1982 BMW R100 Scrambler


Who are you and what do you do for a living?

My name is AJ Pushkarna, and I work as a Systems Engineer for a technology-heavy startup company in San Francisco. Working on motorcycles, wrenching and working on projects is my hobby, which I do take seriously :)

Tell us about your first love for motorcycles.. right back when you were young. What inspired you?

Ever since a little boy, I was fascinated and drawn towards motorcycles. All these years I can't really put my finger on what exactly appealed to me at that age. Perhaps there are several reasons. The speed factor, the freedom and ease of being able to go further distances. The reason that I could see my elder brother being able to ride a motorcycle and not me. The reason that I wanted to be a grown up (just like every kid I used to know at the time). The cool factor, the ability to take control of your life in your own hands (with the risks involved)? .. Surely the pop culture played its part. And most certainly it was my fascination towards pretty things.


My father used to take me riding on his scooter. I suppose that played its part towards my fascination towards two-wheeled vehicles. Even though I loved that Old Vespa scooter, I swear I used to get bamboozled in an awe each time I would see elder dudes riding next to me, on the back seat of that scooter. I miss that innocence. I am sure those guys could see a passionate motorcyclist in me each time they observed my excitement.

I believe sometimes just simple things in life can give you great joy. Motorcycles to me are perhaps the simplest form of vehicle.

What was your first bike?

It was a mid-'90s Honda CB150.

How many bikes & cars have you had?

My Custom 1982 BMW R100 Scrambler, 2006 Ducati Sport Classic, 2016 Ducati Hypermotard SP, Royal Enfield Bullet 350.

What are we looking at here?

The build started its journey from a stock 1982 BMW R100. I had bought it from Craigslist and intended to customize it over a period of time. I particularly rode the bike for about 6-7 months before tearing it apart and start executing my plan.

How long did the build take?

Since working on motorcycles is not my full-time job, and being my first build ever as well, it took me approximately 1.5 years to finish the build.

Who was involved with the build of this bike and what did they do?

I built this motorcycle at a local community garage here in San Francisco, called Piston & Chain in San Francisco. Although the whole design and execution were my own, I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by all the helpful technicians from Piston & Chain, including my own friends and family. Building your first ever motorcycle is a tedious task.

Would like to thank Bob Austin from M&B Plumbing in Milpitas, for doing the exhaust on the bike and some other misc fab work. Hugo Eccles from Untitled Motorcycles for a little creative boost. Ginger McCabe from New Church Moto for upholstering the seat. John Panipinto from CraftUnion Engineering for some fab work as well as expertise in engine rebuild. Cassandra Grove, my girlfriend for emotional support throughout the build. Dave at Superior Boxerworks for some electrical troubleshooting. Brett Bye and Leif Gilbertson, Lead techs at Piston & Chain for general guidance when I could not figure things out by myself.

What was the design concept and what influenced the build?

I wanted to adapt to a scrambler platform, to be able to have the bike be able to touch all the grounds. While evaluating the platform for the first 6 months of riding, I didn’t particularly like the front end assembly of the stock platform. This included the overall braking capabilities. So my first approach was to upgrade the front of the bike, take it from there, and sketched my way around the initial design. I ended up using front end from a 2010 Triumph Speed Triple. In order to maximize the classic look of the bike, I ended up using a 1967 BMW /2 teardrop gas tank, which had to customized to be able to fit the front frame of the bike. Scrambler = high pipes in my mind, so I ended up sketching all the specs are needed to execute that. Was fortunate enough to find a local guy over craigslist who was willing to help me with that. It's only after getting to know him, I found out that he works as a plumber and obviously does a lot of pipework. I showed him what I had in mind, and being a fellow petrolhead he took the responsibility of helping me out with the design.

What custom work was done to the bike?

A lot of other major modifications came out to be custom subframe, custom seat to compliment that glorious gas tank. The original bike came with snowflake wheels, but I wanted to use spoke wheels. The main problem with that was, Triumph Speed Triple does not come with spoked wheels. I ended up getting a custom front wheel hub made that would match the dimensions of a Speed triple wheel, and use appropriate rims to improve the overall stance of the build. This also needed a fair amount of thought in using structural components. The engine was rebuilt from the ground up, including porting and polishing the engine heads (based on all the research I could do on the subject). Safe to say it reflects in performance. I also ended up using asymmetrical camshaft to soup up the overall delivery from the engine. The whole wiring loom was revamped by using trusted Motogadget components. I also ended up making a custom headlight that also takes a Motogadget tiny speedo. The headlight bucket came from an old BSA headlight, and components were picked to keep everything minimal with integrated turn signals. It makes the build completely road legal. Here is the list of other components:

- Custom battery box

- Custom shocks to match the required lengths.

- Tarozzi footpegs and linkages.

- Rear hub from a BMW R90

- Custom box for electrics under the seat, and custom license plate holder.

- Oil pan that integrates a thick skid plate and also improves unto ground clearance. Gives about 1 more inch.

- Billet switch controls on a Renthal fat bar.

- Custom headlight brackets.

Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?

I think I am mostly proud of being able to achieve almost everything I wanted to capture in this build. Not just the design, but also whole engine rebuild and performance tuning aspect, considering it was my first build ever.

Photography by Frank Schott

Follow AJ: @ajpushkarna.