Satora Design R1100GS
By Gareth Charlton - 15 May 15
An adventure motorcycle skulking in the garage, like a dodgy passport and a wad of notes hiding beneath a floorboard, a fast pass to instant freedom. Get on it and go. Any place you please. The BMW GS series has long been regarded as the ultimate country crosser, dreams fuelled by Ted Simon's Jupiter's Travels and Robert Edison Fulton Jr's One Man Caravan have for many been bought to thumping, visceral life by the trusty GS. The older models even looked the part, the images of Helge Pedersen roping his 81' R80GS through a jungle and navigating the Darién Gap with the GS slung precariously across a canoe are truly the stuff of wanderlust fantasy. But unfortunately, by the time Charlie and Ewan set out on their Long Way Round expedition the ever capable GS had surrendered it's matinee idol looks for a cross eyed cyborg suit. Hervé Lurton craved a GS, its peerless reliability and dynamic abilities ticked all of his motorcycling boxes, but the visuals were never going to satisfy his creative eye. "I love these machines for their robustness and the security they provide but from my point of view, they are not very successful aesthetically." Inevitably, a plan began to form. From his small workshop in Quiberon, France, Hervé began plotting the transformation of his newly acquired 1100GS donor. "I begin each project by making drawings and I perceived that if I could replace the stock tank with an old 7 series reservoir it could have a great vintage look. The biggest challenge of this transformation has been the integration of this tank." To maintain the classic exterior proportions of the vintage tank, Hervé had to get creative with the underside. He fabricated a new 20 litre epoxy carbon tank that would sit on the frame and completely disappear beneath the hollowed out receptacle of old. Needless to say achieving this required much fiddling and problem solving but when the tank eventually sat just so, Hervé knew the rest of the project would fall into place. The engine and running gear of the donor machine was all in tip top, full BMW service history condition, so with the fuel storage sorted, a new seat pan was next on the agenda. For entire days spent in the saddle crossing continents, a little more padding may be preferable, but Hervé's day to day riding sees him taking short hops amongst the roads and lanes of his picturesque sea side town and for that, the beautiful brown leather perch acquits itself admirably. Hervé is a complete one man team, building under the banner of Satora Design. From the composite tank building to the stitching on the seat, every element was built by his own hands, even the paint job fell within his skills set. Up front Hervé assembled a housing for the yellowed headlight and warning lights. He mounted the speedometer in front of this unit, enabling him to keep the whole set up super tight to the Telelever forks, lending the front end a flat tracker aesthetic. A stainless steel pipe declares the Beemer's advances through the hills via a classic Supertrapp muffler. Colour matched grips, an underslung mirror and minimal mudguards finish up the detailing. Hervé has succeeded in serving up a machine that has lost none of its fearsome globe trotting reputation whilst adding a slice of rugged retro handsome to the recipe. If, or more likely when he decides to see just how far afield his steed can carry him, he will certainly turn plenty of heads on the journey. Be sure to strap it down tightly if you end up putting it in a canoe Hervé. Keep and eye on his work via the website or Facebook page.