1979 BMW R100S by Deus ex Machina’s Woolie

1979 BMW R100S by Deus ex Machina
Handbuilt by Michael “Woolie” Woolaway

While the 1970s saw 4-cylinder bikes by the ship load from Japan, BMW continued on with their development of the flat twin “boxer” engine they were all too well-known for after so many years. Increases in capacity were inevitable, from 500 through the ultimate incarnation, the 1977 980cc. With it, came some internal upgrades to perpetuate the reputation of reliability along with the not-inconsiderable pace achievable.

Enter Woolie.

Michael Woolaway is a mechanical artisan and legendary custom bike builder, who is kept in the dark recesses of the skunk works behind famed Deus ex Machina lifestyle store in Venice Beach, California. The key to Woolie’s builds is the beautifully coordinated designs, manufactured with an unsurpassed attention to detail. His creativity in the interpretation of the minutest of parts harmonizes perfectly with the quality of his fabrication for a fluid reimagination of a motorcycle. 

Complexus ex Simplex

Woolie’s reconfiguring of the BMW R100S to a combination of naked café racer and desert sled specification on offer here is a perfect example of his classic re-styling. The 8th motorcycle to roll out of Woolie’s Workshop, he says the inspiration for this bike was “to build something that didn’t look very much like a BMW. I tried to change the look of it and to style it around something that was a bit older than the bike was.”

Woolie goes on to describe the build: “It’s got a big tank and you’re all stretched out, so you really feel like you’re tucked in behind it.”

The frame has been deconstructed—Woolie removed all the superfluous brackets, removing the sub-frame to be replaced by a hand built chromoly item.

Fabricating artisan, Evan Wilcox was employed. His medium: aluminium. The quality of Wilcox’s work and reputation are second to none as can be seen in the construction of a new gas tank and seat unit. It is enhanced with water-resistant leather and custom stitching from motorcycle racing leathers manufacturer, Kushitani.

Handmade components abound. Foot controls, rear sets, front and rear shorty fenders, with their exotic brackets, headlight mounts, etc. etc.

Woolie says, “Our friend Pierre Vallaincourt at Works Performance engineered the rear suspension. The Öhlins forks were shortened and re-valved by Ed Sorbo at Lindemann Engineering.

The handlebars, bar mounts, turn signals, and mirrors come courtesy of all of our partners at Rizoma.”

At the heart of all this exquisitely designed architecture, resides a fully rebuilt 980cc R100S engine and gearbox. The air/gas mixture is through a pair of Mikuni carbs with K&N air filters, while exhaust gases depart through a fully custom-made system, tucked neatly under, and peeking out from under the seat. Smooth and powerful the bike is a delight to ride, with its more aggressive, though not excessively so, riding position, attested by the 3,000 miles since the rebuild.

“It’s a fun bike,” Woolie declares. “It’s a bit faster than I actually expected. It’s definitely a one off. There’s only ever going to be one of these.”

Complexus ex Simplex, (complexity from simplicity) has been requested for and featured in documentary films, handbuilt motorcycle shows, books, and museums, and lauded as one of a small handful of the most iconic cafe racers of the decade.

Featured Appearances

Publicity, Shows, Films, Books:

Featured in the documentary The Greasy Hands Preachers, produced by Orlando Bloom
See the film here: http://www.the-greasy-hands-preachers.com


Woolie was interviewed in the film about building the bike and others. Opening credits roll with a close-up of the bike flying down PCH in Malibu, as well as more footage later in the film.  


  • Vintage headlight glass and bucket
    Evan Wilcox Custom Handmade Aluminum Tank, Seat & Cowl with Kushitani water resistant leather
  • Ohlins forks
  • Durelle Racing Adjustable inverted Triple Clamps black
  • Mikuni Carb and K&N Filters
  • Works Custom Handmade Shocks
  • Brembo 310mm Rotor
  • Rizoma handlebars and risers
  • Excel Rims & Buchanans Spokes
  • Motogadget Speedo / Tach Chronoclassic – black face w/ black anodized bezel
  • Custom made rear sets
  • Front Hub – A&A Racing
  • Front Brake Master Cylinder – Beringer and Rizoma
  • Front Axel A&A Racing
  • ASV Hand Controls
  • Shorai Battery & Charger
  • Front Brake Caliper Beringer 6 piston Supermoto
  • SS Exhaust System

Rolling art, they certainly are, but functioning art. Woolie’s specials are fast, and handle well. They are a perfect joy to ride as much as it is a pleasure to simply stare at.

Asking $32,900

Complexus ex Simplex, by Deus Customs
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