By Ross Sharp - 08 Aug 14
The streets of Barcelona must be awash guys and gals riding tricked-up, slicked-out customs; there are plenty of builders to choose from but Fuel Motorcycles are doing a good job of suggesting you needn't look elsewhere. Their previous builds to feature in The Shed have been very well received, they have a clothing line and for those of you old enough to remember BMW Boxer-Twins on the Paris Dakar; Fuel will take you hooning around Moroccan deserts in a nostalgic dune-bash they call Scram Africa. Before our some of our Facebook followers groan at the sight of another BMW, may I point out that not everyone has shed to tinker in, a degree in mechanical engineering or any desire to get grubby hands in the pursuit of two wheeled utopia. The BMW donor is prevalent for many reasons, it remains cool, will turn heads and importantly if built well shouldn't let you down. Pablo, who commissioned this Fuel Strasse (which means Street in foreign), loves classic bikes, has a fondness and admiration for the functionality of Apple products and struggles to stay in one place for too long. So the guys at Fuel needed to produce a practical, reliable steed that looks as good parked as it does on the move. Simple clean lines with an obvious nod to considered design over performance. A decent '79 R100S donor was sourced and the canvas made blank. Right, it's 21.45 GMT and I haven't learnt anything new today, so thank you Fuel Motorcycles. Thinking Bitumen of Judea was a terrible Google Translate result I had to look it up. Photographers out there will know that this stuff, also known as Syrian Asphalt, was used to produce the world's oldest surviving photograph. So, the clever dudes at Fuel used it to age the raw steel on Pablo's tank, before clear coating the effect. Inteligente. The usually behemoth of a battery required to crank one of these has been superseded by a now familiar Lithium-Ion version from Ballistic, hidden in the air box, leaving the underseat area clear. Pablo wanted definitive visual blocks, tank, engine, subframe, seat; chunks of the motorcycle sectioned off by material and colour. A Russian military case is mounted on just one side and painted to blend with the frame; should be plenty of room in there for Apple's finest feats of engineering and a couple of craft beers. The headlight is a generic, classic item and the stop light has been fashioned into the seat, leaving the rear mudguard to carry the licence plate only. Aged, mottled brown leather covers the bespoke seat and continues over the tank by way of straps, perfect for stuffing a map under if Pablo is in an analog mood. Biltwell's brown grips tie the colour scheme to the ends of the ABM handlebar. Rear shocks are Ikon and the forks have been rebuilt with Progressive Springs. Wrapped headers lead to a Hoske silencer on each side. A gorgeous Motogadget Chronoclassic speedo provides all the information one could need, in a beautifully made, modern interpretation of the erratic chronometric Smiths gauges of yesteryear. My design friends would say that such a component required breathing space, Fuel have done exactly that and relocated the ignition beneath the tank. Another BMW it might be, but Fuel have shown again that their craftsmanship is top notch and Pablo rides away a very happy customer. To commission a build, buy a T-shirt or book a trip to the desert; get in touch via the Fuel website or Facebook page.