Here we have a sneak peak at El Solitario Impostor — a customized BMW R nineT by El Solitario bike builders of the Galician region of Spain. The final product will appear at The ONE Motorcycle Show in Portland, Oregon from February 7-9, 2014. With BMW Boxer-powered motorcycles fast becoming the ideal basis for many customizations, and with the R nineT designed for customizing, it’s no wonder El Solitario chose it for their radical and challenging creation.
The ONE Motorcycle Show is an annual event – now in its fifth year – which has become the place to see all manner of customized bikes. Not the usual ‘Stars and Stripes’ and orange flamed customized American machines but a range covering all aspects of motorcycling. This includes new offerings from BMW Motorrad, such as the latest R nineT. Adding to The ONE Motorcycle Show’s appeal from a growing worldwide fan base is the influx of international urban customizers. One such company is El Solitario of Galicia (Spain), which has gained appeal through its ‘special’ projects.
David Borras, 36, is the founder of El Solitario. His urban customization projects involving BMW machinery drew the attention of BMW Motorrad and he was one of a select group of customizers to see and ride the new R nineT – as recorded in the BMW Motorrad video Soulfuel. From that moment, David was keen to get to grips with an R nineT and develop another classic El Solitario motorcycle.
His wish came true and the result is for now, well, a work in progress… With not many days left to The ONE, David and his colleagues are frantically working around the clock to complete work on an R nineT project bike inside the El Solitario workshop. So far, after 80 days and more than 700 hours, says David, only the project name – El Solitario Impostor – and tantalizing photos of this bike have come to the surface. So what can we expect the completed bike to look like and what was the influence behind the El Solitario Impostor?
“Impostor is Attila’s horse. Powerful, excessive, raw, burnt, merciless… She is an evil machine but would do anything to protect you. If we had to describe her in two words I would say eclectic & zoomorphic. I am very influenced right now by the Bōsōzoku gangs’ [Japanese youth motorcycle sub-culture] motorcycles and 1970’s endurance racers. Also I have been listening way too much to metal music in the workshop lately…ha-ha-haa! When we decided to mix all these concepts, the idea of how the bike would look in an ideal wind tunnel interested me and made me look deeper… and so you can partially see the outcome now.”
The fitment of several yards of shaped and welded stainless steel rod is obvious to see and forms the outline of an early 1980s endurance racing motorcycle. The twin filler-styled fuel tank also pays homage to the racing scene. These are all tasters to something extraordinary based on the R nineT. And the vision of a man who, as a 15-year-old boy, got hold of a learner Honda NSR 80 sports motorcycle, took off all the plastics, fairing, instruments, blinkers, mirrors etc, made a custom-beaten alloy silencer for it, and then painted the wheels black and the tank army green.
The R nineT used for the project is a new machine and not the older breed many people use to convey their descriptive thoughts, feelings and, maybe, emotion. Was this also the case for El Solitario?
“The R nineT is a fabulous machine and looks amazing as a whole and individually in all of its parts, but it is the newest platform we ever worked on,” says David Borras, “and that changed our creative process. In fact we decided the very first day that we would not touch the bike or any of its functional components (minus the wheels, lights, silencer and controls). Not a single drill or cut has been made on the bike, nor a single cable replaced or relocated. We just dressed the factory’s structure. This means that under the stainless body you have a 100 percent original R nineT which can be maintained by any BMW dealership or specialist, eyes shut, on the run. For this to happen it was amazing to count all the free threads that you can find on the motor, supposedly intended to hold the GS protections and guards.”
The first reveal of the El Solitario Impostor will take place at the fifth annual The ONE Motorcycle Show. It has the team at BMW Motorrad intrigued about its finished look. It’s also sure to draw crowds because when David and the guys and girls of El Solitario face a bike build, they look forward to surprising us. Quite simply, if a build doesn’t involve a big intellectual effort it doesn’t interest them. One thing is certain; we can’t wait to bring you more news about the El Solitario Impostor.
With so many different ideas on what an individual bike should look like, The ONE Motorcycle Show is the perfect arena to showcase the numerous talents of many individuals. Organizer Thor Drake says the show is: “An event centered around the idea that the greatest bikes are the ones built, restored, re-worked, re-invented and re-imagined for a reason. We wanted to bring the builders and bikes together and give them a place to tell a story. It’s a motorcycle show for motorcyclists by motorcyclists…”
In addition to the reveal of the El Solitario Impostor at this year’s ONE Motorcycle Show will be another BMW R nineT custom special from Roland Sands. Also, BMW R nineT Project Leader Roland Stocker will be there, as will BMW Motorrad’s Head of Vehicle Design Ola Stenegard, who will also be organizing a small artshow with various pieces of work from the BMW Motorrad design team on display.