Eine Autostunde außerhalb Barcelonas in Cambrils haben die Jungs von C59R Cafe Racer Motorcycles ihre (neue, weil gerade umgezogen) Werkstatt. Spätestens seit ihrer „Little Blue“, einem Umbau auf Basis einer Yamaha SR250 bin ich ein Fan!
Den Gründer von C59R, Josep-Ramon Curto habe ich dieser Tage per E-Mail interviewed. Da mein Spanisch mindestens genauso rostig ist wie das eurige haben wir das Interview auf Englisch geführt.
Josep, C59R is around since 2011. How did you come up with the idea of professionaly building motorcycles? What is your background an motivation?
The hobby comes since I was 6 years old. When my father bought me my first motorbike, a Montesa Cota 25. It was such a hobby that I spent a lot of hours in the workshop next to my house looking how they repaired motorbikes.
When I got older I started getting interested on refurbish classic bikes. Evycsa 175 Sport, Sanglas 400E, BMW R27, BMW R50, MV Augusta 350, Benelli 500 Quattro they are some of the ones I restored. But I got tired of refurbishing and I needed other motivations. As I always have been into Café Racers (one of my motorbike nowadays is a Ducati SportClassic) I decided to transform a BMW R100RS.
Chasing the dream to be dedicated professionally on my hobby, on add, I had the concern of how to use the social net on a professional level, I decided to begin with C59R Cafe Racer Motorcycles.
What does the name „C59R“ stand for?
The name of C59R is the acronym of Café Racer and 59 is the year of the club that John Oates, with the Reverends Bill Shergold and Graham Hullett founded as a meeting point for the lovers of Café Racer.
Your first builds have been two BMW, (one Triumph Bonneville on standby) and my personal favourite, a Yamaha SR250. What made you choose these bikes? Or have they been commissioned by clients?
The first bike I built was for my personal use. I chose a BMW R100RS to be reliable motorcycle, with a classic look with many possibilities. Surprisingly, once it was finished a client got crazy for it and he bought it.
The SR250 „Little Blue“ and BMW R100RS „The GranDream“ were our first customer orders.
Now we start a Triumph Bonneville, a bike we liked always and we will give a real Café Racer character.
Tell us about the custom motorcycle scene in Spain: how is it? What are the main influences? Is the motorcycle more a medium of transport or a medium for self-fulfilment?
In Spain, due to the great weather we have, there has been a great interest on bikes for both everyday use and sport. Do not forget that we have had very important brands such as Bultaco, Montesa and Ossa that have made great champions come out of Spain in all specialties of motorcycling
Currently there is a strong tendency to transform Café Racer bikes and Street Tracker. There are many manufacturers struggling to gain a foothold in the business.
With builders like „El Solitario“ or „Valtorón“ you have some rather expressionistic colleagues in Spain. How do you see the C59R in comparison? What do you try to achieve when building a bike?
C59R wants to make motorbikes with an extrem quality, both aesthetic and functional. We care the little details and we want the posterior maintenance and repair of the motorcycle as simple and intuitive as possible for the trusted mechanics of our customers.
Tell us about your builds. How did they come along? How did you get the ideas?
– BMW R100RS “The First One”
We spent a lot of time thinking about the front-end, with its chrome details and ‘Clubman’ handlebars featuring minimalist controls: particularly striking is the use of a suspension blocker from the world of MTB as a Starter, the Acewell marker, and a new lens that manages to successfully compact the whole front assembly. This contrasts strongly with the anthracite grey / „verkehrsrot“ red tank, giving the project a notable „Cafe Racer“ personality.
All the key elements of the engine, transmission and differential have been renovated and the external finish fully harmonises with the rest of the project.
The electrical system has been completely renovated and also modified: the electrical junction box, originally located in the front-end, has been removed and relocated under the seat and the battery has also been moved to the bottom of the engine thus lightening the centre section.
With respect to the chassis, we have provided the front fork with a new set of progressive springs and a lateral NHK steering damper to eliminate chattering, and the rear cushioning has been entrusted to new Ikon shocks.
Last but not least, the rear-end assembly features an own-design seat, a specially manufactured fender and a Lucas tail light, together with a craftsman-built exhaust signed by XMR Metalworks, which gives the C59R.1 its unique sound.
– Yamaha SR250 “Little Blue”
„Little Blue“ is a small street tracker which catches the eye at first glance with its clean lines. The 2-tone fuel tank is painted in a combination of “lapislazzulo” blue – with a fine white line – and “azzurro sorgente” blue and this asymmetric combination, which is continued on the tail and mini front fenders, makes the vehicle look a different colour depending on which side you look at it from. These blue tones, together with the silver of the engine and chain guard, the satin black of the wheels, and the white front suspension bottles give the “Little Blue” a fresh and friendly look.
The electrical components have been relocated, under the fuel tank in the case of the horn and voltage regulator, and in the area under the swing-arm in the case of the battery and starter relay, and the electrical wiring has been hidden inside the handlebars and chassis. These modifications to the electrical system, together with the small air filter assembly, have lightened the area of the chassis under the seat.
The tail end of the chassis has been reshaped to follow the contour of the seat, the front end has been widened and the tail end comes to a curve. The front fork keeps its original height while the rear suspension stroke has been increased by 20mm. To improve the handling of the new bike the silentblocks of the handlebars and front calipers, which come as stock with this model, have been removed.
– BMW R100RS “The GranDream”
The front-end features an adapted a R90S fairing, whilst keeping the original throttle controls, clutch & lights, and the handlebars have been lengthened by 5 cm. on each side to improve handling. The star feature of the dash is an Acewell Series 4 gauge that links two worlds: analogue for the rev counter and digital for the speedo, odometer, temperature gauge, etc… The ignition key has been mounted next to the Acewell gauge for easy handling.
All key components of the engine, gearbox and differential have been renovated, and the external finish is in keeping with the rest of the makeover.
The electrical system has been completely overhauled, eliminating unnecessary parts and adapting it to couple with the new gauge. The battery situated under the gearshift lightens the central part of the assembly.
With respect to the chassis, the original front fork and rear shock absorbers have been maintained, and a steering damper has been fitted on the right side.
The tail-end features an own-design folding and lockable seat cowl designed to store the documents safely; a specially manufactured aluminium rear fender and short taper exhaust with handcrafted DB Killer which gives the C59R.4 a loud and elegant tone.
The tank, fairing and front fender have been painted in british racing green with BMW black shading and Vermeer gold outline to go with the wheels, the body of the rear shocks and the brake calipers.
BMW just released the nineT, Yamaha is bringing the SR400 back. Would you get your hands on a new motorcycle or do you prefer the older models? How do you judge the efforts of the manufacturers to bring the new bikes back to the oldschool cool?
C59R builds unique bikes. The owner of a C59R never will see another bike like his own. Other brands make bikes with a retro style, very nice style, but do not provide exclusivity to their owners.
Muchas gracias, Josep