It's pretty, but is it functional? Do we care?

The BMW R850R is like the bratty little brother of all the 1100cc oilheads. It was never a super popular bike, but always quite a capable one, and these days they are at the height of affordability.

All of that makes this restomod a heart-warming piece of art, wherein an otherwise nearly-universally unloved BMW is given a makeover to become the beauty every truly loved motorcycle deserves. The bike's owner, who has had it since new, commissioned this work.

The French design shop “Sur Les Chapeaux De Roues” did the custom work. Direct from the french that means “On the Hats of Wheels” but I’m guessing it loses something in the translation. Regardless, they did excellent work with this build, from the spoked wheels off a similar-generation GS to the bobbed tail to the gorgeous paint work.

R850R Gas Tank

The otherwise-unsightly electronics are hidden underneath an aluminum cover integrated into the fully-fabbed rear subframe. The airbox has been tossed in favor of pod filters. After pulling off most of the plastics and rebuilding the tail end, the shop wanted to balance out the look of the bike with covers on the front forks. Here’s where it gets clever and/or confusing.

Those fork covers, although they give the bike a very stompy look reminiscent of an off-the-wall girder front end, are only functional as covers. The oil cooler has been integrated into those fork covers, and a fender fabbed up whole-cloth for the front wheel. You may wonder how the front wheel has any suspension travel without bashing the hell out of the oil cooler and headlight, but look closer! The entire front end has been bolted to the front telelever suspension swingarm. The entirety of the cooler, headlight and fork covers move with the front wheel, not the chassis of the motorcycle.

R850R Port

While that design lends to the beauty of the build, I’m not sure how the functionality will hold up. The oil cooler on an R-bike was never meant to bounce around, and the headlight may not point where you want it to while on a bumpy road at night. There’s also the question of all that unsprung weight on the front wheel creating potential handling problems.

A custom bike often has to make concessions when it comes to form vs function, though, and as long as you know that going in you can enjoy your build for the extremely pretty but maybe not so functional thing that it is.

Source: Pipeburn, iMotorbike