BIKE STORY – BMW R 69 S “Thompson”

By Nina Becaj –

You need a strong weapon when you decide to take out a gangster that’s been dominating the scene for way too long. We decided it’s time to build one – our own Thompson. Early this year a German doctor called us in to build him a version of our ‘Mobster’ build. Our challenge was to use it for our inspiration but we had to surpass it in many ways. We wanted to build something that speaks of history, craftsmanship and modern technology. The goal was to use warmer, natural materials as a counterweight to metal details and the matte pale blue fuel tank.

Builder Blaž explains: “We used more leather and for the first time we chose wood for certain details on this build. We designed our first hand grips and a saddle seat out of teak wood. It was the greatest feeling seeing them come out exactly the way we imagined. We named the bike after a widely recognized weapon often used by gangsters during the prohibition era in late 20s. The Thompson machine gun was endorsed by criminals mainly because of its compactness, reliability and ergonomics. These features can also be found in this R 69 S build.

We used two different settings for our nightly photo shoot. For the first one, we used a dark tunnel in Italy which paints the mood and dark atmosphere typical for gangsters and criminal activity. At this location it became obvious how disarming a Thompson can be. Blaž remembers: “Halfway through our photo shoot in the middle of the night we were caught off guard by undercover Italian police who were giving us a hard time about what we’re doing there at first. We didn’t have the bike’s papers with us but after we explained the situation and they had a closer look at the bike they forgot about everything and started taking pictures of it, too. Words can’t describe how relieved we all were.’’

The second location was a modern cemetery just to emphasize the notoriousness of Thompson but at the same time to symbolically say goodbye to the Mobster.

Project type: Commissioned project. Bike Name: Thompson. 1964 BMW

BMW R 100 engine, completely rebuilt; custom made exhaust pipes, custom Spark MotoGP silencer. BMW R 100 gear box – 5 speed. Rear Swing Arm: R 80 modified. Main Frame: stock BMW R 69/S, modified. Forks: R 50/5. Shocks: Hagon cartridge, modified. Upper Triple Tree: BMW R 80 RT, modified. Front wheel: Borrani 2.50×18” with SS spokes. Front Brake: Menani Duplex drum brake, modified. Rear Brake: stock BMW drum brake, modified. BMW Schorsch Meier-style fuel tank, modified. Handlebar: Renthal low black. Speedo: Motogadget Classic speedo. Headlight: RSD black ops, 5 3/4”. Taillight: Shin-yo LED light / integrated into license plate holder. Hand Controls: Motogadget M-switch mini. Handgrips: ERM wooden grips. Footpegs: Tarozzi footpegs. New electrical wiring, Motogadget M-unit, M-lock.

Fabricated Parts (designed by ERM team): custom wooden seat, leather seat inserts – custom fabric; leather side bags, tool bag; custom fuel tank leather side patches – custom wooden handgrips – custom holders (headlight, fenders, license plate, M-lock, speedo, fuel tank etc.) – custom fenders (front, rear) – custom exhaust pipes – custom Spark exhaust silencer – custom Menani brake drum mesh – custom battery box.