BMW Motorrad Japan initiates "Ignite Straight Six" project
Friday, April 24, 2015
Posted by: Wes Fleming
In the past year, four known Japanese customizers have put the BMW R nineT spectacularly in show with their outstanding creations. By now, the Ignite Straight Six project follows, being created one more time by Japanese customizers. This conceals two radically modified BMW K 1600 GTL motorcycles with 1649 cc six-cylinder engines.
Another two leading Japanese customizers, Kenji Nagai of Ken’s Factory and Keiji Kawakita of Hot-Dock Custom-Cycles, were in charge of interpreting the K 1600 GTL’s six-cylinder engine a completely different way. The only retained relations to the original bike are engine and frame, and, in the case of Kawakita’s creation Juggernaut, the Duolever front suspension. Nagai’s creation (named Ken’s Factory Special) relies on handmade aluminum girder-type front forks raked out in chopper style using a modified headstock. The K 1600 GTL’s original full fairing was replaced by a small aluminum front cowl housing the headlight and the stock rear subframe and seat were replaced by a low aluminum seat.
Nagai says, “At first I had a bagger style in mind that grew out of the tourer image. But simply transforming a tourer into a bagger was a bit too obvious a choice. So I thought of a different approach. I settled on the digger style. The long, thin digger style would make the in-line six-cylinder engine look even more prominent.”
The illusion of a dramatically low seat height and narrow motorcycle is enhanced by the use of a 23-inch front wheel and a 20-inch rear wheel. More nicely manufactured details made from aluminum like covers for the fuel tank and radiator or handlebars complete Nagai’s craftsmanship.
Kawakita’s Juggernaut is a complete contrast by way of its dark, masculine stature. There’s no sign of minimalism here and the loud and proud appearance makes Juggernaut look rather like a synthesis of Mad Max and Jules Verne. A skeleton of aluminum tubing broadens the naked K 1600 GTL’s chassis and instruments at each side of the fuel tank fit neatly with the military look. Tributes to the GS range are the dual fog lights and the front trail-like beak.
It’s a monumental feat and the desired custom finish was, according to Kawakita, inspired by history: “I found an old photograph of the cockpit of a convertible that looked like something from the near future, and I got the idea of making a bike that had that kind of atmospheric feel. Looking at the front forks and Duolever suspension, I thought I could do this with the K 1600 GTL. But the actual work was long and hard, a tough job to handle. Even when I finished, I still wasn’t really sure whether the work was complete. But that’s the thing about customizing, isn’t it?”
In a spectacular way, project Ignite Straight Six continues the engagement and the ideas of the customizing scene in the land of the rising sun. BMW Motorrad can’t wait to see the impetuses both the new creations are giving and what kind of new projects the future is going to bring.
More information on the Ignite Straight Six project is available at their website, ignite6.jp/en/.