Shed built: "It’s a learning curve and is worth every hour spent"

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When former mechanical engineer Duncan Evans spotted an R65 for sale he knew he had found the perfect base bike for his first build.

The engine, which showed a respectable 24,000 miles, was in pretty good shape with the overall condition of the bike being described as “fair bordering on honest” according to Duncan, “the previous owner had used the bike for green laning and it had suffered its fair share of knocks and scratches, but had no bends in the bars or frame and the engine was sound. I’ve owned a couple of BMWs and was confident that the engine and gear box were in great condition.” 


The bike was stripped, with the pieces placed into piles for powder coating, painting, reworking and then those parts that were to be cleaned and finished over the course of a 9-month period. 

The aftermarket stainless exhaust system, which had come with the bike when Duncan bought it, was in great condition, except for a hole in the back-box and its design meant that the original side stand couldn’t be used, leading to the fabrication of an adapter that meant that the exhaust would no longer cause problems for the stand.

The engine was cleaned up and the carbs were sent for sonic cleaning, the tank was to be painted white and Fiat 500 grey with pin-striping that matches the blue in the BMW badge.

The auxiliary lights were purchased from eBay and the lenses painted yellow and a push button that was discretely fitted into the switch block kept the lines clean and meant that there were no bulky and unnecessary switches on the handlebars. The loom was also cleaned up and any un-used or corroded connectors removed or replaced.

The saddle was a reworked BMW offering that spans the length of the tank too, with a cover hiding the petrol cap, and is finished in brown antique leather. 

The bike was to be more than just a showpiece though and Duncan needed it to get around on too; “I wanted the bike to be used for commuting, which meant it needed some means of carrying something like an iPad and some other items so I decided to construct a pannier from a 5-litre fuel can which I think turned out very well.”

It seems though that after this GS that Duncan has caught the customising bug though and is currently working on a Moto Guzzi and when asked if he would have done anything different to the GS if he went back and did it again he said he wouldn’t, adding “it’s a learning curve and is worth every hour spent”. We couldn’t agree more.

If you have your own shed-built bike then we want to hear from you. Email our Web Producer James with some images and a bit about your project to


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James Archibald

By James Archibald

Former MCN Junior Web Producer