It ‘easy to say special, but when you look at a bike like this is forced to redefine the terms of this adjective. There were months when I observe the work of Roel Scheffers, at the beginning I must say that it seemed an absurd project and also feose all nice, but see every detail, every technical solution which used to solve every problem that has found his path, I can not do is compliment, just higher than the world are able so much talent and abilities. Here a long interview and a large gallery of photographer Mark Meisner, where Roel says himself, his history and the work done on this bike.
My passion for bikes started as a 8/9 year old, riding on the back of my dad’s bike every Sunday. Touring with the “club” absolutely loved it! Loved it so much and got so comfortable at times that they sometimes had to tie me to the sissybar/backpad whenever I fell asleep while riding.
After that started with some illegal moped driving in the woods at the age of 12,after that some Zundapp and way to fast Aprilia mopeds when 16 years old, first motorcycle not long after that; a Honda CB350F (green tank) which I still have the hots for!
As much as I loved that bike originally I also wanted to have one that was totally my own style. So I bought a CB400F which I completely rebuilt with the help of my dad and friends (Stijn Horsten with welder machine..)
There, that started the passion for rebuilding bikes. The love for rebuilding took the overhand on the driving. Off course I love to do some occasional driving to meetings etc. I even had some periods where I drove my custom bikes to work, but the main focus now is build build build.
This has always been (and still is) a hobby. Whilst I have been living in NL I’ve been working as mechanical engineer (agricultural machinery). Making unique bikes in night-time and weekends was what I was living for! Gathering parts, idea’s, machines, donors..; bike stuff was going through my mind 24/7.
My family led me to Norway, my Norwegian girl and my two kids 🙂 After some time going back and forth to Norway and NL. We decided that we would want to have our kids grow up in the beautiful country that Norway is. So I spoke to my bosses and made a plan with them to quit my job there and hand over my work to my co-worker. In the meanwhile I sold my house and packed up all my tools ready for transport to the North.
Here I spend my time as part time housefather, building bikes, repairing small machinery and doing CAD engineering work, and there is the occasional cow-milking 🙂
Last year I decided to register my company to be able to take jobs for people. For me it is a very nice mix of activities, never bored, lots of time with my family, I can be creative in lots of stuff in the workshop and I have the freedom to spend my time as I want it.
Building bikes is actually not really a business (yet). I want to keep building unique cycles and the market for that is not easy, especially when you are living in the North of Norway.. We will see what the future brings. In the meanwhile I’ve got lots of idea’s that are related to bikes and that will take form soon… we’ll see where it gets me. Occasionally I have a customer who needs some repair or a small part for a bike, off course I’m very happy to help out with that, a bike is a bike and (almost) always fun to work on.
My experience as mechanical (CAD) engineer influences the work on my bike and vice versa… I think it is a privilege to be able to work both sides: Get your hands dirty by fixing stuff yourself. And on the other side work with the computer (CAD) to get stuff done and try to get your idea (mostly production work that is) as good and efficiently made by other people in a way that everybody is happy with it, the fabricator, the customer and the customers :). For me there is a constant flow of knowledge from one side to the other. Doing things with my hand gives me better insight on how stuff can or should be made, and thus I can keep this thing in mind when designing/construction stuff in CAD. And of course it also works the other way.
My creative process is running 24/7. The stuff I’m wondering about every night before I fall asleep is how to make this and that part or how to get a bike design “working”. With “working” I mean how do I make it look good, fresh, sharp, new, BIKE. Because there is tons of stuff that you can put in your design…. the main goal for me is to keep it a bike! Although I love to take inspiration from the extreme futuristic bikes as much as from the pre-war bikes, the main goal for my bikes remains: it needs to be a BIKE. People have to look at it and say, wow!! Now that is a motorcycle! Instead of, wow, that is a nice caféracer, chopper etc…. I love to take lots of different elements out of different boxes 🙂
My workshop started as a hobby, as for most of us, but I was lucky to have a very clever grandfather with lots of tools and lots of room. After my grandfather died and I was old enough me and my dad made sure it was very well used! The upgrading of the tools started when I started studying and got some money in with several jobs, the upgrading will never stop, same for the learning. Lots of the tools I buy is just for me to take the next motorcycle project to a higher level. For example… when I rebuilt my BMW K100 “RS09” I found out it had an aluminium tank. So halfway the project I had to invest in an AC/DC TIG machine to be able to weld up the cut up tank.For the GTS project I needed to mill lots of stuff down, so I bought me a milling machine. Also this was the first time that my sheet metal forming tools came in to use, this tank and seat is the first set I made from scratch. For the upcoming project I’m planning in producing an impressive set of two-stroke exhaust for a Suzuki GT750 engine; I just got my two manual plate roll bending machines in 🙂 In the near future I would like to invest in a CNC machine…….. we have to keep dreaming don’t we?
