In the liberal world of building gorgeous custom motorcycles, it is rather convoluted to bring about a design or a concept that presents a mix of form and function for real world use. And few of such builders who do manage to achieve that, leave a trail behind. One such outfit has to be the Spain-based XTR Pepo spearheaded by ace builder Pepo Rosell. A man committed to building machines that not only look the part but are also race-spec and prepped for competition, Pepo’s creations have always left us begging for more, you can see why from his earlier build.
And once again this time the custom house has delivered a gorgeous build called the ‘Raid’, based on the modern-day BMW R nineT. Primarily a tribute to Pepe’s favourite racer – Hubert Auriol, the first man in the history of Paris-Dakar race to win on two as well as four wheels, the ‘Raid’ signifies the Frenchman’s success in the sport and his contribution to the famed Dakar rally as a race director. Auriol won the 1982 Paris-Dakar rally on the iconic BMW R80G/S and Pepo’s has tried to recreate a machine of that era in the form of the ‘Raid’.
And we must admit, like his previous builds that we have seen and featured here, the ‘Raid’ too is a fine mix of drool-worthy design yet built with a focus on real world racing potential. Now we all know that the BMW R nineT Urban G/S is more of a soft-roader focusing largely on the urban side of things. But herein Pepo has tried to transform the urban onto the legendary Dakar-style off-road racer with a host of modifications and custom parts that truly bring the ‘Raid’ up to spec to suit the Dakar rally heritage of its predecessor the R80G/S that won in 1981 and 1983 in hands of Auriol.
Rightfully then, the 17-litre stock fuel tank was replaced with an original R80G/S tank boasting a whopping 26-litre fuel capacity, true to the adventure motorcycle range we find nowadays. It wasn’t a direct swap and Pepo has to make a lot of amends to fit in the new tank, but the result as we can see was stunning. The tank was then given the traditional BMW white paint job done by Artenruta from Madrid and then decorated with the true-blue BMW coloured stripes and decals of the eighties as seen on the original R80G/S that was raced by Auriol.
When dealing with off-road machines, low-slung exhausts aren’t the best design, but if you are going to be taking the motorcycle off-road over rough terrain and rocky patches. So Pepo sat down and redesigned the exhaust system with a high-pipe constituting of a 2-into-1 Supermario configuration built in-house by XTR. While the seat came originally from Luis Moto, Pepo furthered altered it in-house to suit the design and fit in neatly with the custom side panels flaunting the racing numbers, design again by XTR. The front and the tail mudguard were ordered from Luis Moto while the entire front headlight assembly and fairing is taken straight from another iconic machine from the old days, the Bultaco Cross.
With a lot of mix and match and several combinations later, XTR Pepo has truly transformed a modern-day neo-retro machine into a classic icon that has presented BMW with a long-lasting legacy in the Paris-Dakar rally. But it’s not all vintage on the ‘Raid’, as sitting up front is a Motogadget digital dashboard giving out critical information to the rider, while the stock air-filter unit has been swapped for high-performance twin DNA air-filters. Another area where work was intensive was recalibrating the electrical system to fit in the exhaust pipe routing. So out went the bulky and space-eating stock battery for a lightweight and compact battery from LIPO.
Straddling the machine, the flat Boxer engine nestling below the riding stance is off-road ready with the raised bars from Acossato seem just right for this machine. The protruding engine heads on either side are protected by solid cylinder protectors made by Unit Garage – a necessary piece of equipment on the Boxer engine that is going to see a lot of off-road and play in the rough environment. And resting on the engine guards are two big Hella high-beam projectors that complete the look of this custom adventure/enduro machine ready for some serious fun in the dirt!
And just when you think it’s done and over with, there is a Unit Garage side bag mounted on a custom rack that can hold tools and other important bits needed when going adventure riding and it looks sick, especially when dirty and dusty with some mudslinging over the rough roads. If you ask us, this is the truest interpretation of the original icon, the R80G/S of the eighties in every possible way, but with modern underpinnings that truly present it with modern-day reliability and handling benefits packaged with a character of a truly timeless and classic machine from an era bygone.