A BOXER RACER LIKE NOTHING BEFORE: <b>THE DNA BILLET STING BIKE BUILD</b>

A BOXER RACER LIKE NOTHING BEFORE: THE DNA BILLET STING BIKE BUILD

Custom motorcycles come in many makes, shapes and forms, and so do their builders; appreciating all and excluding none. Every now and then, someone comes up with an idea that raises a few eyebrows that asks the question: “Surely you’re not going to do all of that by yourself?”
03-27-2019
Urban

Article

MARIOS NIKOLAIDIS
THE MAN BEHIND THE PROJECT

It was at The Bike Shed event, at the beautiful Tobacco Docks back in 2018, where we met Marios Nikolaidis, an R&D Engineer and son of the founder of the Greek company “DNA Filters.” A company with a technical background, but with a love for the custom motorcycle scene. A love that even drove them to build their own custom bike. Without seeing their creation, we already felt as though we had quite a few parallels between us…

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Marios

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The DNA DCR-017

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THE FIRST BID – THE DNA DCR-017

At that very show, Marios brought his first bid into the custom motorcycle scene: the DNA DCR-017. A bike based on a similar platform as our 2-wheel drive KTM - albeit the sportier RC8 - which they transformed into a café-racer with a technical twist. As a manufacturer of high-performance air filters, DNA has access to various sorts of industrial equipment, such as a CNC machine.

Rather than following a more artisanal route - known best inside the custom motorcycle scene - they stuck to what they know best, and they let their mechanical skills work in their favor in order to achieve the desired design. That result was a truly outstanding bike sporting aviation-grade alloys machined to perfection while serving as a showcase for the heart of their business: the air filter. Taking a few laps around on the bike certainly got people’s attention, but there was more…

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HOW ABOUT A NASTY FAST BOXER?

On the next day of the event, Marios paid us a visit where we quickly ended up talking bikes and business. With a clear like-mindedness, Marios started to explain about moving forward on momentum, already looking to build the next bike. When asked about the project he smiled, not trying to give too much away. “How about a nasty fast boxer?!”

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Dad

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HISTORY MEETS TODAY

Though the words were never specifically exchanged, we mutually established that, at the time being, the details of Marios’s next undertaking wouldn’t be for public consumption. A gentlemen’s agreement, of sorts! “I love the BMW engine,” he mentioned, “but looking at the custom builds based on the R nineT, I feel somewhat limited when using it as a launch point.” He added, “So, basically I want to start with a boxer engine and make the rest myself.”

When asked about his plans, the outline became clearer and clearer; unveiling a bit of family and company history as he went on. “Back in the 1980s, my father, Dino, designed a very special monocoque framed 80cc racing bike. The displacement might not seem like much these days, but especially back then in Greece, this was a popular and competitive class. The bike was raced successfully for three consecutive years, finishing each race on the podium. As a kid, I heard many stories and I have seen the bike many times. So, I wanted the bike to look like it, but with a modern twist.”

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HEXAGONS FOR THE WIN

Fast forward to a few months after the event, Marios contacted us. “After we met, I looked at your racing suits, and the Pulsar one-piece gave me the last push to go ahead with the design that I had in mind.” He concluded with, “Check out the sketches I sent to you.” In attachment were a number of renders of a monocoque bike.

It clearly referred to the hexagonal shape that’s visible on the embossed leather of our racing suit collection, starting with the blacked-out Pulsar suit. Our outcry of, “Surely you’re not going to build that yourself?” was followed by yet another attachment. This time, a picture. As it turned out, what would be called The Billet Sting, was nearing completion…

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DNA Bullit Sting - Detail 1
DNA Bullit Sting - Detail 2
DNA Bullit Sting - Detail 3
DNA Bullit Sting - Detail 4
DNA Bullit Sting - Detail 5

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BUILD IT, JUST BUILD IT

With a primary focus on R&D, Marios is responsible for multiple disciplines inside the DNA factory. It’s safe to say he’s a busy man, and projects like these don’t build themselves, especially when you start from nothing more than an engine.

Despite taking a different route toward the end goal of building a unique motorcycle, one thing is definitely similar to the more traditional way of building bikes: too much work and too little time. So, why put in all the extra hours aside from your normal day job? “Build it, just build it,” is Marios’s answer that makes it sound simple.

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THE BILLET STING IN FIGURES

So, what did the guys at DNA actually build? Starting with the BMW boxer engine that normally finds itself as the heart of the R nineT, the rest of the bike is a rich mix of homemade materials, and well-curated components. The DNA monocoque frame and subframe is CNC machined out of a single piece of aviation-grade aluminum, and literally forms the backbone of The Billet Sting. The suspension is a custom setup made for the DCR-018 (another name for The Billet Sting) by Hyperpro, who we know quite well thanks to our own custom build with Wrenchmonkees: the REVmonkee.

Another one-off piece that catches one’s eyes is the MotoGP-like Akrapovic exhaust, as are the in-house developed DNA filters specially made for this bike. More custom-made CNC work for various components are topped off by a set of Kineo wire wheels, stylishly balancing out the high-tech appearance. Combining a little extra grunt with a significant weight reduction - with a dry weight of 183 kilograms - it’s hard to categorize The Billet Sting. We’ll stick to Marios’s words: “How about a nasty fast boxer?”

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DNA Bullit Sting - Detail 6
DNA Bullit Sting - Detail 7
DNA Bullit Sting - Detail 8
DNA Bullit Sting - Detail 9

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ICING ON THE CAKE

A self-proclaimed builder normally running an international company, taking inspiration from one of our suits; we couldn’t resist but contribute to the project. Because when you build a “nasty fast boxer,” you want to be protected when riding it. .

As icing on the cake of an extensive project for the guys at DNA, we made sure two worlds collided, and we kitted out Marios in the very suit he felt best matching for the bike: our Pulsar one-piece suit.

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