Game-changing is not a label that should be applied easily and frequently. But in the case of Fred Krugger and his latest custom creation, game-changing is exactly the best way to describe the finished result. Blending a six-cylinder engine from the sublime BMW K 1600 GT luxury tourer with his own chassis design, the finished result is NURB’s; a motorcycle built with artistic tones, a whole heap of ingenuity and skill, and the ability to be ridden. Put such flair and attributes together and we most definitely have a custom game-changer.When 44-year-old Krugger – family name Fred Bertrand – began working on project NURB’s, it was back in 2013. The first time NURB’s really came to light was at BMW Motorrad Days in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, where he displayed his freshly fabricated and bare tubular frame to contain the 1649cc, straight-six engine. At the time, Krugger planned to have NURB’s completed by the end of the year. Ensuing problems with a broken leg saw his working schedule fly out of the window. A shade less than one year later and NURB’s was complete. The reveal event, 25 September, at the BMW Motorrad Custom Party in Paris, totally blew away the waiting journalists, fellow custom builders and the customer who will take delivery of the bike. When that time comes, Krugger will have fine-tuned the standard K 1600 suspension and put approximately 3,000 hours of sweat, head scratching and passion for detail into the building of NURB’s. Of those many hours, quite a few were spent on details such as providing mounting points for the bodywork and the repositioning of the K 1600’s electronic arsenal. Being such a technologically advanced machine, there are individual computerised systems for various departments (fuel injection/timing, ABS, suspension etc) and all needed re-housing.Details abound on NURB’s. From the board-racing drop-style handlebars to the headlight and old-school tail light that are sunken within the bodywork. Let’s not forget the push button switches and ignition switch placed on the bodywork to be unnoticeable at first look but gloriously obvious when finally seen. When asked what part of the bike gives him the most joy, Krugger frowns and goes silent from much thought – understandable, given the level of work input. Then the man speaks: “The wheels. The wheels with the half cups, they are pretty interesting.” This is an understatement.The wheel rims (21in front, 20in rear) start off as aluminium blanks then are precision machined to the required dimensions, complete with intricate pattern and unique mounting cups. But Krugger went a stage further by adding a raised patterning to the rim to act as air scoops for braking efficiency. The scoops are made up of individual specialised one-off carbon-Kevlar parts and are glued to thin sheet aluminium for strength and Torx-bolted to the rims. These scoops feature an elongated oval pattern that mirrors the entry and exit holes along the length of the aluminium middle line. This pattern is acknowledgement to the Art Deco era that Krugger has a fascination for.The aluminium sections along each side that forms the ‘middle line’ of NURB’s have two functions. The physical side is that they provide entry and exit ducts for air to pass over side-mounted coolant radiators. The second function is form, a flowing attribute that pays homage to the unique BMW R 7 prototype of 1934 – a bike that upholds Art Deco features of flowing curves and lines in a continual form, including steel tear-drop-style middle panels. But where the NURB’s middle line sections are formed from aluminium to achieve the required shape/line, the main bodywork panels are not aluminium but sheet steel.At 0.8 mm thick, the sheet steel panels are not necessarily easier to panel beat into shape than aluminium but, as Krugger explains, it is easy to weld where required and retains its strong metallic state. Sheet aluminium is more prone to stress from road vibration and would have required a much thicker sheet to deal with these. Time spent removing any imperfections in the steel is obvious – covered in one glorious colour, the level of finish has to be good or it would show in the mirror-quality paint. “I like the very easy and understandable design of the bike,” says Krugger. “It is based on 1930s fashion of smooth lines. These lines are not confusing. I chose a basic colour for the same reason; if you have a nice bike you don’t need crazy paint. Black, grey, white… simple singular colours better highlight the shape of the bike.”There are areas of NURB’s that have not undergone magical transformation at the hands of Fred Krugger. The standard K 1600 GT suspension units front and rear are quality items and have been retained, including an Electronic Suspension Adjustment system. However, the front Duolever fork system has been replaced with a single-arm constructed from the same Chromoly tubular steel with CNC-machined components for front wheel attachment. The view of NURB’s from the right hand side is that of clear space – full view of the wheels and a seemingly indirect connection to the main chassis. Classy. Exceptionally classy. A Chromoly tube framework is the supporting carriage for the stock K 16 Cardan shaft drive.As a singular-sided front arm, only one disc is in place. The Krugger-made 360 mm stainless steel brake disc mates perfectly to the stopping power provided by a Beringer six-piston radial caliper. Beringer hydraulic controls are used front and rear as well as clutch operation.Keeping faithful to Krugger’s vision of a slim, curvaceous, unique and show-stopping creation – as with all top-flight custom builders – caused another problem in the same vein as the electronics: where to place the fuel tank. The clue to where it lives is the positioning of the fuel filler cap. Out of sight, underneath the QD single seat hump, lives the filler to a small tank that links to a main tank located under the rider’s seat. This must have been a fabrication headache in itself and shows exactly the amount of excessive thinking and detailing needed to pull off such a damn fine build like NURB’s.The finished result is as you see it: a glorious, perfect example of ingenuity and self-expression… and definitely a show stopper. A point indeed proven when, less than a week after the reveal event, Krugger and NURB’s took centre stage of the 2014 AMD World Championship of Custom Bike Building, held at INTERMOT expo in Cologne, Germany. In front of thousands of show visitors, Krugger lifted the coveted World Championship Freestyle trophy. This was Krugger’s second Championship win, and only the second person to win more than once. An accolade that most definitely underlines the fact Krugger and NURB’s are indeed game changers.Lastly, what does NURB’s stand for? Originally, the build was known as Project Nurb, with the name Nurb paying tribute to the original demonic Nürburgring racetrack. But over time Krugger reinvented the name to NURB’s, an official acronym for Non-Uniform Rational Basis-splines – the given term to a mathematical method in computer software used to generate and draw 2 and 3-dimensional curves. And the reason for the change? It’s a joke. Believe it or not, Fred Krugger may well be a champion at freestyle customising but, by his own admission, he is really bad at drawing!Images courtesy of: Thierry Dricot
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