The last Das Traumwerk build we featured was controversial to say the least: a boardtracker with a bright yellow engine. Now Alex Ahrer and Herwig Prammer are at it again, with their mischievous Austrian sense of humour.
This time, they’ve taken inspiration from the 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia. They asked themselves the question: What if T.E. Lawrence roamed the desert on a motorcycle instead of a camel? They reckon it’d be something like this sandy BMW R100GS.
“We wanted to revitalize the atmosphere of the legendary and mystic Orient,” explains Herwig. “The appearance should suggest sand, desert, pyramids, nomad tents and bonfires under an endless sky. With the smell of incense and the taste of dates.”
Okay. Riiight. The illustrious history of the GS in the Paris-Dakar rally is perhaps a better connection to the desert, and prompted the duo to leave most of the R100GS chassis intact. The stock 21F/18R wheels were also retained, but wrapped in new Mitas offroad rubber. The suspension has been upgraded with Wilbers springs.
We love the period-correct accessories. Up on the handlebars is an early forerunner of today’s ubiquitous GoPro: a fully functioning screw-mount Leica camera. (“For historic action-shots,” according to Herwig.) Out back, there’s a Swiss army satchel and a NATO-style jerry can for longer rides.
The 1998-model engine was left untouched—save for the airbox, which was ditched in favour of cone filters. Das Traumwerk have also stripped the GS’ banana-shaped exhaust down, and rebuilt it into a simpler unit. As Herwig puts it, “All other folderol [triviality] was eliminated.”
The R100GS might be functional, but it doesn’t have the lines of a klassische motorräder. So the guys replaced the fuel tank with one from a late ’60s BMW /5, tweaking it to fit.
Then they shortened the subframe by almost eight inches, and installed a custom-made solo seat. It’s been upholstered in marble leather from an old chair.
The original rear fender was trimmed; the front fender’s from a 70s-model Japanese bike. The yellow headlight and speedo are from a BMW R65, and the turn signals and rear light were taken off a 1974 Honda CB450.
The matte sand finish dominating the BMW is offset by ‘Black Red’ powdercoat on the frame and assorted hard parts. Leather highlights soften the effect, and can be found on the tank and grips—and even a nifty cover over the shaft drive seal.
As much as we’re looking forward to the inevitable comments, we have to admit Das Traumwerk’s “Lawrence” made us smile.
It’s both practical and fun. What more could you want?