LITTLE MORE ATTITUDE
No one can deny that K-Speed has become a household name for motorcycle custom shop since each of its unique creation has been hailed among Thai customers and received revved reviews abroad over the years.
Under the leadership of bike builder Mr. Thanadit Sketchawak, better-known as Ek K-Speed, the customized two-wheelers constantly grace many leading magazines and wow foreign media such as ‘BMW Motorrad Magazine’, ‘Bike Shed London’, ‘BIKEEXIF, Pipeburn’, ‘Café Racer Gram’ and ‘Café Racers’. K-Speed customized items are in such a high demand. In a way, these sleeper hits of his just put Thailand on the map of bike lovers.
His breakthrough was the BMW R80 creation showcased at the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride three years ago. It was photographed and posted on the ‘Thailand Motographer’ facebook fanpage by MrNiksit ‘Joe” Wongsawas. That’s when the joy ride had all begun.
From then to present, he has done more than 10 projects with BMW Motorrad. To be the only custom builder from Thailand, handpicked by the German head office to customize BMW R nineT Racer for showcasing in many major exhibitions in Europe, registered his rise to greatness.
lITTLE MORE ATTITUDE
ALL ABOUT BMW
Early this year, Khun Ek was invited by BMW Motorrad Thailand and MF Motorrad to customize BMW R nineT Pure for a display at Luka Moto Café.
“In the first project, BMW Motorrad Thailand and MF Motorrad let me choose any model of R nineT to build so I went with Pure because it’s the plainest one, suitable for customization,” said Khun Ek.
His custom R nineT Pure went viral in the social network and his BMW R80 was well received at the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride. From that point on, many more projects come knocking on his door including this BMW R nineT Racer, which, to him, wasn’t easy at all.
“I was reluctant to do it, because BMW R nineT racer is perfectly made out of the factory. How can you improve a bike that is already perfect? I didn’t want to change a thing,” said Khun Ek.
It’s quite challenging. The pressure piled up even more, in the meantime, when he was handpicked by BMW Motorrad headquarters to be the only representative from Thailand in the European major motorcycle festival in mid 2018.
He took the challenge in style, penciled the sketch and sent the drawing artwork to Germany. His design retains the state-of-the-art originality but amps up the bad-boyish attitude to the look. The project is due in August but it's also due to unveil in Bangkok International Motor Show in March 2018. That means he had only 25 days to finish the first look of this customization. He did it. Although it isn’t quite complete but it was artistic and fulfilling.
IRON RACER MARK 1
Three months to go, Khun Ek reworked his first design from the body to paint and spare parts. All this meticulous process took time.
“I started with the steel part because welding is my thing. I used this to mold the plastic ABS, which would be the only one piece in the world. As for the paint, we used ancient combat plane’s airbrush technique to honor BMW’s history of producing combat boxer. The color and pattern is in old aluminum tone," Khun Ek told about the concept and process of work.
So the cool character was redesigned to become “raw” looking. The shape of the body was adjusted to new degrees. Fairing and fuel tank also received a makeover.
Personally Khun Ek tends to pick the unpopular models like BMW R80 and R100 because they are not pricey and look antique.
“For BMW I started with R80 and R100 and gave them three different kinds of looks – Tracker, Café Racer and Chopper to show that one model can be customized many ways,” said Khun Ek of his early projects with BMW Motorrad.
“The advantages of the boxer engine are its unique look, simple power supply system, and chainless shaft. Quite a clean-cut overall. I didn’t modify the engine but just customize the look,” said Khun Ek.
When asked what part of the customized bike was his favorite, Khun Ek said it'd be the front fairing that was changed to look totally different – more aggressive and strong. Belly pan fairing was also redesigned and the fuel tank was rebuilt with welding. The exhaust pipe was reshaped, joining up to release at the end of the pipe without back fire.
“To make it simple and short, I just wanted to change the character of the BMW R nineT Racer from a gentleman to a cool bad boy who capture the ladies’ heart,” he summed up.
At K-Speed office, Khun Ek’s work is divided into two parts. The first part is to sell modified parts, which generates the main income. The second part is customization, which he loves, although it doesn’t make a lot of money but it’s the source of inspiration. Both are equally important to him.
INTERNATIONAL MEDIA AND K-SPEED
This year, the leading international social media such as BIK EXIF and PIPE BURN with hundreds of thousands of followers, are negotiating with K-Speed to use portraits of its customized bikes on their media as an exclusive coverage. This is quite extraordinary, since a top-notched media like Bike Exif has many bikes dying to be displayed.
“I’ve been following Bike Exif for a long time just like many other fans. It’s like a source of many great customized bikes from all over the world. I also hoped I would have a K-Speed bike up on it someday. That dream became true,” said Khun Ek.
There are other foreign media aside Bike Exif contacting him as well.
“Café Racer Gram and Pipe Burn have sent me messages asking what bike I’m working on. I'd keep them posted but it’s up to them which one they’d be interested in showcasing on their space,” he added.
Bike Exif wondered how he could do up to 25 projects a year while others customize only a couple in the same period of time. K-Speed built bikes come out great and usable. They don’t just sit there and look pretty.
“My team and I are very proud of this current project. The German headquarters assured they wouldn't sell my work. That was a delight as I’ve had no idea they would respect us this much. I know we’re not a world-class builder yet. What an honor. It’s also my luck to receive such an opportunity,” Khun Ek said of his recent masterpiece proudly.
Mr. Thanadit Sketchawak (Ek K-Speed)