Custom 1981 BMW R80 Bobber

A good custom BMW build is hard to come by, especially ones built around the more classic engines. That’s why we were excited to see a vintage 1981 BMW R80 engine at Fuel Cleveland this year, complete with a unique bobber frame.

Ed Vanaman is the actual owner, but we got the walkaround from Greg Clark, who completed the bodywork on the bike. And talk about the body, this BMW is quite the sleek machine. With ultra-smooth surfaces and a very aerodynamic design, the bike draws a lot of inspiration from airplane design.

In fact, the taillights were ripped off an old passenger airplane for the build; this pairs nicely with the R80 engine’s horizontally extended shape, appearing almost as wings protruding from the bike.

The R80 is matched to a five speed from a later model BMW R100R. A Weber side draught carburetor was used, and its angular appearance fits with the slab sided aesthetic of the engine. Custom manifolds make up the intake and exhaust systems for the engine.

The extra rake from a Harley Springer, along with the design of the rear frame, allows for the bike to have that low slung look even while riding on fat Firestone 18-inch tires.

The handlebars, sitting low on the Springer fork, are mounted with a mix of Panhead hand controls. The fuel tank follows the lines of the frame nicely, with the sides scalloped to give that bobber style riding position.

If you have a motorcycle, ATV, UTV, snowmobile or jet ski you’d like to feature in MPN’s Ride of the Week series, please email MPN Content Director Greg Jones at [email protected]

Custom 1981 BMW R80 Bobber