This is the third JM Customs‘ bike we feature (two others are FlatLiner and Morpheus) and I have to say, James Moir and Chris Burnett do an amazing job making dreams of their clients come true. Every build the guys produce is very special and full of passion. This one isn’t an exception. Being a big Airheads admirer myself I can’t help but love this beautiful R45 so appropriately named ‘Black Beauty’.
Several days ago James got in touch with us sending their Bio and the build story. After reading it I decided to publish everything as it is because no one would tell it better than James does. So, here it goes.
Words by James Moir:
JM Customs is a grass roots custom shop owned and ran by myself ( James Moir ).
Having worked in the Oil and Gas industry for over a decade all the job satisfaction I used to obtain had gone … each day blended into the next, things had to change.
I have always had a love for Design and Fabrication. Having the ability to create something inspiring from raw materials is and continues to be my passion.
Having worked on several motorcycles over the years I found that Building custom Motorcycles was the perfect outlet. Blending Form and Function together on a medium which I believe to be infinitely versatile! When it comes to bikes there really is no limit. If you can dream it, you can build it.
At JMC we have adopted the ethos of ‘Built Not Bought’. And we work tirelessly to practice what we preach. Designing and fabricating as much of the motorcycles as we can in house, We want to keep the hand crafted element to Bike Building alive, as we feel it’s disappearing. But ultimately, there is no better feeling in the world than stepping back and looking at something you built with your own hands. Every motorcycle truly is a labour of love.
JMC has been open for business for two years now, with my head to the grindstone working in multiple builds and occasionally working offshore to support the shop, I soon realised that I would have to share the workload and focus on my skillset.
This is where our Lead Mechanic Chris Burnett came in. Chris is around the same age as myself, and shares the same Vision and Passion that I have when it comes to motorcycles. And as a business owner when you find Good people, you hang on to them.
With over 12 years experience as a motorcycle Mechanic, Chris is an absolute wealth of knowledge. And Brings such a positive attitude to the shop.
When you have a Designer/ Fabricator and a mechanic with an astute eye for Function. You have the makings of an excellent Team. And with each build You can see the development and passion.
Which brings us to our build.
‘Black Beauty’ a 1982 BMW R45
This Bike came to us from our Client Steve who had been following our progress on social media. He had had this bike laying Dormant in his garage for almost a decade. Begging to be revived!
Like many of our Clients, we were given a select few items to be included in the build but generally given Carte Blanche to create something special. A great trust which we never take for granted.
Upon arrival at JMC, as with all our builds we ensure that The bike ran and drove. This allows us to focus in on any issues that may raise cause for concern further down the line.
We then stripped back the bike to the bare essentials, removing all the unnecessary parts of the bike that we didn’t plan to keep. This gives us the opportunity to really see what is achievable. And Throw around all the ideas that we have to build a Unique Custom.
What we settled on, was building a stripped back Motorcycle, that embodied the Classic Cafe Racer style.
And from the outset we know we wanted Black And Gold. Which are synonymous with the John Player Special colours.
We designed and fabricated a new subframe and Shock mounts, installing new black YSS shocks. These give modern performance without such a modern look to them.
We fit tabs at the rear for a Tail tidy which holds the Number plate, Tail Light and Indicators. All very compact.
Creating a seat base and shaping Foam into the contours that we wanted and having our friend Scott at creative Upholstery here in Perth do the leather work. Where necessary to outsource we always try to stay local and support our local independents.
Once we got finished with the subframe, we fabricated a battery box and mount. This being a Lithium-ion battery, much smaller and lighter than the stock one. This opening up the rear of the bike.
We pulled the engine, and whilst we had the engine out we installed a new clutch kit. With the bike being 35 years old it was worn. We stripped and rebuilt the carbs installing Choke Plungers that were supplied by Cafe Racers United. These are a nice touch and allowed us to clean up the handlebars by removing the thumb Choke.
Polish Finishing the carbs and installing Pod Filters really changes the whole appearance of the engine. As you can do away completely with the stock airbox.
For all the original BMW parts including the Airhead cover and Propellor Gas Cap we went to Motorworks, from Huddersfield, England. They are our go to guys for parts with BMW’s.
The Tank was beaten up pretty badly, with a horrible dent along the ridge of the tank. We managed to pull the dent back very close to its original shape, so we were able to salvage the original which is always cool. We installed a Propellor style Gas Cap. It’s almost flush fitting and coming in Satin black it has the perfect look.
Upfront we modernised and simplified the cockpit. Adding new Clip-On Bars, Levers, Heated Grips and modern switch gear. Centred by a Koso Gauge all supplied to us by Digital Speedo UK.
We stripped apart the original Wiring Loom and grafted in the new components. Building a custom loom which fit neatly into the bike. Concealing as much of the wiring as possible for a minimal, clean look. We took the original front mudguard and cut it down to half its size, then gave more contour to the leading and trailing edges for a cleaner, more modern look.
We installed a small Daymaker Headlight and Bullet Indicators which fit neatly between the fork tubes. The forks were rebuilt and the lowers painted Satin Black. Reinstating the original Amber reflectors.
The Brembo Calipers were stripped, rebuild and powdercoated. Upgrading the front brake Discs and Pads all fed from custom brake lines supplied by Hel Performance UK.
The final drive was tore apart and powder coated in Satin Black too. We fabricated mounts and linkages for rear sets, to change the ride position and lend itself towards a Racer feel. We stuck with the stock exhaust headers, wrapping them in Titanium Heat wrap, and installed Short Black Megaphones. Which not only look great but have a growl to them that invokes the most maniacal grin! Ha ha
The wheels we powdercoated Gold and rebuilt. Wrapping them in Avon Roadriders .
We powdercoated the framework and associated parts Satin Black. Cleaned, prepped and detailed the Engine In Gloss black, with Gold pin striping to accent the outer head casings.
The paintwork was outsourced our good Friend Ross Sinclair. Hitting the tank and mudguard with a smooth Satin black, Gold Pinstriping and Custom decals. Although there is plenty Modern additions to this bike. The paintwork really pulls it all together and keeps the Overall style of the bike classic.
Only once fully assembled did we really take in what we had built. A Beautifully simple Cafe Racer. Reinvigorated and transformed into something that will be enjoyed for many years by our client. And that really is the beauty of what we do for a living.
In short, at JMC we are two young guys. Who eat, sleep and breath motorcycles. We are inspired by what we see and motivated by what can be achieved. We continue to work hard and stay humble. And most importantly have fun.
Pictures by Oliver Young