BMW R80/7 midlife crisis - a usable custom

Published: 10 November 2010

Adam Kay wanted a machine that could be ridden every day and look as cool as any custom - and his R80/7 midlife crisis embodies that perfectly.

The donor bike is a BMW R80/7 with a 1978 engine and the frame and forks are from the '81 model. Here's how the project got started, in Adam's own words:

"I needed help and I found a great place to customize a motorcycle at a shop called Victory Motorcycles in Camden London. Rex the owner and now friend specializes in BMWs and classic British iron. I asked if I could come in and customize a motorcycle and luckily for me, Rex liked the idea. 

"I had seen some great Guzzi customs and BMW on the web and wanted to do something with a twin. Rex had a R80/7 for sale so that's what I got. The style of my custom came from looking at a racing Guzzi I saw on Bike EXIF. I did all the work myself under the guidance of Rex and as I only had two days a week that I could dedicate to the job, it took me 8 months to customize the R80/7.

"I wanted a single seat, a long rear mudguard and a short chopped front mudguard like a bobber. I choose not to paint the tank after I had spent ages stripping off the old paint and filler after all that effort I didn't want to cover it up again with paint! I also wanted it to have no decals, because to me a boxer is clearly a BMW, so it doesn't need any info on the tank.  

"I changed the R80 from what I thought could be seen as a rather dull machine to a thing of old school rebellion. I also wanted to challenge myself as I have never done anything like this before. I'm 45 so this could be my "midlife crisis" project."

So what's next? Adam has already been commissioned to build another R80/7 custom for someone else. Plus he's started work on a new luxurious R80 custom which should be ready next year. 

For more info on his projects, visit