A few months ago, we introduced you to Winterless Craft, one of the few custom workshops in the Republic of Korea. Owner Tae Hyeong Ha had just scored a major coup, getting his S&S Shovelhead into the famous Mooneyes Show in Japan.
He’s now just finished a BMW R1200S that won’t be going anywhere in the current climate—but we like it even more.
This Beemer looks even tastier than a spicy bowl of bibimbap. It’s based on a 2009 R1200S, which was the most powerful BMW sportbike you could buy until the HP2 Sport popped up. The 1170cc flat twin pumps out a tire-spinning 120 hp, and has just 195 kilos (430 pounds) to push around. And there’s a hefty 112.0 Nm of torque on tap too.
The Beemer is in a whole different league to a shovelhead build, but the owner is fortunately an experienced rider. “It’s his third custom from Winterless Craft, after a Yamaha MT-09 and a Harley Softail Slim,” says Daegun Jung, who runs the business side of things at the workshop on the outskirts of Seoul.
That Softail Slim was actually still on the workbench when the owner knocked on the door with the BMW in tow. He told the Winterless guys that he wanted a build with a boxer engine, had done his research, and the R1200S caught his eye.
“He nearly bought an R NineT for the project, but changed his mind. There are heaps of R9T ‘customs’ with bolt-on parts in South Korea,” says Daegun. “He thought it was time to try something different.”
And different this R1200S certainly is, with a fresh and punchy visual style that doesn’t compromise the practicality. The machine was delivered with full Öhlins suspension and an Akrapovič exhaust system, which were desirable factory options, plus Japanese Gale Speed forged wheels.
Not surprisingly, the client had a cafe racer in mind—but after a good discussion with builder Tae Hyeong Ha, the direction shifted towards the street tracker style. “We see lots of tracker customs on the web,” says Daegun, “but the images are all from overseas. Trackers are not seen often in South Korea—especially BMW ones.”
The only restriction on the brief was to keep the exhaust, because the owner liked the sound and style of it.
After several rounds of hand drawings, the design of the bike was confirmed. The stock half-fairing is gone, and there’s a new tank. The ‘real’ tank sits underneath the new cover, and both have been made from alloy. “We were worried about the capacity, but luckily it takes nine liters—which is not too bad for a custom bike,” says Daegun.
It’s also possible to switch back to the original BMW tank without too much trouble, in case the owner wants to revert back to the original style.
The frame mods go deeper though, with a new rear frame, a new tail unit on top, and a quilted black leather seat pad that edges up over the back of the tank. The neatly flushed-in taillight is from an R NineT.
Rather than fit a standard square front number plate holder, Winterless have designed a small but stylish fairing holding an LED light from Highsider. The turn signals are Motogadget’s discreet m.pin units on classy Biltwell Tracker bars, and juice comes from a compact Shorai lithium battery.
The sharp-edged paintjob mixes a classic BMW motorsport blue with white and black, plus a striking snowflake motif on the sides of the tank. It’s crisp and effective.
With a fresh set of Pirelli MT60RS rubber spooned onto those gorgeous Gale Speed rims, the R1200S is now ready to hit the streets of Seoul. And the Winterless guys are justifiably proud.
“We face challenges such as the electronics when customizing BMWs,” Daegun reveals. “For instance, the ignition was moved under the seat, but we did not know about the immobilizer antenna. So the bike would not start … it was fixed after making a few phone calls to a BMW expert!”
“We always have problems when building a bike that is not a V-twin, but we learn more while we solve those problems.”
Winterless Craft are now keen to add more metric customs to their portfolio. We reckon this brilliant BMW is the perfect calling card—and will hopefully raise the profile of the custom scene inside South Korea too.