This BMW R1150GS Is a Dakar-Style Monster

BMW has been a top contender for the adventure-bike segment. Between Dakar and the “Long Way Round,” the big GS bikes have grown to legendary status within the bike world. Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman cemented the BMW R1150GS specifically as a legend. Their film “Long Way Round” showed the world how rugged these bikes are. No matter how capable they are, stock, overland and adventure motorists can’t leave well enough alone and want to customize. It turns out that the BMW R1150GS is not the easiest bike to customize. 

Toma Customs has cracked the code

ADV Pulse reports that Thomas Jeukens, of Toma Customs, was commissioned to build this stripped-down BMW R1150GS for customer Bernard Cornut. While most agree that the monster BMW GS bikes are great for switching between tarmac and dirt, they are massive bikes making them tough to handle for many riders. Riding off-road raises the chances of dropping the bike by a lot. And the size and weight make picking them back up and getting back on the horse really difficult for smaller riders. 

Toma Customs BMW R1150GS
Toma Customs BMW R1150GS | Olivier Truyman ADV Pulse

ADV Pulse notes that Cornut is an experienced off-roader who wanted a trimmed-down Dakar-style GS. Although he wanted a lighter and more agile off-roader, he didn’t want to eliminate the more modern aspect of the GS; asphalt mile-munching. So what came was the Toma Customs Dakar-rally R1150GS. 

The new slimmed-down look of the BMW R1150GS 

The first thing you may notice about the custom BMW R1150GS is its lack of front fairing. The normal goofy plastics have been shaved down to a no non-sense Dakar-style fairing. The giant stock fuel tank still sits atop the big bike. To be honest, that is not the worst thing to be oversized on an adventure bike. 

Toma Customs BMW R1150GS | Olivier Truyman ADV Pulse
Toma Customs BMW R1150GS | Olivier Truyman ADV Pulse

The bike has a theme of blending the old and the new. The headlight is a clear example of this right from the jump. Jeukens used both a vintage-style round glass headlight and a modern LED lamp. The same theme continues on the dash with an analog round tachometer and speedometer with all the normal warning lights and indicators intact. 

The BMW R1150GS tank and suspension 

Although Cornut asked to leave the giant stock fuel tank for range, Jeukens sent it to a painter for a custom paint job reflecting the Dakar-rally inspiration. The front Telelever shocks were left untouched, but the front end is a bit lighter with the trimmed down front end fairings and fender. 

Toma Customs BMW R1150GS | Olivier Truyman ADV Pulse
Toma Customs BMW R1150GS | Olivier Truyman ADV Pulse

Don’t mess with the boxer

Toma customs didn’t touch the factory air-boxer boxer engine. The stock motor makes 85 hp, according to ADV Pulse, and has been proven as a strong and reliable powerplant for decades. How’s the old saying go? “Don’t fix it if it’s a BMW” well, something like that.

The exhaust was lightly tended to. He wrapped the exhaust in heat tape and added a silencer. The bike is likely a bit peppier now even without touching the engine because Jeukens chopped a decent bit of the subframe, dropping weight. 

Toma is no stranger to BMW building 

Toma has been down this road a few times, and it has yet to disappoint. The custom builders have done a rad R80rt Bobber and a BMW K bike scrambler. It would seem the folks at Toma are not afraid of a challenge. Even with the major structural changes needed to transform the BMW R1150GS, the custom builders dove in a built a truly lean dual-sport that reflects the Dakar Rally’s rawness.