What goes through the mind of a master builder when he’s planning a new design? Romania’s Gabi Nicolae is one of those unique individuals who has taken the initiative to turn a raw talent for custom bike work into a finely honed craft becoming an artisan with rare insight into the whats, the hows and the whys of mechanic work. He’s credited with designing a custom built motorcycle called The Mechanik in the culmination of his other impressive creations featuring high performance four wheelers for off road entertainment through is Taifun Engineering firm. The Mechanik is his debut and it is uniquely in own, but before we dive headlong into its attributes we must take a look at the fascinating history of the genius behind the bike.
A look at the history of Gabi Nicolae
Gabi’s not one to let any grass grow under his feet. At the young age of 14 his interest in motorcycles was firmly established. The native Romanian laid his hands on a Mobra 50 which was the only bike native to his country at the time. This is the pivotal event that kicked off his journey into custom building bikes. The 50 cc two stroke motor gave him something to work with and it was a good place to begin developing his skills. Over time he improved and gained a more intimate knowledge of the intricacies of mechanics and established Taifun engineering, creating high performance four wheelers and then he built the Mechanik which is the object of our interest currently.
His first unique build
Nicholae decided to go with the BMW K 1000 for a few reasons. He was enamored of the shape of the fuel tank and the size of the bike was the second feature that caught his attention. The third deciding factor was the powerful engine because of its great balance and large size. Gabi’s a large guy so these were all items that he considered to be important on a personal level. He freely admits he likes the feel of power when he twists the throttle and it’s his assumption that most other riders feel the same way. A few other considerations that he made included starting with a bike that didn’t follow any specific rule, eg. not a scrambler, cafe racer or a tracker. He wanted to start with a bike that was attractive according to his standards, nice running with good handling and a bike that was in line with modifications that would turn his creative notions into a reality.
Modification of the engine
Gabi modified the engine so it would take on the appearance of the Mobra Hoinar but the handlebar and exhaust would be different. He began with his solid philosophy that form does in fact follow function so this is where he put forth his energies with a concept of how that would all sort out in the long run in the back of his mind. His notion of what this would end up being is precisely what happened. His custom build it comparable to a 2019 1000 cc sport bike with exceptional handling and brakes yet less power.
Nicolae’s engineering and design
Gabi explained that he designed the new custom bike in Autocad and every part was laser cut prior to welding or mounting. We hadn’t yet mentioned that he’s the Team Manager for Team Dakar Romania and he’s had some experience building racing cars. He implemented a few tricks that he learned from this discipline into the design of the Mechanik. He described the customization of the suspension as being a little tricky as he implemented the horizontally mounted KYB shock from the Suzuki GSX-R1000 into the rear suspension which became a feature on the Mechanik that stood out immediately. He took a few of the tricks that he learned in building custom race car suspensions because he has a real feel for what a suspension should look and act like. The fork was not modified but it would need to integrate with a variety of several different parts to achieve proper shimming and oil viscosity and this presented another challenge that he seemed to easily hurdle. With the use of Auto cad, the right kinds of raw material and the modern convenience of CNC, he pulled it off.
A few details that might get overlooked are the fuel cap that was salvaged from a vintage Boeing 707 jet which is a nice detail and with a little machining it was a perfect addition. The headlight is also a unit that has been custom engineered. When you flip it over there is a number plate and the reversible headlight is a unique and novel feature of the custom bike. Finally, Gabi chose Anodizing vs powde rcoating for the aluminum parts because it gave him the aesthetic he was looking to achieve. It didn’t add to the thickness and the edges remain clear and crisp with evidence of machining. All in all, the custom BMW K 100 that Gabi calls the Mechanik is a brilliant example of creativity and innovation and we were intrigued enough to give it a closer look.