Written by Tim Huber.
For most people, vehicles are little more than a means of transportation. For others, they’re a hobby, but for a small few that eat, sleep, and breathe cars and bikes, it’s a way of life, akin to a religion. Spain’s Iñaki Bellver is one such individual. The 27-year-old spends his days serving as a product engineer for the Ford Motor Company, though his nights and weekends are often spent in his shop, wrenching on and customizing motorcycles under the banner of Ønix Design.
“I’ve been around cars and bikes since I was a kid. At 14 I got my first bike, then at 18 I got my first classic; a UK-spec CB750F that’s since been in a continuous state of modification. I work during the day, so the workshop isn’t a full-time gig, but Ønix Design nevertheless manages to build two bikes per year,” Iñaki tell us.
And while Iñaki is no stranger to working on one-off bikes, his latest project was a little more personal than most. The client would be his uncle and cousins, and the bike he’d be modifying was a 1978 BMW R100. “My uncle from the south of Spain bought it new more-than-40-years-ago and has been riding it ever since. Now, four-decades-later, he wants to pass it down to his sons and give the motorcycle a new life,” explains the Valencia-based builder and mechanical engineer.
Lucky for Iñaki, his uncle had, for the most part, taken decent care of the thing, so when it came time to mechanically overhaul the bike, all the engine needed was new gaskets and an oil and filter change. The twin engine was then put back together before having its covers hit with a coat of black wrinkle paint. Next the mill was fitted with a pair of single pipes hooking beneath the cylinder heads and running horizontally along the air-cooled two-banger before culminating in dual matte black reverse cone mufflers.
After having the original framework hacked off and replaced with a kicked and hooped subframe, the BMW’s chassis, swing-arm, and wheels were all powder-coated black. The build’s battery box, top-triple, risers, headlight brackets, center stand, and a number of other odds and ends received the same blacked-out powder-coating treatment, as well.
“The goal of the build was to create something that both generations would love, so I wanted to maintain the classic and elegant aesthetic of the R’s lines, while at the same time simplifying and streamlining it as much as possible,” says Iñaki.
The ribbed, humped cafe seat was likely added to the equation to appeal to Iñaki’s cousins while the reasonably upright single-piece handlebars — which are set on a pair of aftermarket risers — was done so his uncle could still comfortably pilot the bike. In addition to the handlebars, the cockpit now also boasts Highsider mirrors, modern switchgear, and a laser-cut top triple designed to accommodate a Daytona Velona speedo. The original foot-pegs have also been jettisoned to make room for a pair of black-anodized aluminum items.
Giving the scoot a decidedly more aggressive stance is a lowered front-end that now sports new fork boots and a custom fender made from a cut-down stock unit and suspended on modified stock brackets. Out back there’s also a shortened rear fender that pokes out from under the new subframe. Other minor knickknacks include a machined aluminum filler cap, Shinko e270 tires, upgraded steel-braided brake lines, and new stainless steel screws, bolts, and hardware throughout.
In an effort to usher the bike into 2020, Iñaki binned the entirety of the R100’s stock lighting and replaced it with modern units. Sitting inside the original headlight shell is a Xenon bulb, the headlight brackets also support a set of Motogadget M-Blaze Pin micro-LED indicators, while a set of micro-LED Shin-Yo pieces play signal duty in the rear, supplemented by a mini Kellerman Atto tail light sitting on top of the chopped aft fender. Powering the new setup is a Lithium ion battery that sits in a bespoke laser-cut battery now nestled beneath the new seat and subframe.
With everything else complete, the Spaniard turned his attention to the BMW’s livery. After going back and forth on a few ideas, Iñaki eventually landed on a hand-laid gloss black design with a silver double-stripe stretching across the tank along with the shop name between the knee-dents. The gloss black tone plays nicely off of the rest of the matte black elements while the white and blue from a new set of Roundels in the tank help to celebrate the brand that’s had Iñaki’s uncle on two-wheels for the last four-plus-decades.
The final result accomplishes exactly what Iñaki set out to do. While blatantly a custom build, the bike retains much of the donor R100’s original design language and DNA. It’s a collection of well-calculated tweaks that, when combined, come together to form something much greater. Do we like it? Let’s just say we’re glad we’re not in Iñaki’s uncle’s shoes, having to now hand this Bavarian beauty over.