After building my BMW K100 RS09 I had half the opportunity to rebuild a Honda ST1100 Pan European… An uncle promised me his old Pan if I would rebuild it for him. Unfortunately through work, exams and more I never got this off the ground and we decided to fix up the Pan and sell it instead. After the K100 and the smell of the ST1100 I got a bit triggered by the thought of finding a BIG tour machine and turn it into a lean “killer” bike. Some research lead me to the GTS which I had never actually noticed before.. Two weeks later I drove to the North of Netherlands with a friend to pick up my GTS. The rest is history haha 😉
This bike had to be LOW, it had to be double single sided wheeled, it needed raw steel and most of all it needed to breathe; motorcycle!
Type: GTS 1000
Engine: FZR1000 pre-exup
1000cc, open air intake, very short homemade velocity stacks, handmade stainless steel exhaust system with modified IXIL-mufflers, carbs with dynojet stage 3 kit, needs final tuning on dyno.
Oil belly pan modified, modified clutch side cover # 10, water-cooler circuit modified, rerouted wiring and simplified, oil cooler bent so it could be mounted behind front wheel.
Frame: GTS 1000 OMEGA frame
Wheels: Back: VFR750. Front: modified and widened rear-wheel NSR150SP (with some help of Plurk and Marcel)
GTS 1000 “RADD” front end suspension, all components are modified;
Lower arm holes welded to make it look smoother, bearing-housing milled down to make more space for the wheel / brake, connection to the up-right arm milled down.
Upright arm holes welded to make it look smoother
Upper arm modified to make space for the radiator
Linkage system home-made to replace the original “steering-column”.
Steering, all home-made
Internal throttle cable
Shock absorbers, Yamaha R6
Rear-end: Honda VFR750 rear swingarm + brake, modified to fit GTS frame. Buell X1 shock with spring Hyperpro, home-made link system.
Gas tank, seat: Homemade aluminium.
Headlight, aftermarket aluminium V-ROD, modified to fit styling of the bike of course.
Subframe: homemade, steal
Rear-set: some sporty bike with homemade small subframes
Front brake: homemade brake hub centre, with some help of VVM
Brake / clutch handles, modified Harley pumps.
Seat: Scheffers design, handmade by Marcel Miller (NL)
The list of small homemade parts is infinitely long, because ALL parts are either homemade or (heavily) modified, three parts I needed help with; I’ve had help with welding up the front wheel and milling the floater seats for the brake disc also I had the seat made.
Small insight on the design decisions for this bike:
I bought the beast, left the old owner in tears when I told him I would cut op his beloved GTS the same day …. drove home on the GTS, felt good, different feel but good! smoked up a rear wheel and chopped up the bike the same day.
It soon became clear that the GTS obviously had to get two single-sided wheels and it quickly became clear that the biggest challenge was here, because I wanted to get rid of the original front wheel.
A second challenge that I had put on myself was to minimize the bike. EXTREMELY low so.. 82cm at the highest point. For a bike with suspension it is pretty low. (measure your own bike with a ruler… 😉 )
The third big challenge was to make the tank and seat out of aluminium and NOT paint it.
During the project I felt more and more that this bike was really going to be something special. Thanks to the double single-sided wheels and the frame. It would be very obvious to fit some kind of space-age tank and seat with pointy tank, laser lights and sharp edges from outer space. So with the tank and the seat, I went a bit less extreme in shape as the rest of the bike, even though the tank is quite unusual, it links up with the seat which is a bit of a café racer look / the-essence-of-a-motorcycle feeling. Which signs of in people’s general opinion about the GTS; a very special bike; but it really is a no-nonsense motorcycle without frills or forms that do not belong on a bike and are there merely to impress with no function. This bike is all about the combination of form and function. (although of course I can really enjoy very unusual shapes and bikes, I felt I had achieved enough unusual-ness with the base of the bike; the frame and wheels)
Big thank you to this great great series of photo’s to Jasper, Kaylian, Mark and of course Mark Meisner Motografie