This is the Aero – it took master craftsman Georgio Rimi four years to build using a series of hand tools and an English wheel to painstakingly shape flat aluminum alloy panels into a series of beautiful compound curves – creating a one-of-a-kind bespoke BMW R100 RS.
Georgio is the co-founder, along with Vaughn Ryan, of MotoRRetro in Sydney, Australia. The two men met in the late-1980s in technical college where they were constantly vying for the position of top student, despite their rivalry they become close friends, and have now spent decades restoring and rebuilding everything from vintage Ferraris and Porsches to Alfa Romeos and BMWs.
Georgio and Vaughn started MotoRRetro to continue their work redesigning, building, and restoring cars and motorcycles, while also offering classes in automotive metal shaping, welding, fabrication, and other related skills.
They also sell all the equipment needed to restore and rebuild classic cars, like English wheels, dollies, mallets, blocking hammers, and everything else that may be needed.
The Aero by Georgio Rimi + MotoRRetro
“In designing and building Aero I was driven to create something unique, to demonstrate what’s possible when you use your imagination, to test my own metal shaping skills and inspire bike builders of tomorrow.
Aero was inspired by my love of Auto Union race cars, specifically the Auto Union Type C driven in 1937 by Bernd Rosemeyer. But also by aircraft design and airstream caravans from the 1930’s to the 1950s, and the simple yet beautiful shapes and curves designers used to achieve aerodynamics at the time.” – Georgio Rimi
The project to build the aero began 4 years ago when Georgio struck upon the idea of building a modern two-wheeled German motorcycle inspired by the great pre-WW2 Auto Union grand prix cars.
He chose the BMW R100 RS as it ticked two boxes – it’s as German as Oktoberfest and it was the first production motorcycle fitted with a full fairing from the factory. This meant that the frame was already plumbed to accept a full fairing, and it was fitted with one of the most powerful versions of the 980cc horizontally opposed twin cylinder BMW “airhead” engine.
A suitable R100 RS was found in Queensland, Georgio bought it and had it shipped down to Sydney so the strip down could begin.
Above Image: Georgio Rimi with the Aero
“I started by sketching the design that resided in my imagination. The first step of the build was making the framework that supported the body. It needed to be bolted to the bike, but also be quickly and easily removable for servicing.
Next, I created a wire form for each side of the bike – a 3D forming buck – which I used to make the cutting templates for cutting out the alloy panels. I used my metal shaping skills – shrinking and stretching the alloy – to create the shapes for my design. I used the English Wheel, dollies, mallets, blocking hammers and a forming block to help me do this.
I decided to use some aircraft riveting and lightning punches to give the bike an industrial, aeronautical feel. Because this was a difficult build, and required a lot of trial and effort, I also called on the ideas and expertise of my business partner Vaughan Ryan. Builds of this type take many minds and many hands to come to life.” – Georgio Rimi
A Buell Lightening front end was sourced and fitted courtesy of a custom triple tree, the front wheel was replaced with a CNC-machined front wheel by Mario Ricciardiello with the front rim wheel halves metal spun by White Horse Industry. This new front wheel keeps a single-sided perimeter rotor from the Buell with the matching calliper, all tucked neatly under the streamlined front fender.
The full steering-head back fairing led to a few unique challenges, the fuel taps could no longer be reached so Georgio wired up a pair of electric solenoids to do the job, and a remote operating cable was developed to operate the choke. The original twin shock rear was replaced with a monoshock set up and the Buell forks were lengthened to achieve a standard ride height by extending all of the internals in the fork and fabricating new fork tubes.
A black leather seat was upholstered by Brett Copping to sit atop the sweeping alloy curves built to Georgio’s design using concept drawings by Roger Warsop at Retroline. A custom exhaust system was developed by Dave Reid to slot neatly through the lower bodywork and exit through two neat ports in the rear.
A series of modifications to the wiring loom were made by Julian Lopez to incorporate the moto gadget M unit to power the headlight, front and rear indicators, and brake light.
“Aero is a concept bike. The design is so different to most other bikes that reactions can be quite polarising, but I built it for myself and to stretch my abilities.
I really like the front-end setup: the CNC billet front wheel with a 16 inch radial disc and the 8 spot caliper, because it adds modern technology to a retro-inspired design.
I’ve test ridden Areo a few times and the bike handles brilliantly, as would a standard BMW R100. When I ride it, I feel like a test pilot riding an experimental machine. I had the biggest grin on my face after that first ride! It’s such an amazing feeling riding something you’ve created yourself from an initial idea in your head.
I haven’t yet ridden it on the road, so I’m thinking about how it will handle in windy conditions with this type of body.
I’ve had help and support along the build journey and would like to thank Vaughan Ryan, Julian Lopez, Robyn Hayes and Gary Vicente.” – Georgio Rimi
If you’d like to see more from MotoRRetro you can click here to visit their website, if you’re in Australia and would like to learn traditional automotive coachbuilding, welding, and metal shaping Georgio and Vaughn run regular lessons at remarkably affordable pricing.
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All Images Copyright 2019© Lens Flare Air
Articles that Ben has written have been covered on CNN, Popular Mechanics, Smithsonian Magazine, Road & Track Magazine, the official Pinterest blog, the official eBay Motors blog, BuzzFeed, Autoweek Magazine, Wired Magazine, Autoblog, Gear Patrol, Jalopnik, The Verge, and many more.
Silodrome was founded by Ben back in 2010, in the years since the site has grown to become a world leader in the alternative and vintage motoring sector, with well over a million monthly readers from around the world and many hundreds of thousands of followers on social media.