BMW Custom Motorcyles

The pictures and details are excellent, and it's nice to see creativity applied to flat twins rather than V-twins

Sunday Star Times - Fairfax New Zealand, 18 DEC, 2011


Veloce Publishing has a brand new book, BMW Custom Motorcycles by Uli Cloesen, and if you're on the lookout for some ideas to change the appearance or function of your Beemer, this is a fascinating selection of what's being done all over the world. Some of the bikes, you've seen before on The Kneeslider, but many, if not most, are new to me. I like a lot of what's in here, but I'll also say, some must be an acquired taste that I've yet to develop. Nevertheless, it's a great place to feed your brain with new concepts.

What haven't you seen here? Well, most of the rest. There are singles, airheads, oilheads, fours, trikes, quads and all of the BMW offshoots like Ural, Dnepr and Chang Jiang. There's a nice bobber from Mark van der Kwaak, too. Good stuff. The builders aren't all pros, though, there are big names and home builders all together in this colorful book.

As you would expect, there are plenty of photos of each bike, then depending on the build, a description of varying length and often, tech specs to give details of what components the builder used and a summary of the other changes he made.

Everyone seems to have a few images that pop up in their mind when they think of BMWs, usually influenced by what they like, you might think of a classic R69S, maybe an R1200GS or an S1000RR, but there's a lot more out there, usually starting with something old and then changed to suit the taste of the builder. They go in all directions, bobbers, choppers, cruisers, customs of all sorts, but they all start with a BMW. BMW owners always seemed to be the more sedate and button downed crowd, but in recent years it's been changing and books like this might blow that image altogether. Pretty cool.

Bewertung von buzzi aus 53819 am 08.05.2011       ***** sehr gut

Dieses Buch hat seinen Zweck, die BMW Chopper, Bobber, Cruiser, Trike und Quad
Szene vorzustellen voll erfüllt.
Sehr interessant und umfangreich präsentiert, mit sehr vielen guten Fotos und auch für nicht Englischleser voll geeignet.
Es ist auch eine Liebeserklärung an den Boxermotor geworden. Klasse!

 Bewertung von Neffe aus 53783 am 07.05.2011       ***** ausgezeichnet
Als jahrelanger Motorradfahrer, besonders von alten bikes, bin ich sehr überrascht was man alles aus einer Gummikuh so machen kann. Ich selber habe in meiner Sammlung eine R51/3, da kam mir dieses Buch gerade recht.
Hier werden BMW Motorräder vorgestellt mit schönen Bildern und kleinen Geschichten, technischen Daten und infos zu den Besitzern bzw. Erbauern dieser schönen Bikes.
Über Geschmack kann man ja bekanntlich vorzüglich streiten allerdings über die Arbeit und Zeit die in so einem Umbau verschwinden nicht.
Die Bilder wurden fast Weltweit zusammen getragen, so bekommt man einen Eindruck was auch so manchmal ohne Deutschen TÜV "machbar" ist ;-) über Sinn und Zweck mancher Umbauten kann man auch überraschend mal den Kopf schütteln *lach.

Auf jedenfall bin ich mal froh eins zuhaben, HURRA!




While I would not necessarily want to own or build one, I have to confess that I am fascinated by custom motorcycles because of the engineering and workmanship involved in building them, not to mention the vision of the builders. I have spent hours at places like Daytona looking in detail at some of the best in the world and have come to the conclusion that the Harley or S&S copy V-twin motor lends itself best to being used in such creations.

In my humble opinion other styles of motors do not seem to have the same visual effect of blending into the whole machines concept, whatever that might be.

However, this new hardback book from Veloce entitled BMW Custom Motorcycles has softened that view with some stunning imagery of custom machines utilising the BMW Boxer engine from Berlin. Author Ulrich Peter Cloesen has trawled the world for BMW customs and some from the derivatives like Chang Jiang, Ural and IMZ to produce this thought provoking book.

As the author quite rightly points out the conventional V-twin does not own the rights to the custom market and many builders of custom bikes are forced to use what is available at the right price. Besides quite rightly he asks the question, why not use a BMW as the base machine?

Even BMW themselves built a custom bike, the R1200C, back in 1997 and gained a lot of PR when it was featured the James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies. You could argue it did not last long in production, but it did attract a loyal following from riders who may have never considered a custom bike.

The book moves from the singles to the airhead two-valve boxer engine before looking at the oil-cooled four-valve versions, the derivatives and then the fours. Lastly there are chapters on Trikes and Quads powered by BMW engines.

Stunning photography is punctuated with text explaining the concepts from the builders perspective, with in some cases, detailed technical specs of the bikes pictured.

It is an interesting, well written and thought provoking book with bikes shown which had me thinking I was right in my opinion of BMW customs, while other bikes just had me thinking about how good they are and how wrong I am to pre-judge.

The quality of presentation is as usual excellent and the die-hard BMW fan will love this as an alternative to another historical tome on showroom specification machines. The custom fan who, if like me is interested in the engineering of customs, will also like this coffee table work which is well priced at £19.99. ISBN 978-1-845843-25-0



Swedish review


Kundbetyg:   *****

Unik bok om ett ovanligt ämne

Böcker om customiserade motorcyclar i allmänhet går det tretton på dussinet av.

Jag är dock intresserad av BMW och har länge sökt information på nätet om ombyggda BMW, det är dock ganska svårt att hitta. 

Jag blev därför väldigt glad när jag upptäckte denna bok.

Den innehåller intressanta motorcyklar ur många olika stilar, fina bilder och källa till mycket inspiration.

Jag rekommenderar varmt boken.


Australian review


When you pull up at a coffee shop on a Sunday morning and find it full of blokes wearing DriRider jackets and half-spectacles with their jeans tucked into their boots, you can bet they're the ones riding the BMWs. Think accountants, bank managers, dentists. Think Clark Kent in a kryptonite mine. Now 'BMW' and 'custom' are not usually found in the same sentence. Not around here, anyway. So I was somewhat underwhelmed initially when I received this book to review. Boy, was I wrong! It's a bloody beauty and it should be on the shelf of any custom bike aficionado. The publishers blurb says, in part, „Many books have been published about BMW motorcycles, but no-one has focused solely on the BMW chopper, bobber and trike custom scene  until now. Although not normally associated with the brand, there are some fantastic BMW customs out there, old and new; this book showcases them in all their innovative glory. Featuring stunning images of customized BMW singles, twins and fours from contributors around the globe, many complemented by owners stories and technical descriptions, it's certain to be of interest to the marque's fans as well as the custom scene in general.“ That sums it up pretty well. What I love is that the custom bike bug has bit hard all over the planet. We're seeing blue-collar guys from all sorts of out-of-the-way places getting by with what they've got, and whether it be a single cylinder chopped and customized 1955 R25 from Indonesia, a Ural bobber from Russia or a Chinese custom based on a Chang Jiang (a Chinese version of the boxer twin), the imagination and creativity is simply amazing. Naturally there are a stack of Kraut built customs and even a couple of Aussie ones. If I was a custom builder looking for off the wall ideas for my next build, I'd run rather than walk to my keyboard and log on to either or to order a copy for just $39.95  great value for a full colour, hard cover book of some 128 pages.


Heavy Duty  issue 118  SEP/OCT 2011

Australia's #1 Harley Davidson Magazine