coat of black powder and some new road biased rubber. Ensuring the chassis rolls with a spring in it's step, the original rear monoshock was binned in favour of Progressive Suspension rear unit. While the inner workings of the engine remained out of scope, the exhusts were rerouted. Sweeping down and back up the left flank, the two pipes collecting into a single Cone Engineering reverse megaphone. A pancake Hella unit was sourced for front lighting duties; the shallow depth of the unit letting it be tucked up close to the forks, and gives the bike a bluff, purposeful face. Out back the classic rear light is framed by the worlds smallest sissy bar, a sly wink to custom bike culture. Rounded out with a set of Renthal bars, new grips and mini indicators, the bleary eyed pair emerged through the shutter door right on time. The happy couple got the bike, and the time, they deserved. Everyone loves a happy ending. Oh, and as Brandon Lajoie's pictures show, the bike looks great on one or two wheels, the big cc boxer providing enough grunt to hoist a minger on demand. Having lost more than 40kg, the bike is now more agile than ever, Junior's test riding proving the the old Dame can dance. Hard work and dedication to fabrication shows what can be accomplished in a short period of time. So no excuses, get back out there, whip off the dust sheets and learn a new skill today.