Could this be the ultimate road trip motorcycle?
Intrepid, incredible to look at and poised for adventure, this is the BMW GS 001
If, like us, you appreciate the adventure and thrill of a good two-wheeled road trip, then you’ll be aware that the BMW GS series is the gold standard. With larger front wheels, travel suspension and an upright riding position, these bikes have been on more unforgettable expeditions and travels than Columbus, Scott and Cook combined.
Recently, however, a humble Brooklyn-based custom motorcycle shop decided they could improve on this timeless, tried-and-tested classic. They thought they could take a machine that has been pushed to the limits of engineering and the ends of the earth and make it even better. And they have done just that.
Surely the pinnacle of modern adventure engineering, bow down in front of the BMW GS 001, a reconfiguration of the BMW R1150GS Adventure. Davey Whitcraft, the man behind the Beemer, acknowledged that this was “the inverse of how most bikes are constructed”, but felt it important to respect the original design despite giving it his own Whitcraft spin.
Almost 90 per cent of the old wiring harness and interfacing was removed — which, for the layman, means no keys, no display panel, no flashing warning lights and no fuses. By doing this, Whitcraft wanted to strip the BMW of its typical German ‘geekiness’. Behold his success.
"Surely the pinnacle of modern adventure engineering, bow down in front of the BMW GS 001..."
From the nuts and bolts to washers, bushing and bearings, each individual worn component on the bike was stripped off and replaced with original BMW parts. On the aesthetic side, a recycled military waxed cotton luggage bag from Unit Garage was added, and the seat was reupholstered with luxurious heavy leather, diamond-stitched by custom seat house Via Meccanica.
And that’s not the only upgrade. An obnoxiously loud Denali Sound Bomb horn was also fitted, with the aim of “fending off aggressive New York cabbies.”
Davey admits that “BMW purists might shriek at first glance of this sliced and diced GS,” but goes on to explain that the bike is simply a love letter to these incredible, intrepid machines.
“The bike may look like a style exercise,” he concedes, “but much care went into creating a highly practical and rideable BMW that retains some of the best features that the GS had – yet lighter, faster and with classic looks.”
“In the end, the bike turns out to be a total hooligan bike – the front wheel goes up with a little twist of the right hand and the light weight allows it to be hustled through tight corners far quicker than it should.”
And if the promise of that ride doesn’t get you mentally mapping out your next road trip, we don’t know what will.
Want more modified classics? Why not check out Morgan’s latest upgrade of the Aero 8?
Become a Gentleman’s Journal Member?
Like the Gentleman’s Journal? Why not join the Clubhouse, a special kind of private club where members receive offers and experiences from hand-picked, premium brands. You will also receive invites to exclusive events, the quarterly print magazine delivered directly to your door and your own membership card.