I’ve always loved the use of wood in cars. When I was young a neighbor converted an old ’30s Chevy into a jaw dropping Hot Rod with a solid walnut dash he carved, sanded and lacquered himself (I seem to remember him saying he had applied 15 coats of clear to it!). Everything on the car was amazing, but it was that walnut dash that really got people excited. When it comes to motorcycles the use of wood is sadly not something you see very often, so when I came across this custom BMW R80 by Workshop Maquerelle in France you can imagine my excitement.
Workshop Maquerelle is a two man team made up of Stefan and Till who started the company in late 2011. Jump forward to April of this year and their first full custom build was rolling out the door, a 1978 BMW R80 named “Mary Magdalene”. I was lucky enough to get the low down on the bike from Stephan and access to these, the first studio shots of the bike.
“Our first customer handed us his bike with blind confidence because he liked what we said and our ambitious ideas!“
“We had no obligations with this build. No Cafe Racer or Street Tracker template to follow. We proposed the idea of building a “James Bond” motorcycle reminiscent of his Aston Martin and seductive in its styling. We designed parts that we felt would appeal to women and perhaps even seduce them with its fine details and pleasantries. The passenger pegs for instance, feature laser etched wood inserts with “s’il vous plaît..” (please) engraved in to them.“…What else would one expect from a pair of Frenchmen!?
Stephan and Till both come from artistic backgrounds which can clearly be seen in their design approach to this build, but the Mary Magdalene isn’t just about good looks. The bikes owner, a busy fashion worker can keep his iphone charged with a custom plug integrated into the completely revised wiring harness. The BMW’s 34 year old motor has received reliability tweaks rather than performance ones by changing the engines internals during the rebuild to allow it to run on modern high octane fuel without skipping a beat.
The wood details on the the BMW are made using a process similar to how skateboard decks are built. 5 layers of wood were cut and bonded with resin for each part with the seat pan shaped using a vacuum mold. The wooden details can be seen surrounding the twin headlights, in the form of racing style number plates in the rear and as laser engraved details on the engine and fuel tank.
Other custom work on the bike includes the conversion of all lighting to LED, custom Maquerelle low profile indicator housings, chopped and reshaped fenders, the tan leather seat and the front fairing which was bought at a flea market before being reshaped and blend with the shape of the German made tank.
This is number one for Workshop Maquerelle and a great start for the fledgling company. Maybe custom wood detailing on motorcycles will be the next big thing? Keep an eye on Maquerelle on facebook for moreof their work.