Custom BMW Fire Road Flyer

Bike builder Josh Withers turns a parts bike into a sharp and stylish custom ready for a dirt road.

Photo courtesy of Josh Withers

Photographer and custom motorcycle builder Josh Withers of California is no stranger to taking on special requests from interested clients.

He’s the first to admit he isn’t getting rich from the motorcycle part of his life, though. In fact, five years ago, when he had just finished one particular commissioned café racer, on social media he joked he’d made 10 cents an hour completing the build. “A guy made a comment that he’d pay me a raise of 15 cents an hour to build him a bike,” Josh recalls. “In jest, I wrote back and said, ‘Sure, I’d do that!’”

Photo by Josh Withers

That guy is Bill Horntvedt of Michigan. Emails were sent back and forth, and several phone calls made. Josh says Bill wanted a BMW café racer based off of a R75/5 foundation but kept mentioning there were plenty of dirt and gravel roads near his hometown.

Josh says, “A café racer and dirt roads don’t add up, and we couldn’t really agree on what to build. But, I did start searching for a donor BMW to serve as the starting point for Bill’s project.”

Jack Alexander
1/2/2021 11:16:29 AM

Love the story and details. I’d ridden a road version from the 60’s and one much later from the 90’s (?) that had a windshield that tilted electrically. As wonderful as the bikes were, I could not make a clean shift to save my there some trick for the “man and machine Union”?

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