I am fortunate to be able to share in my two year old son’s daily struggle to make sense of this bewildering, wonderful world. He has established all sorts of routines and patterns which give him security and comfort. Any deviation, even sitting in the wrong chair or drinking from the wrong bottle, may result in a volatile reaction which quickly brings us all in line with his programme. Even as adults, we create comfort zones for ourselves by subconsciously organising people and things into groups. Although stereotyping our fellow man and labelling everything in the world around us may assist in putting our lives into manageable compartments, it undermines openminded evaluation of the new and the unknown. The BMW featured today makes me aware of how narrowminded I can be.


I was not with Marnitz when he took these photos. When I received his mail containing the photos, I was completely stumped. It was not a cafe racer or a bobber or a chopper or a scrambler or a….. I ran out of labels. What type of motorcycle was it? What on earth was I going to write about this Unidentified Riding Object. Then the penny dropped. I was not looking at this motorcycle with an open mind. Because it was not built in a specific, labelled style, my mind was having a hard time accepting the reason for its existence. Only when I began to look at this machine as the unique creation that it is, did it all come into focus.


V Custom Cycles were tasked to build this motorcycle according to the owner’s specification. The original BMW R65LS which was used for this project is a 650cc 50hp commuter which was available from 1982 until 1984. BMW contracted Hans Muth, the designer of the revolutionary Suzuki Katana to make their existing R65 model more sporty. Unlike the Katana, the R65LS was more evolution than revolution and resulted in an awkward looking motorcycle with a triangular handlebar fairing. V Custom cycles disposed of all the original R65LS bodywork except for the tank and front mudguard.


The owner’s design brief to Jaco from V Custom Cycles was loosely based around a motorcycle the customer had seen on an internet site. The colour scheme is the same as what the legendary Gulf Oil racing cars were painted. The paint job stands in contrast to the black wheels, forks and driveshaft. An aftermarket speedo and headlight are far less bulky than the originals.
V Custom Cycles fabricated the new seat with bum-stop. They also made the upswept 2 into 1 exhausts. The motocross handlebars and dual purpose tyres give the motorcycle a more rugged look. And the number 24 on the tank? It is the owner’s lucky number of course, underlining the personal nature of this custom motorcycle.


This BMW serves as a reminder to me that people and objects deserve individual evaluation. The fact that this striking motorcycle does not conveniently fit under a specific heading makes it more appealing. True creativity does not know boundaries and will not be labelled.