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The BMW R100 was king a half-century ago. And for Dirk Oehlerking at Kingston Custom, the Bavarian motorcycle marque’s R Series of the 1970s continues to cast a spell.
Unsurprisingly, in July 2021, Haas Moto Museum founder and curator Bobby Haas commissioned the German builder to build him a custom R100.
Bobby Haas is one of the first to bring my attention to custom Motorcycles. His love for design, art and motion has led him to collect fantastic custom builds over the years.
Building a custom bike for Bobby Haas, an avid BMW collector and museum founder implies much pressure. But like all the most meaningful work, there are no limits in connection with one of the world’s finest and most original custom builders – Dirk Oehlerking’s Kingston Custom.
On September 28, 2021, at age 74, Haas succumbed to respiratory complications. The news came as a shock to many and led to numerous tributes in his honour. One such act was created by Dirk Oehlerking and his team at Kingston Custom Cycles.
However, Oehlerking ensured Haas saw the custom motorcycle and sent a photo to Haas four days before his passing. After taking a look at the picture, Haas appreciated the bodywork.
Talking to Bikexif Oehlerking
“I was frozen, shocked. I could not and would not believe it. Such a wonderful person is no longer with us? I sank into deep mourning.”
Oehlerking righteously grieved for a month before a conversation with Hass’ partner Stacey that, prompted him to find the fortitude to complete the project — and he would have to.
He took all the quirks of the road-going machine and cast them in lightweight aluminium. Its new bodywork was sculpted using a seamless process according to the talented custom builder – an apt description considering the meticulous mindset needed to shape the complex 2 mm-thick aluminium sheeting. He also handcrafted the two front-wheel covers.
The idea here was to build a motorcycle and create a piece of fine art. The Hommage takes inspiration from Streamline, Art Deco, and Moderne but borrows heavily from BMW’s design archives.
Behind the dual kidney, we see the headlight while the taillight comes from the BMW 700 car. The result is a piece of work that reflects both and Bobby Haas’ appreciation of the timeless aesthetic qualities of the iconic BMW boxer.
Oehlerking’s talents as a custom builder are well employed here. Finished in silver grey, the custom BMW R100 is a masterpiece. For full-on vintage details, a vintage speedometer and racing handlebars sit alongside a chromed Porsche 356 Speedster mirror.
A leather tank belt adds character without overly dressing up the Bavarian bike. The final touch is an exhaust system from Bikers Paradise with open pipes that pierce through the air on every muffled rumble note.