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Speed Metal: Revival’s alloy-clad BMW S1000RR

A custom BMW S1000RR by Revival Cycles
If we had to pick an adjective to describe Revival Cycles, we’d say unpredictable. You just never know what Alan Stulberg and Stefan Hertel are going to come up with next. We’ve had a Honda CBX with hub center steering, a Ducati-based sidecarcross racer and a modern-day reinterpretation of the Ernst Henne Landspeeder.

And now this: A BMW S1000RR sportbike with bodywork created using the metalworking techniques of a century ago.

A custom BMW S1000RR by Revival Cycles
Three years ago, BMW invited Alan and Stefan to ride the relaunched and revamped S1000RR at the Circuit Of The Americas.

Alan jumped at the chance, albeit with some misgivings. “My sportbike experience was short blasts on a friend’s modded Suzuki GSX-R750R, scaring the crap out of myself at 160 mph. I quickly decided that sportbikes simply were not for me!”

A custom BMW S1000RR by Revival Cycles
Instead, Alan’s need to explore the absolute edge of riding fostered an appreciation for vintage machines. “Their easily-mastered ‘slower pace’ kept me safer. I even developed a taste for pre-war bikes and beyond—and the rest is Revival Cycles history.”

But when BMW put Alan’s leather-clad butt on a 200 horsepower rocket ship, everything changed. “I saw the light,” he admits. “The light of technology, power, and grace. This mammoth machine was a docile kitten under extreme conditions, even with an amateur like myself hastily thrown on top of it.”

A custom BMW S1000RR by Revival Cycles
A plan was hatched to recommission an S1000RR as a track dweller only, in the vintage style of Revival. Months later, the right deal presented itself and Revival found themselves in possession of a blacked-out, brand new machine with just three miles on the clock.

The S1000RR has a 600-mile break-in period: the ECU limits the engine to 9,000 rpm and about 150 hp. Shop manager Chris took it to the track and the local hills, and with the help of a certain ex MotoGP champion, got the bike over 600 miles. The dealer re-flashed the ECU and all 200 horses were unleashed.

A custom BMW S1000RR by Revival Cycles
After stripping off the plastics, the Revival crew pondered an angle of attack. “BMW has gotten the engineering and mechanical part of the equation spot on perfect,” says Alan.

“Outside of a few mods to the exhaust, and ECU tuning, we simply could not improve it. So we chose to focus our energy on the aesthetics.” This is the opposite of Revival’s usual attempts to rethink everything on a bike—but the S1000RR is well outside the norm.

A custom BMW S1000RR by Revival Cycles
Alan and head fabricator Andy both have a penchant for the mid-80s to mid-90s GP bikes ridden by legends such as Freddie Spencer, Wayne Rainey, Kenny Roberts, and Kevin Schwantz. “Those big, bulky fiberglass fairings and the swooping bodywork were a great initial start for the design,” says Alan.

A new stainless rear subframe now houses all the electronics, plus a lithium-iron battery, the ECU and a smattering of sensors. From there an overall bodyline developed, blending a modern kick-up tail with the vintage throwback of a number plate.

A custom BMW S1000RR by Revival Cycles
Then Revival shaped a full alloy front fairing, side fairing and belly pan—all fashioned by hand from aluminum.

“We also cut the top off the alloy factory tank, and built a higher-capacity tank that would hold a full six gallons to give us the capacity to go endurance racing,” says Alan. “That is, after all, our entire intention with this bike—to race it!”

A custom BMW S1000RR by Revival Cycles
After fashioning a custom header-back exhaust from stainless and an oversized vintage style muffler, Revival tore the bike down for final finishing.

“The biggest problem aesthetically was the anodized black aluminum frame,” says Alan. “It was rough and cast, and simply did not fit the look we were going for.” Many hours of bead blasting and hand sanding the entire frame followed, to smooth out the finish and help it to blend in with the hand-finished bodywork.

A custom BMW S1000RR by Revival Cycles
The BMW was reassembled with new Hayes billet alloy front calipers, and a color scheme was set in motion. “We hand-stitched a new bright blue seat material onto the custom seat pan and then took it to the track.”

“We raced it bare at COTA with nothing more than a few vinyl stickers proclaiming it as a Revival bike. But although it performed flawlessly, it didn’t seem ‘finished’.”

A custom BMW S1000RR by Revival Cycles
Alan asked his friend Nico Sclater (AKA the artist Ornamental Conifer) to visit Austin and spend a week putting hand-painted touches on the bike. “Nico came in with ideas of vintage Porsche paint schemes, haphazard trackside number changes and additions, and 1970s geometric patterns. I loved it.”

“We talked, he sketched, and three days later—after many cigarettes and a few beers—Nico declared it finished. He hit the road leaving us with what feels finally like a complete machine.”

A custom BMW S1000RR by Revival Cycles
Aesthetics aside, Revival’s S1000RR track bike weighs less and has more horsepower than stock. “I think it is a hell of a lot easier on the eyes than the factory bike,” says Alan. “And even mere mortals like me or the rest of the team at Revival can jump on it and rip long thin black strips down the straightaways at COTA—and look good doing it.”

A custom BMW S1000RR by Revival Cycles
Right now, the ‘endless project’ is nearing the end of a transatlantic journey to the UK, and will be on display at the Bike Shed show this weekend. Then it’ll take a summer tour around Europe for Glemseck, Wheels and Waves and a few other shows.

Keep an ear out for it, and if you’re lucky, you’ll hear it screaming through the gears.

Revival Cycles | Facebook | Instagram

A custom BMW S1000RR by Revival Cycles

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