Common Tread

Is this the strangest homebrew motorcycle yet?

Jul 14, 2016

Plucking oddities off eBay and craigslist is not usually my thing. But this time, I couldn't help but stop and stare.

I don't fully understand what this is (and neither does the seller), but someone (not me) should buy it and see if you can even ride it.

The seller bought this at an estate sale and is flipping it on eBay. He says it was built by a guy named Doc. Why are images of "Back to the Future" flashing through my brain?

eBay custom
The more you look, the weirder it gets. Photo by Shawn Walters on eBay.

The seller posted lots of photos on eBay and Photobucket, so check them out. He calls the bike a "1976 BMW R60 Custom Unique Future Cafe Bobber One off," but that doesn't begin to explain it. The frame may well be from a 1976 BMW, but there's so much other stuff bolted to it that it's almost irrelevant, at this point. The engine is from a Suzuki LS650.

The more you look, the weirder it gets. There's the obvious, like the seat that appears to be made to provide maximum comfort for a species from a galaxy far, far away. Notice the handshifter that uses a Rube Goldberg linkage to operate the gearbox. Wait, are those wood fenders? And of course one highlight is the retractable license plate, shown in the video clip.

I think the most mysterious thing to me is the suspension. That appears to be an A-arm from a BMW Telelever front suspension but there's no shock. In fact, maybe I'm just missing something, but it looks to me like there is extremely little front suspension travel (I don't know what's under those gaiters) or — is it possible? — none at all. I've seen plenty of hardtails, but has anyone ever paid up for Ohlins rear suspension and foregone front suspension?

There's still time left in the auction and bids are low. If some brave member of the ZLA Army wants to pick up this bargain and dares to ride it, I will send you a bag of ZLA swag in exchange for an exclusive interview on Common Tread.