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Mauro Gibellini's special G/S "Frankenbeemer"

FRANKENBEEMER by Mauro Gibellini. East Lansing, Michigan, July 29th, 2001

Having left my home land which is Italy (Milan) and having moved to the US, meant to me to leave my 84 BMW g/s behind. After few years of dealing with other bikes in this new continent, I felt the "nostalgia" of the Gelande/Strasse that I loved so much. I heard that few were imported and that they were very fashionable in California. What a luck!

The Voodoo bike
Finally, after surfing the net for quite a while, I saw one advertise at a very reasonable price. By coincidence, another Italian who left for America and was tinkering with a few other models had one for sale. He received this R 80 g/s as a trade-in from Louisiana. The bike was cheap because it needed a lot of work. He called it the Voodoo bike, because as much as he wanted to get around to fixing it, he never had the time or things would happen to prevent him from doing so. We all know about Louisana...
I knew that this would become another personal project since I already have a BMW G/S Paris Dakar in Italy. On Thanksgiving day 1999, I drove to Massachusetts to pick it up. The next day, I took it apart. Then, I waited patiently for the right inspiration...
On my vacation to Italy, I saw some ads regarding special parts for G/Ss for sale, posted by Marco Bosi. I called him, and went to Novara (close to Milan) to meet Him. After talking with him for a couple of hours and picking up the parts for my Italian G/S as well as picking his brain, I realized what I wanted to do with the bike that was sitting in my garage in pieces.

The following is the result:

The frame was reinforced (by TIG welding) like Marco's bikes and was powder coated white in Michigan by PRO FINISH POWDER COATING of Grand Rapids (1000 ken-o-sha ind. dr. se, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49508 * +1 (616) 245 7550, no web site). These folks are some of the most professional people I met during my project. They are great and their prices are reasonable.
Note the reinforcement welding near the footpegs as well as the creation of a support for the left exhaust pipe which replicates the one on the right of the frame.
The rear stainless steal sub-frame, was bought by my dearest wife (she understands my passion and who is half German) from Gletter Tuning. One of the problems of dealing with them was the fact that they only accept cash or money transfer. NO visa. This transaction reminded me of transactions with certain shops in Italy. I guess all artisans are the same. The leather bag also came from them.
The connecting rods are from Carrillo. It took me 3 months to get them since they were not in the "production schedule". They also didn't accept any credit cards. I paid COD.
The piston and cylinder kit together with the camshaft came from Motoreninstandsetzung Israel (Germany). Very professional people, too. The kit is a 1043, long sleeve Mahle kit. Since the casing of my engine was an 800 cc, I had it ported to fit the cylinder sleeves. Since I had to dismantle the engine because of the porting, I purchased a hotter camshaft; a 320 degrees cam.
The dual plug conversion was done by San Jose BMW. I shipped them one of the Mahle pistons and they shaped the combustion chamber to match the dome of it. They definitely are the experts in the US, but you have to patiently wait to receive all the parts.
The Mikuni TM square slides were purchased from San Jose BMW. The kit requires some work to fit the throttle cables. The ones included in the kit are useless. The only down side of this conversion is the clearance between the footpegs and the bottom of the carbs. There is no much space left if you wear boots!
The air filter conversion is a desert type sold by HPN. The filter is the usual old model round BMW filter.
The Italian QUATD. I had to remove the back brake switch because the pipe is very close to it and it could burn it. I haven't found a good solution yet.
Click here for a sample of Frankenbeemer's voice ;-)
The short first gear and the long sixth gear made by HPN were installed by San Jose BMW in my rotten transmission case. Apparently, the bike was left outside without cover and water got through the speedometer cap. Sigh!!!
The elongated shaft, as well as the swing arm was bought at TAG in Bergamo.
The engine block, cylinders as well as the transmission were been painted with Matt wrinkle paint finish to give the right look. It is heat resistant.
The front suspension is an up-side down WP from either a Cagiva or a Husquarna (I bought it used in Italy from someone who wanted to try Marzocchi) adapted to have a floating disk brake and a Brembo dual piston caliper.
The rear shock is the classic Dutch Ohlins which is fully adjustable. In my humble opinion, the best in the market.
The back wheel has been offset to be mounted with a Michelin fat desert tire. TAG and Marco gave me directions on its dimensions.
The Cockpit is a TOURATECH IMO-100-300. Beautiful thing and it works like a charm. GPS III by Garmin.

All the fenders including the tank, are by ACERBIS (Italy, the best plastic). The seat is a custom seat that someone in Italy has done for Marco. Marco gave it to me.

What is left to do?
Perhaps a better fairing... HPN? I am still investigating but I have a Cemoto windshield to be fixed on the enduro front light.
Why Frankenbeemer?
On a trip to a car museum, a friend of mine (Dale) after having seen the bike, told me that because of all the modifications it was like a Frankenstein bike, from that Franken-beemer. The monster Frankenbeemer!!!
Many thanks to : Baba for his present , my wife Yasmine for her patience, Marco for the advice, Larry and Brian at GT Motors (Lansing) for directing me to the right people and Jim for tuning the monster up.
For any questions: Mauro Gibellini

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Updated the 21 September 2001