If you didn’t already know, I’m personally not a huge fan of motorcycles. It’s actually not that I don’t like bikes, because, aesthetically, I actually like motorcycles a lot, but I just don’t really have any desire to drive one. Not my thing, really. Personally, I’d rather have something on four wheels. However, having said that, I think this custom-designed and made BMW ALPHA Bullet Bike looks flipping sensational.
It’s been designed by Turkish industrial designer Mehmet Doruk Erdem, who’s been designing custom motorcycles for some time now and is quite popular. We can see why his designs are so loved, as they’re all done with fantastic attention to detail and with retro style. His Instagram is filled with great designs that show off his talents. The design of this ALPHA Bullet Bike was done almost two years ago and gained popularity online. Erdem started designing bikes like this after seeing the film “The World’s Fastest Indian”, which featured land-speed record bikes on the Bonneville Salt Flats. And he wanted the design of this bike to resemble a great white shark.
“Great white sharks have always been an inspiration to me,” said Erdem. “So I decided to mimic their anatomy for Alpha’s bodywork. It had to look powerful and beautiful at the same time.”
“If you look at the body of a shark, you can see that it’s clean and perfect. But inside, it’s so complicated. So Alpha’s front end is clean and smooth, while the back is the powerful and ugly side—symbolizing the tail of the great white.”
But without someone to build those designs, that’s where they stop. However, machinist Mark Atkinson of Salt Lake City, Utah decided to work with Erdem to build the impressive bike. When he couldn’t get in touch with Erdam at first, he went ahead and started working on it anyway. He had a wrecked BMW K75 motorcycle but the engine still worked. So he brought the wrecked bike into his workshop, much to the dismay of his boss. However, he asked his boss if he could just work on a chassis for the engine for a few weeks after hours. Fortunately, his boss agreed and after a few weeks the new chassis was coming along so beautifully, the boss would bring customers into the shop to show the ALPHA chassis off.
Atkinson has a methodical approach to developing the chassis from the ground up. “I let the problems surface and then work through them, one at a time. The whole picture is too much. I plan the total as an abstract distant goal but focus on each individual component. As I go, I design parts and pieces.” said Atkinson. “In the end, I have every piece modeled, so I can modify it if I need to. I often redo parts over and over, until they are just right. I let the bike organically find its own way: That took years to understand. Bikes have their own personalities, you just have to let them out.”
After awhile of working on the bike, Atkinson was finally able to get in touch with Erdem, who was apprehensive about connecting at first, as many people contact him with pipedream requests to make his designs that never work out. However, when he saw the pictures of Mark’s work, Erdem knew he was serious and had the skill to pull it off. So they worked together across worlds for the next 16 months to finish the bike.
The aerodynamic nose of the bike is actually made from a combination of basalt and carbon/basalt blend, which, with the help of a friend from Boeing, Atkinson was finally able to get right and looking fantastic. Mark even worked BMW’s famous kidney grilles into the nose, styled after the legendary Mille Miglia-winning BMW 328i. “I think the BMW 328 Mille Miglia is one of the most beautiful cars of all time, and the kidneys on that car stuck in my mind.”
Powering the BMW ALPHA Bullet is a 740cc inline three-cylinder BMW engine from the K75. Mark is a big fan of BMW engines, which is high praise from a man who builds engines from scratch (he actually starts with a solid billet of aluminum and both designs and builds engines from nothing). “This engine is very much like the M10 through to S52 car engines that I have experience with. They use fine thread fasteners and correct length bolts. The parts are machined to exacting tolerances. I’ve been building engines for a long time, and BMWs are by far my favorite. They design like I design.”
The final product is stunning and one of the coolest bikes we’ve ever seen. Even for a car guy who isn’t too big on bikes, I can say I genuinely love this thing.