Gentleman S Express Revival S Bmw R90esq Restomod
The custom scene is replete with R-series BMWs, but they still split opinion. Purists say they’re classics that should be kept original; others are happy to whip out a grinder and get to work. This tasteful BMW restomod from Revival Cycles should be enough to satisfy both camps.
You’d be forgiven for thinking this airhead is the iconic R90S, but you’d be wrong. It’s actually a R90/6, the roadster cousin to the sportier S, given a hefty dose of S style.
As BMW’s first ‘superbike,’ the R90S legacy includes an AMA Superbike Championship win under Reg Pridmore, and the introduction of BMW’s famous Daytona Orange livery. But this /6 is likely to turn even more heads on the street, because Revival have done an excellent job with it.
Remarkably, this 1976 R90 has had one owner since new. It was his daily runner for many years, but he rode it less and less over time, and it eventually just sat for decades. So when he took it to Revival’s workshop in Austin, Texas, his intention was to have it restored back to stock.
As conversations progressed, the allure of the R90S’s history proved too strong, and the concept evolved into a gentleman’s sports tourer based on the S.
That meant it would need a fairing, a bigger fuel tank, a different seat unit, and twin discs up front. It also needed some luggage, and a paint job worthy of its source material. So Revival set to work.
Given the age of the motor, it was torn down and rebuilt with new pistons, rings and valves. The S had a different compression ratio to the /6, but the homage didn’t need to be that accurate. So Revival opted for a pair of Dell’Orto PHM 38 mm round-slide carbs for a little boost, matched up to pod filters and custom-made inlet manifold adaptors.
Other new parts include Venhill throttle cables, a lightweight starter motor and a custom-built stainless steel exhaust system.
A new cover was fabricated to replace the air box, and to house the electronic bits. The R90/S now runs off a custom wiring loom, with a Bluetooth-capable Motogadget m.unit Blue control box, and an Antigravity lithium-ion battery. Revival also wired in a regulator/rectifier from Rick’s Motorsport Electrics.
The R90 is sporting some sweet chassis upgrades too. There’s a set of fully adjustable 38 mm forks from CR Suspension up front, held in place by custom triple trees. And the rear end’s held up by a pair of Icon shocks, dialed in to the owner’s weight.
Revival managed to source an original pair of gorgeous Lester wheels for the BMW—a popular upgrade back in the day. They were fully refurbished and painted, and a new axle machined for the front. Then a pair of classic touring-specific Metzler Perfect ME 11 tires went on.
Out back you’ll find the BMW’s original drum brake, but Revival threw together a modern setup for the front. It includes four-piston Brembo calipers and EBC floating discs, Goodridge banjo fittings and Sniper lines, and a K-Tech master cylinder and levers (brake and clutch).
As for the bodywork, that’s all new. Revival have brought the front end up to spec with a R90S fairing, and a /7 tank that’s effectively the same as the S unit. The fairing’s sitting on custom-made brackets, and has been extensively trimmed inside—to rid it of the original instrument panel. The tank’s unmolested, but is topped off with a Monza-style cap from Motone.
The headlight’s a Bates number, mounted on a custom bracket. Just behind the fairing you’ll find a set of chromed cafe-style bars from LSL, a Tommaselli throttle, Revival’s own custom switches, and an Oberon bar-end mirror. There’s also a Motogadget Chronoclassic speedo, keyless ignition and bar-end turn signals.
Moving to the back, Revival fabricated their own tail section from aluminum—echoing the R90S lines but with a tighter effect. There’s a Biltwell taillight frenched in at the back, and a seat from Revival’s leatherwork department, Revival Ltd., up top.
Just below it is a custom subframe, finished off with custom license plate bracket. It’s flanked by a set of handsome Revival Ltd Duro panniers, sitting on hand-made supports. Custom fenders and mounts round out the bodywork.
With everything perfectly proportioned, the ‘BMW R90Esq’ works as both a restomod and a homage to an unforgettable motorcycle. It’s the final paint job that really pushes it over the edge—an immersive tobacco burst that was never in BMW’s catalog, but should have been.
It’s not all about the looks though: before handing it back to the client, Revival popped the R90Esq onto their dyno, to the tune of 60 horses at the back wheel. And it’s shed 61 pounds since it rolled through their doors.
For a bike that’s over four decades old, it sure looks fresh … and with enough original BMW-ness to impress even the most devout purists.
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