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Munich-based Diamond Atelier, custom R nineT.

One look at this very special, special BMW R nineT, known as DA#4, from Munich-based Diamond Atelier confirms experience becomes excellence. What started as two young students with a hobby for building detailed custom bikes to feed a growing fan-base, Diamond Atelier has grown to two young men working full-time to achieve even greater custom builds.

The Builders

Diamond Atelier started life from the imaginative minds of two young students from Munich; Tom Konecny (22) and Pablo Steigleder (25). Nothing has changed in terms of personnel since they created a stunning R 80 RT-based café racer in their spare time some 18 months ago. What has changed, though, is the scope of their work and imagination. Both have risen to even greater levels. This in turn has forced the need for more workshop equipment, a new and bigger workshop, and the need to work nearly every waking hour on bike builds. Not forgetting they still have to find time to study in order to achieve master’s degrees in electronics (Pablo) and brand-related marketing (Tom).

Their latest build, DA#4 R nineT, or rather DA Number Four, reflects in rather a stupendous way the distance these two dudes will go to achieve perfection in their urban custom street bikes. Yes, DA#4 is fully road legal! It has all the necessary TÜV-type approval documentation to cover all the modifications that go to make DA#4. In case you are wondering, TÜVs are set by various organisations to ensure legal/user compliance and also safety standards are met. Perhaps not surprisingly, TÜV are amongst the toughest standards in the world and feature highly in the world of motorcycling.

The Partnership

K1X is a German basketball brand specialising in modern and very desirable fashionwear. With two cool brands in the same city, it seemed only logical that a collaboration between K1X and Diamond Atelier should arise. After all, it’s on the streets where today’s young modern life is happening and DA#4 says so much about both companies’ products.

The Tank

The DA#4 fuel tank is truly a case where form and function meet head on. The standard R nineT tank isn’t ugly by any stretch of a warped imagination, but to realise Tom and Pablo’s vision of new and functional from old(!) and complete their design, it too had to be reworked. “I’m not sure where the original vision for the tank came from,” says Tom Konecny. “I was surfing the need for inspiration, like you do, when I saw the top half of a tank from years ago. It might have been a Guzzi tank, but whatever it was the shape gave me some basis for the rest of the fuel tank.”

The new tank is more than just a simple tank: the finished item gives a lower CofG, incorporates routes for the complex dual air-inlets and definitely makes the bike stand out as different. And beautiful. And purposeful with just a hint of menace.

Overall the new tank is a complex bit of kit that required many hours to hand-form sheet aluminium to get the desired shapes. Plus some more time to tack weld those sheets into place before being finally welded into a whole by a man with the necessary TÜV accreditation. Whoever says customising is easy obviously doesn’t live in Germany. The finishing touch is not the paintwork, which is way beyond factory finish, but the application of the K1X maple leaf logo badges – cut from sterling silver – to each side of the tank.

The Wheels

While in the wheel area, it’s not immediately noticeable but the wheels have been modified, too. The original steel wire-spokes have been replaced with heavy-duty thicker spokes in order to handle the additional grip given by racing slick tyres. These tyres are deemed necessary to compete in sprint race events planned for DA#4. It also adds to the low-slung café racer style, which will be even more noticeable when the bike’s seen in the flesh, so to speak.

The challenges

Any route taken to reach perfection is littered with obstacles and in building DA#4 Tom and Pablo stumbled across many. Well, more like fell hard on their faces. Frequently. The biggest tripping point was the R nineT’s electronics. Tom: “The R nineT is designed to allow simple personal customisation, like removing or changing the indicators and rear lighting. But we needed to go further than that to achieve our vision for the bike.” To get the clean, slim lines around the front end meant replacing the efficient but standard switchgear and dash display for ABM and Motogadget parts. This proved to be a time consuming, head-banging time for Tom and Pablo.

“The days of simply swapping components are long gone. Every electrical item we changed, from starter switch to headlight to exhaust sensors, meant the ECU (Electronic Control Unit) had to be reprogrammed in order for the system to accept changes to the standard working parameters. This would mean many hours would need to be spent at an official Motorrad dealer every time we changed something. Instead we bought specialist connectors and spent hours in front of a laptop to make sure the bike and all its functions could work correctly. A lot of people would rather leave the stock items in place or change them without altering the electronics thinking it’ll all work fine, but it won’t. Take our word for it.”

Many examples of going the extra kilometre to be perfect come with further study of the complete bike. The Cardan shaft housing has been resprayed and typically means deconstructing the rear end of the R nineT and then rebalancing the unit before assembly of the painted parts. The painted wheel hubs match the one-off seat unit’s seat material; the covering material is the same colour and leather to be used in K1X’s new footwear range. The same can be said of the white and black colouring splashes on the air intake tubes and wheel rims.

As with most specialist bike builds, the list of modifications and time spent resolving problems is massive. Indeed, it would be fair to say a build is never completed but a line has to be drawn at some point; a line that signals it’s time to stand back and admire your never ending story. So what area did Tom and Pablo end up looking at the most? “The area the bike stands in. No seriously, even though we spent over 400 hours to complete the build the whole bike is just so beautiful. We particularly like the exhaust, though. We made it to be different but it had to work on so many levels: performance, looks, ground clearance, tone, everything.”

The Specs

Engine:

  • Hand-built exhaust header pipes with GP exhaust muffler
  • New air intake system
  • Bespoke oil cooler
  • Reprogrammed ECU
  • Quick action throttle assembly

Bodywork:

  • Reworked frame and subframe
  • DA aluminium fuel tank with built-in air intakes
  • Formed aluminium tail piece
  • Hand-stitched seat
  • CNC-machined alternator cover
  • 100g sterling silver K1X logos on fuel tank
  • 0.17 carat diamond in upper fork clamp

Chassis:

  • Wilbers Blackline forks and Blackline rear shock
  • Re-laced wheel rims with reinforced spokes
  • Metzeler Racetec racing tyres
  • ABM Multiclip clip-on handlebars
  • ABM radial brake and clutch cylinders
  • ABM steel-braided hoses
  • AC Schnitzer rearset footpegs and controls

Electronics:

  • Motogadget Motoscope speedometer and keyless start
  • Linergy battery pack

-Photography by Lukas Magerl.