published at 11.02.2015, 11:14
Heritage

Beware the Hornet

The clear, still mountain air of the Australian eucalypt forest is broken by a musical cacophony of The Hornet as it blasts along the sweeping tree-lined ribbon of bitumen. Behind the ‘bars of this magnificent K 100 is its creator, Paul Hutchison. Displaying all the skill and precision that one would expect of a former Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18 pilot, Paul guides The Hornet effortlessly through the scenic and technical route.

The Hornet may have started out life in 1983 as a standard K 100 RS but it is now a very unique machine. It sounds, looks and handles in a totally different manner but at its heart is the distinctive four-cylinder ‘brick’.

When the K 100 was launched it was BMW Motorrad’s most radical make-over ever. With its unique four-cylinder motor and revolutionary Compact Drive the new K Series drew universal acclaim.

The K would grow from the original 1000cc to 1100cc and finally 1200cc. When it was finally phased out on the K 1200 LT luxury tourer the distinctive BMW powerplant had proved without doubt to be a reliable, powerful and long-lasting unit.

The Hornet (named after the RAAF front-line aircraft) is the end result of two major projects. The first unfortunately came to an end in Tasmania. Travelling with a mate, who was behind the ‘bars at the time, the ensuing crash meant that the bike was an insurance write-off, with Paul getting the bent and battered carcass, and resuming the process again.

The basics of the pared-back ‘Brick’ were retained but the front end was replaced by the upside-down unit from an R1 Yamaha and the Paralever from a later model K 1100 took care of the rear end. This gave a superior choice of modern rubber and vastly superior handling and braking. The Yamaha contribution was continued with the stylish headlight from an MT-03 giving an aggressive face to the beast.

“The Hornet is fantastic to ride and feels like a modern sports bike. It is planted on the road and the braking is now up there with my BMW K 1200 R,” said Paul. “The project has taken twelve months but I am very happy with it. Painted in the stunning orange, (a homage to the classic R 90 S) it stands out and always attracts attention. At the Continental Classic Day held at Mid-Life Cycles in Richmond (a thriving inner city suburb of Melbourne) camera-wielding admirers always surrounded The Hornet,” said Paul.

The unique qualities of The Hornet were also recognised by the prestigious Oil Stained Bike Show. Customised motorcycles that display creativity, design and build excellence are invited to this important event. The Hornet was a standout among a beautiful collection of beautifully crafted motorcycles.

The K 100 RS has been transformed into a visually stunning motorcycle. Not only a showpiece, Paul Hutchinson has created a motorcycle that he really enjoys riding. The Hornet is a masterpiece of customising. He has taken the K back to its vital elements with an attention to detail that is stunning.