LM Creations Electric BMW Airhead is at the pinnacle of neo-retro
- LM Creations has revisited the famous air-cooled BMW R-series motorcycles with a neo-retro EV conversion kit.
- Producing 26 hp and 53 lb-ft, the 72V bikes use the stock mechanical gearbox and feature improved handling and braking hardware.
- DIY conversion kits start at $9,113 and will be available for order reservations in the first months of 2023.
The hallmark of a cult classic is often that it excels at nothing. The air-cooled BMW R-series motorcycles exemplified this idea. Manufactured from 1969 to 1995, they were never the fastest, lightest, or best-handling, but they made up for it with character and ease of riding. And for that reason, the class of motorcycles known as the Airhead has gone down in history as the pinnacle of what a standard bike could be.
Come 2022 and Airheads are getting more dated by the hour. For the collector of classic motorcycles with time for ongoing maintenance and money for specialist parts, this is little or no problem. Those who revere the chassis but can’t quite commit to the aging technology now have a modern option.
LM Creations, a Netherlands-based electric conversion company, now offers an electric conversion kit for the R-series spectrum of bikes. Driven by a 72V power supply, the converted bike produces around 26hp and 53 lb-ft of torque with a 50-mile city range. Running up to a maximum of 7500 rpm, the block electric motor and 4.3kWh battery pack are enclosed in an aluminum casing and disguise themselves well as the stock flat-twin engine. Adding to that authentic look are the stock bolt-on heads attached to the electric motor, a key selling point of the LM Creations kit.
Those who buy the complete kit can choose between a 1.8 kW charger or a 3.3 kW charger. The stronger of the two chargers claims a charge rate of 80% charged in one hour, while the weaker charger claims 80% charged in two hours. One of the advantages of the 1.8 kW charger is that it can be mounted unlike the stand-alone 3.3 kW charger.
With a chopped rear frame, updated headlight and wide dirt bike-style handlebars, the styling cues point to a growing class of neo-retro motorcycles. Inverted front forks and a massive front brake rotor accompanied by a Bybre caliper indicate that modern hardware upgrades go beyond electric drivetrain. The heavy rear drum brake and monoshock architecture are sure to remind riders of the bike’s true vintage.
Sharp eyes will notice that there is one clutch lever left. That’s because LM Creations chose to retain a gearbox feel as opposed to the electric fixed-gear drivetrain seen on the Zero and LiveWire bikes. Based on the original 4/5-speed transmission architecture, the shiftable gearbox works like mechanical drive settings and allows for different power and torque curves in each gear. The company says you can start in any gear you like, although freewheeling ability is greatest in lower gears.
All of this comes at a cost, with complete kits starting at $9113 and going all the way up to $9622. Unless you live in the Netherlands and opt for the $1475 installation, the kit is designed for do-it-yourself installation and includes instructions. Individual parts of the kit are also available for purchase.
LM Creations is finalizing the development of the production kits and plans to deliver the first kit by early 2023. The company is also in the process of obtaining an EU R100 EV safety standard certification, which is mandatory for the EV approval. Each kit will be made to order and can be customized to the customer’s wishes. As parts become harder to find and emissions standards change, this conversion could be the (albeit expensive) way to keep your airhead on the road.
That the other old machinery would you like to see getting the EV renovation treatment? Share your opinion in the comments below.
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