Certain bikes tend
to attract formulaic builds. And when it comes to customizing, BMW airheads in particular tread a well-worn path. But a handful of workshops like to stretch boxer builds into new directions, and one of those shops is
You may remember Titan for their magnificent 'Bavarian'
BMW R50/3 bobber
from three years ago, which looked as good as any official BMW concept. And now they're back with an
with a steampunk vibe, a beautiful bronzed frame, and girder-style forks.
Titan is based in Graz, Austria, and run by Michael Siebenhofer and
Thanh Ho Ngo
. Michael works on the design, building and engineering, while Ho helps out on design duties, marketing and running the workshop.
'The Arkitekt' is most definitely not your typical BMW café racer. Based on a 1977-spec airhead, it's suspended at the front by a girder built by Sven Denker, a German builder who runs the Custom Corner workshop.
"After the wonderful 'Bavarian' it was time for another bobber," says Michael. "We don't build the same bike twice: everything has to be unique. So Ho came up with a design that follows the lines of the Bavarian. It's a homage to the industrial era and Bauhaus architecture, a celebration of mechanics and gears."
Titan were invited to exhibit a pair bikes at the Monaco Yacht Show, so 'The Arkitekt' became one of two machines built side by side.
Michael tore the R75 engine apart and installed a
Siebenrock 1000cc Power kit
---which includes Nikasil coated cylinders, lightweight forged pistons, and new gudgeon pins. It shouldn't be difficult to spin up the vintage Avon Safety Mileage MkII rear tire.
A Silent Hektik electronic ignition keeps the hotrodded motor running smooth, and to cope with the increased thermal loading, Michael has also installed a bigger oil pan. The breathing is improved too, with pod filters at the intake end and a stubby custom-made exhaust system.
A completely new electrical system is now controlled by an Axel Joost 'Elektronikbox.' This is hooked up to a speedo and switchgear from
, a 4½-inch Bates-style headlight, and tiny Kellermann LED blinkers.
The star turn on this machine, though, is the bronzed finishing on the frame and tank.
"Cleaning the frame, getting it tidy and neat so it could be galvanized and brassed to get a burnished 'vintage' look was one of the hardest parts," says Michael.
This sort of finish takes a ton of work, but it was worth it. And the effect has been carried over to the forks too.
Ho designed the matching tank, which was turned into metal by regular Titan collaborator Bernhard Naumann of Blechmann. The stunning paint job was entrusted to local spray wizard Wolfgang Kuzma of
Blechmann also helped with many of the exquisite smaller metalwork details, while Michael tackled the heavier engineering work of adapting the front wheel to a perimeter-style brake system taken from a Buell XB12S.
Ho designed the classic bobber-style leaf sprung seat, which was upholstered in sturgeon leather. Yes, leather from a sturgeon---the fish known for its caviar. And very fine it looks too.
The whole machine is crammed with unusual details like this. Which makes it a refreshingly creative approach, in a custom world full of cookie-cutter airheads.