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Wednesday, 8 October 2014

2014 World Champion

A winning tradition

Freddie ‘Krugger’ Bertrand has been a regular competitor over the years at the World Championship of Custom Bike Building, and now, following his win at the 2014 Championship, he joins an exclusive club of bike builders who have taken top honors more than once. The only other World Championship competitor to achieve this feat is Roger Goldammer

FREDDIE ‘Krugger’ Bertrand typically builds customs based around a V-twin drivertrain, and indeed his 2010 World Championship of Custom Bike Building entry began life as a V-Rod. However, Krugger is not afraid to take on a challenge, as witnessed by his 2013 Championship entry – a Honda CB 450 with a reversed cylinder head.
For his entry into the 2014 Championship, Krugger took on a drivetrain never seen before in the event’s history. Following a meeting with BMW Motorrad he began to look at options, using a motor supplied by the company and then, when he was approached by a customer looking for a radical ground-up build, a K1600 straight-six engine was decided upon. 


While an American V-twin motor is a relatively simple affair, even when fitted with electronic fuel injection, the K1600 is an altogether different beast. Among the electronics fitted to the bike, which was originally designed as a heavy-weight touring machine, are electronic fuel injection, three different engine drive settings, ABS anti-wheelie control and tunable suspension, and all of this had to be retained within Krugger’s custom build. Due to the complexity of the electronic controls the drivetrain was left basically stock and a new, one-off tubular steel frame was built to carry it. The single-sided shaft drive design on the swingarm of the original bike was retained, but reworked by Freddie in steel to match the rest of the frame.
It is a similar story at the front of the bike where a duo lever suspension system is used as per the original BMW. However, in this Krugger designed version only the stock shock is retained.
One of the few changes to the drivetrain of the K1600 has been the relocation of the engine’s radiator. Normally found in front of the engine, it has been moved to the side of the bike to give cleaner lines and a clearer view of the six headers pipes for the exhaust. 
Because Krugger rebuilt the suspension to his own design, he was also able to incorporate larger wheels. A set of blanks were machined to a one-off design with the front 21in wheel wearing a 120 x 21 Avon tire, and the rear 20in rim has a 200-section Avon. The change of wheels also heralded a change of brakes with the OEM discs and calipers replaced by Beringer units, a six-piston caliper at the front and a four-piston at the rear, which have been adapted to work with the bike’s onboard electronics that control the ABS function. 

Sitting atop the frame is the integrated bodywork, the inspiration of which came from another BMW. In this case a ’30s Art Deco styled R7. All hand-formed in steel, the panels on Nurb’s have been designed to carry all of the stock switches, while the gas tank has been hidden below the seat and is filled via a hidden cap in the seat hump.
The styling of the bodywork is also reflected in the bike’s name, which is derived from a mathematical term meaning ‘Non-Uniform Rational B-spline,’ a concept first developed in the ‘50s when engineers were trying to replicate freeform surfaces in car and ship design.
However, as complex as the name may be, it was the complexity of the build and Krugger’s ability to incorporate all of the stock electronics in a package that is purely custom, that led to his fellow competitors in the 2014 World Championship of Custom Bike Building voting him and Nurb’s a clear winner in the Freestyle class.

Basse-Bodeux, BELGIUM
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