Russell Mecanica, The Pantera
By Anthony van Someren - 29 Oct 13
There were some seriously bold-looking bikes at this years Wheels & Waves, so with the likes of El Solitario and Roland Sands making a big splash at the event it was no mean feat that this this BMW R100RT stood out and won first prize in the the custom competition. It's a brave build with more references to steam-punk and Mad Max than to the traditional cafe custom scene, but it's also very European, and it's bikes like this that push the boundaries and give the rest of us permission to be a little more quirky and unique. As a brand Russell Mecanica was born just last year, named after proprietor Eduardo Iglesias's dog Paco, who is a Jack Russell. 38 year old Eduardo is a Fireman by trade, living in Northern Spain in Asturias and has been into bikes since a very young age, and has built around 30 bikes over the last seven years, mostly for himself and for friends. Last year a beer-fueled conversation led to the birth of the brand that his bikes are now built under and Eduardo also got some help with merchandising - professionalism beckoned. The Pantera is a 1980 BMW R100RT and has a host of upgrades from competition aluminium pistons to a handmade frame and much more. The unique fish-tailed and drilled exhaust is also hand made, complementing a new tank, lighting, instruments and all the custom bodywork from the bulbous OSSA tail and seat to the bikini fairing and screen-grill. Drum brakes like these were not an original feature on any Beemer and came from a Suzuki GT750, while the forks are from a Sanglas 500. Customising bikes in some parts of Europe, including Spain, is not easy with many regulations and restrictions, so there is a lot of additional work that goes into making sure bikes like these can have standout looks and swapped-out components, but still pass tests to get legally certified for road use. All in, this project took Eduardo 8 months to complete. It's definitely a bike to cause a stir and will no doubt prompt many comments from those who love it, and those that just won't get it, but we applaud this kind of creativity as it keeps the custom culture on its toes and gives us a fresh perspective on how things "could" be, instead of how they "should" be. Huge thanks to Eduardo (and Paco) for sharing, and we hope to feature more of their builds on The Bike Shed very soon. See more from Russell Mecanica HERE. Thanks also to Luis Hevia for the photos.