High in the northeastern reaches of Italy, you’ll find the Friuli Venezia Giulia region. Bordered by Slovenia and Austria it’s a melting pot of different cultures and languages. Due to an abundance of historic art, music, literature and architecture the region is recognised as a place of artistic wealth, but its latest creative commodity rolls on two wheels.
Mans Custom Worx is the brainchild of Maco Zei. Marco owns and operates the FSM Filling Station Motel, a well-known creative space that consists of a workshop, concept store space, restaurant and bar. Marco’s goal with Mans Custom Worx was simple. He wanted to form a team that consisted of the regions most talented individuals in the custom scene.
The Mans Custom Worx dream team consists of Elvis Brunetti (aka Artigianeria Brunetti) a skilled metal worker with numerous international awards under his belt. Verner Ortis, of the workshop VM Cycles, who made his mark on the world stage with the AMD World Championship winning ‘La Rossa’ WLA 750. And Basso Gabriele of Tappezzeria Basso who specialises in high-end automotive upholstery and interiors.
Together the 4 artisans of Mans Custom Worx have just completed their first collaborative project, the aptly named ‘Number 1’.
Number 1 was built on a 1989 BMW K100 platform. The team’s goal was to create an agile, sleek BMW cafe racer. This was no mean feat considering the K100 was the Bavarian’s grand tourer offering of the eighties. And, as anyone familiar with the model will attest, it’s no featherweight. Both the original K100 bodywork and its “flying brick” longitudinal 4 cylinder engine are far from sleek. But with this much talent on tap, Mans Custom Worx (MCW) wasn’t about to back down from the challenge.
Improving the bike’s agility was the first challenge. After a complete teardown, the MCW team pieced together a bespoke suspension and brake package for the K100. The new suspension consists of a set of modern inverted forks and a single Bitubo mono-shock in the rear.
Due to the wheels iconic design, MCW opted to retain the K100’s snowflake rims. To step things up a notch they’ve been wrapped in Dunlop’s Arrowmax StreetSmart sport-touring rubber. The modern rubber is joined by a completely new brake package too. Both the front and rear brake rotors are ventilated and they’re controlled by Tokico callipers.
As for power improvements, the refurbished engine exhales freely via a stunning 4-into-4 exhaust system. Built by team member Verner Ortis, the 4 pipes terminate in a cluster by the rear wheel which he’s artfully angled to match the lines of the frame. In addition to his work on the pipes, Verner also created the bikes trick rear-set footpegs.
“The design started from the front fairing, to which the tail was combined, in a classic modern style,” says Mans Custom Worx; and realising the bikes new look was a real team effort.
The goal was to match the new bodywork to the stock K100 fuel tank. It’s a great looking, lightweight alloy tank which suits the cafe racer style very well. However, the MCW team weren’t content with leaving it completely stock. So Elvis Brunetti kicked things off with a few tank tweaks. His modifications included the removal of the indentations on the sides of the tank where the original roundels sat. He then installed an aviation-style filler with a trick BMW emblem cap to make it one of a kind. Elvis also undertook the task of shaping a set of svelte fenders, building a new cover for the alternator and modifying the subframe in preparation for the fitment of the new tail.
Next, FSM adapted a repurposed BMW R NineT Racer fairing to the front of the K100, modifying it to match the line of the base of the tank. A custom tail unit was then installed onto the modified subframe and fit with a non-slip, longitudinally quilted saddle by Basso Gabriele.
During the rebuild, MCW also adapted a collection of components from their preferred aftermarket suppliers. The list includes a Koso DB-01RN multifunction meter, Joker Machine bar end mirrors and tiny Kellerman Atto indicators.
To help trim down the heft of the engine FSM has swapped the factory radiator with a smaller aftermarket item which is backed by a cooling fan. FSM also tackled the task of wiring the bike up and the final assembly. The last piece of the puzzle was the bike’s paintwork which has been done using a matte gunmetal grey and gloss black scheme.
Although a stock BMW K100 could never be compared to an 8 series BMW like the one in these photos, we think Number 1 is the perfect pairing for such a classic. Infact if you handed us the keys to either one we’d be very happy indeed.