BMW’s boxer engine delivers one of the most unique experiences in motorcycling. From the thrum of the opposed pistons to the clank of the transmission to the shaft drive’s direct power delivery, there’s nothing quite like a Bavarian flat-twin. Electric powerplants may not have the same visceral appeal as a boxer, but Italy’s Freesound Customs wanted the best of both worlds when it built a custom BMW R 65 electric motorcycle—The Change of Season.
Initially presented at the 2020 Motor Bike Expo in Verona, the project has evolved over time. The core components remain, however, with a hollowed-out early-’80s R 65 boxer now housing an electric motor with 15kW (20 horsepower) of peak power. Freesound’s Change of Season project also packs a 72V battery, but the unit only delivers 20 minutes of full-send fun. Despite the new electric mill and power source, the team kept the boxer’s clutch and five-speed transmission intact.
Gallery: Change of Season: BMW R 65 Electric Custom
Without an exhaust system, the team rotated the outboard cylinders 180-degrees, repurposing the exhaust ports as auxiliary light mounts. While the iconic cradle frame comes from a BMW R 45, a Honda CBR600RR rear shock provides better damping and response. Freesound also combined Harley-Davidson and Ducati OE parts to fashion a new front end. Lastly, the builders borrowed a swingarm from a BMW R 100 GS to complete the Frankenstein project.
Aesthetically, Freesound adopted an aviation theme that honors the Bavarian brand’s lineage. The rear wheel resembles an airplane propellor with a chrome finish on the three-spoke design. The tail section also mimics a turbine, especially when the circular taillight illuminates under braking. The streamliner front fairing optimizes aerodynamics and integrates a cockpit-style cutout just above the handlebars.
While the team favors a polished aluminum finish, they also include a flowing three-stripe pattern that calls back to BMW’s M performance line. No, the Change of Season R 65 may not replicate the sensations of a boxer engine, but it’s a great way to maintain the clean BMW look in the new era of clean emissions.