ORANGE IS THE NEW BRAAP: 1978 KTM GS250 by Sam Customs

By Scott

Written by Martin Hodgson

On the edge of a crystal clear lake, with its stunning historic buildings and sweeping views of the Alps, Thun, Switzerland is a popular place to visit. “Scooter bikes can be rented for the trip back down to the valley if you’re feeling adventurous,” enthuses the local tourism website. Boring! Instead, be like Sam Luginbühl and bring the hills alive with the sound of a rip snorting two-stroke! The proprietor of his own all-round metal fabrication and Hot Rod business, Sam Customs, he’s spent the past five years in his downtime piecing together this killer KTM GS250 with looks that are as good as it goes.

With the mountains rising around him in every direction, it’s no surprise to learn the 31 year old spends a good amount of his time outside riding all kinds of two wheels; from BMX, mountain bikes to motocross. But as a metal worker since he left school, when he’s inside he can usually be found in his small workshop creating superbly crafted parts and full-blown custom cars and bikes for his customers. Bought five years ago the 1978 model KTM has had to wait its turn with other award-winning bikes and the stunning ’55 Chev shop truck ahead in the production line.

The time, however, has enabled Sam to collect the right bits and pieces and hone in on the exact look he was going for. “The idea was to build a bike that is looking cool, classic old school but combined with the style and the thinner lines from a modern MX bike,” Sam explains. To get that narrow look the frame needed to undergo some extensive modifications, with the supports around the backbone sectioned and re-welded. While the typically messy factory subframe has been given a complete overhaul with cleaner looks and a linear up curve.

Now Sam could focus on doing what he does best, metalwork, and the entire body is hand fabricated from sheets of aluminium. Keeping the VMX look the boxy lines are offset by beautifully curved transitions with the welds nowhere to be seen. The top of the tank features neat bead work to break up the single panel, while a filler cap has been flawlessly integrated. Moving rearward the tailpiece is shaped to complement both the new tank and the lines of the frame. Beneath a hand-rolled guard catches any mud coming off the tyre without disturbing the looks.

The three number boards, one for the front and the two side pieces with integrated mounting tabs are all hand made and designed in the classic shape. But throughout the build Sam still wasn’t sure what he’d do for the colour palette and how he’d get the match between old and new, just right. That was until he met “Chiko the great pinstriper from Germany, Chikos pinstriping”. Between the pair, they came up with the perfect mix, a muted version of KTM’s orange with blue and black graphics and plenty of exposed polished alloy to … Plus d’infos

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