Galaxy Custom Mille Miglia X:
Exclusive Designer Interview
When the stars align properly, the results can be transcendental. In the case of the Galaxy Custom Mille Miglia X, the five-person Bulgarian shop took a rather ordinary BMW K 1200 RS, added the inspiration of the BMW 328 Mille Miglia racecar of the late 1930s. The result is an inarguably sensational motorcycle.
Rather than entirely driven from within, the Galaxy Custom Mille Miglia X was built in collaboration with a Muscovite customer. “The typical Galaxy client is someone who is looking for the extraordinary, the seeker of a unique identity,” explains Ivaylo Trendafilov, Head Designer at Galaxy Custom. “We have customers from all over the world—regular customers are people from Germany, France, Spain.”
Trendafilov has been interested in motorcycles since childhood. “When I was a little boy, I got involved in motorcycles,” Trendafilov relates. “I was particularly impressed by the Japanese motorcycles from the early ’80s of the last century. They looked alien against the background of conventional Russian technology—Czech CZ and Java and East German MZ. The first motorcycle I rode was a Jawa 250—one with its own charm of a small retro motorcycle. The passion for motorcycles and cars has built me as a designer and creator of many tuning projects.” Trendafilov’s first custom project was a Suzuki Intruder 1800 build.
With a BMW K 1200 RS as a donor motorcycle and the BMW 328 Mille Miglia driving the aesthetics, Galaxy Custom went to work. “Overall, the BMW K Series does not reap enormous success as it performs,” Trendafilov says. “The motorcycle is balanced with solid technique, but due to its specific engine, it is not as attractive as the R series boxers. We have several projects based on the K 1200 RS in bobber style, and we decided to do something completely different.”
Collaborating with a customer adds a touch of unknown to the process. “The idea of a retro classic look was inspired by BMW racing models from the beginning of the last century—a time of great competitions and discoveries in the field of aerodynamics,” Trendafilov notes. “Initially, we wanted to follow the vision as much as possible using polished aluminum leather belt fasteners, for example. Subsequently, the concept undergoes a change in direction at the request of the client. However, in the end, each project has its own direction of development, and perhaps this is more interesting.”
Most notable is the paint and the forged aluminum bodywork. “We are happy to have an excellent master of working with aluminum and metal sheets,” Trendafilov says proudly. “Everything is handcrafted using classic technology. The inspiration for the paint job came as a consequence of changing the overall concept—two colors, milky blue and cream aero styling, bringing warmth to the project. I think the project has benefited from a change in concept.”
Much attention is expectedly paid to the buckles on the bodywork. “The belts remained part of the original idea,” according to Trendafilov. “At the moment, they only play a decorative role, but initially they had to adhere to the additional engine spoiler.”
Although the Mille Miglia X is undoubtedly striking enough to exist solely as a styling exercise, it is meant to be ridden. As such, there is no shortage of modifications to ensure the Mille Miglia X lives up to its namesake.
“Initially, we redesigned the main frame of the motorcycle,” Trendafilov explains. “In the front, we did the rework to mount a conventional front fork top down. Furthermore, we cut the angle of the front fork to provide more stability. The motorcycle suspension is Öhlins—when replacing the BMW series front fork, you must not compromise. The motorcycle rides very steadily. The position of the body is more of a sport than a touring ride.
“For convenience and great comfort, we have installed contactless ignition and digital control of the electronics, which allows the elimination of most of the cables, Trendafilov continues. “For the Kineo wheel rims, we have traditionally used in our BMW based projects. The controls, as well as the brakes, are Beringer. The custom exhaust has a dense sound—not too loud, but definitely shows the shadow of the beast.”
The cockpit also stimulates the rider. Smiths of Swansea, UK provided the instruments used to display velocity, rev count, and fuel tank level, and they are set in a beautiful custom mounting. “The panel used technology from the production of furniture,” Trendafilov tells us. “This is a natural oak veneer glued to a piece of two-millimeter stainless steel. This eliminates the deformation of the wooden workpiece by temperature and humidity outside.” The rider sits on a leather seat sourced locally from Oldman Custom Leather.
Galaxy Custom was founded in 2011 by Angel Vulkov. Since then, the shop has created over 50 custom builds. “Bulgaria is a small country in Eastern Europe, but there are many small workshops and garages,” Trendafilov says. “There are few professional personalization workshops, but there is a lot of interest in them. For us, this is something new and not conventional.”
In addition to being unconventional, the Galaxy Custom Mille Miglia X is a stunning piece of functional industrial art.
Photography by Deyan Yordanov