BMW Motorrad anticipated they would have cause to celebrate at the end of the year. No, this had nothing to do with New Year’s eve, but when the books closed the last day of 2019, the Dutch outlet could confirm their #1 position as market leader for the 10th consecutive year.
This feat is unique in the world. No other BMW company across the globe has managed to do this in the 100-year history of BMW Motorrad.
This calls for a celebration
Tom Crooijmans , head of BMW Motorrad Group The Netherlands, proudly acknowledges it is “thanks to his strong dealership network and the immense popularity of the R 1250GS model, we have succeeded to secure pole position for ten consecutive years.”
Still, no matter how iconic the brand or how varied the range of bikes on offer, it will always boil down to creating a loyal league of followers, hard work and creating a positive experience every time a rider climbs on board a BMW. And that’s exactly what these Bavarian machines accomplish.
When interviewing Tom to get his perspective on the project he acknowledges that “commissioning such a special build required proper advance planning. This meant decisions had to be made halfway through 2019, not knowing for sure if we were going to safeguard our position as market leader. However, our start in the first two months and the strong results in Q4 boosted our conviction we would not have to resort to Plan B.” he laughs.
Hard work, creating masterpieces and out of the box marketing campaigns is exactly what has led project partner TW Steel to become a successful player in the ‘cut-throat’ world of time pieces.
Auke Possel, senior marketing manager at TW Steel explains: “eight custom builds ago we decided to create the ‘Son of Time’ story. It brings together the worlds of horology and motorcycles to shake up the establishment with maximum impact. Colliding in craftsmanship and style, the two work side by side to create unique custom motorcycles and matching custom timepieces.
The custom bikes are built by artisans who share our passion for unflinching design aesthetics and big time attitude. Each bike has the Son of Time DNA running through it and a bold timepiece inspired by the original Son of Time design.
I get many calls from custom builders who want to produce the next TW Steel project. Invariably they will bring a lot of craftsmanship and creative ideas. However, what we are looking for is a strong story. All of our campaigns have been built around a storyline.”
Birth of a project
Auke and Tom already knew each other from an earlier TW Steel build which was prominently featured at the BMW stand during a 2019 motor show.
When they started discussing a possible cooperation during the Summer of 2019, not a lot of debate was required to agree on shape of the collaboration nor was it hard to agree they wanted to commission Arjan van der Boom to build the bike.
The BMW celebration was a great opportunity to show the strength of all three Dutch based companies and Arjan was given ‘carte blanche’ to go crazy.
And he did..
As a large part of BMW Motorrad’s success was due to the popularity to the popularity of the 1250GS it was clear that this was the platform to be used to the Ironwood quest.
A brand new bike GS was stripped naked and the Ironwood team set sail to undiscovered territories.
Compared to the classic BMW builds Ironwood is known for, the GS is a very complicated bike filled to the brim with modern technology.
“Turning a big all road bike into an aggressive streetfighter was quite the challenge” Arjan admits. “I really wanted to take a completely different approach to this project and all three of us had the same vision on the end result.”
“BMW Motorrad’s domination of the Dutch market inspired us to come up with the name ‘Dominator’. The expression of the bike really and to do justice to its name. I think we managed to achieve this” he says beaming with pride.
“We were sort of surprised not to have both BMW and TW Steel breathing down our necks during the building process. Usually clients stay very involved. This is fine as we want to ensure they are happy with the end result. Contrary to expectations, Tom and Auke expressed a firm belief in our vision after seeing our drawings and patiently waited for the build to take shape.”
Talking about drawing; there are builders who use advanced technology to design a bike on their computer screens. At Ironwood, much of the work is still pure craftsmanship. Working from sketches followed by shaping and bending steel into pure works of art. A major task for Ironwood’s main man Chiel and Iron Master Marcel van der Stelt of The Custom Factory.
Turning a 1250GS into a low profiled racer requires extreme measures. Switching to clip-ons instead of handlebars meant producing a custom CNC milled top yoke.
On paper Arjan had designed a gas tank with a transparent lower half. However, the bulky fuel pump was prohibitive of carrying out this scheme. They had to resort to a ‘regular’ tank, but its perplexing design makes it hard to typify this element as regular.
A lot of other challenges were conquered on the fly. Matching all jig saw pieces to become this magnificent ‘epreuve d’artiste’ was no mean feat. Even more so with the added time pressure of getting the bike ready in time for a launch at the biggest Dutch bike show early 2020.
Born to dominate
With its strict lines and intriguing square design the ‘Dominator’ will surely not be everybody’s favourite. “All three parties involved wanted to create something that people talk about, or maybe even have a discussion on” Arjan explains. “I wanted Ironwood Motorcycles to step our of our (relatively speaking) comfort zone and build something exceptional.”
The bike will be on display at a variety of international events throughout the year. The final TW Steel design will be launched soon, as BMW brand regulations were slightly stricter than anticipated by the watchmakers designers and required some modifications to meet Bavarian standards.
The 1250GS’ clock is ticking away the hours cheerfully and the alarm is set for a roaring riding debut at the ‘Sultans of Sprint’ during the Glemseck 101 event in September.
• Frame re-coated from white into anthracite
• Custom bodywork
• Custom gas tank
• Custom seat upholstery by Silvermachine, same on dash and grips
• Custom rear sub frame
• Custom segmented stainless-steel exhaust pipes (no muffler)
• Custom segmented stainless-steel inlet pipes
• Integrated TW Steel watch in bike middle console
• Custom rear set brackets
• Custom CNC milled top yoke/clamp
• Clip-ons instead of a handlebar
• Custom shock absorbers front and rear by TFX suspension
• Custom made carbon front fork by CeraCarbon
• HC3 brake pump & clutch pump by Magura
• BMW RnineT rear sets
• BMW RnineT air filters with custom engraving by DNA
• BMW Option 719 CNC milled aluminum valve and engine covers
• BMW R1250R Brembo brake calipers with additional orange linings
• BMW front led from S1000XR
• BMW S1000rr rear light 2018
• Relocated ignition lock and TFT screen
• Racetec RR Rain tires by Metzeler in 120/70R17 front and 190/60R17 rear
• Forged 17-inch carbon wheels by Rotobox, model Bullet. R1250RS specs onto the GS
Shout out to:
Team Ironwood: Sam, Chiel, Tim, Rik, Paul, Eric.
Bodywork by Marcel van der Stelt (The Custom Factory)
Paintjob by Jacco Reniers (Royal Kustom Works)
Upholstery by Jeroen Bouwmeester (Silvermachine)
TFX Suspension CeraCarbon
Motoport Almere Menno Jongma
King Custom Coatingz