Although part-time model and fashion Instagrammer Gianni Cherbassi from Magione near Perugia would rather avoid socks (as per Italian hipster style-guide), he appears to be well into most other items of clothing. Bold patterns, big hats – he can make pretty much anything work. The BMW R80 G/S is also a good fit for Gianni, and a major passion since his uni days.
We were keen to meet up with Gianni in Perugia for a photo shoot with his bike as part of the “Our Brands. Our Stories.” series. He was on for it too, and a plan quickly came together. All we had to do was arrange a day and time. Gianni is quite a laid-back communicator, and contacting him by phone can be tricky (sempre busy). Far better to give him a shout on Instagram and go with the flow. Gilded with a touch of Italian style – Gianni style – the wheels for our shoot were in motion.
The BMW R 80 G/S. Perfection on or off road.
The global unveiling of the BMW R 80 G/S (G/S stands for “Gelände/Straße” – off-road/on-road) in Avignon, France on 1 September 1980 opened a new chapter in motorcycle history. This new breed of touring enduro, with its revolutionary single-sided swing arm at the rear, quickly earned itself a fan club around the world, Italy included.
Although cutting an undeniably Teutonic figure at first glance, the BMW R80 G/S went on to become a style icon in a country that has lavished us with more motorcycle brands than any other. Its boxer engine developed 50 hp, sufficient for extended road tours and short blasts over narrow gravel tracks alike.
That all made it ideal for Gianni Cherbassi and the undulating countryside around Perugia, which he shows off to us on the recce for our shoot. Gianni leads the way on his G/S, leaving us to negotiate a slipstream of envy in our hire car. We cruise past one beauty spot after another, as an idyllic biking route unfolds.
In the end, we settle on a rusty old, typically Italian gas station for the backdrop to our photos; it just seemed a bit more rock ‘n roll, a bit more Gianni – a bit more G/S.
Two one-off peas in a pod.
During our shoot, Gianni tells us how he’s been fascinated with motorbikes since he was a kid, but it was only as a student that he could announce himself as a true fan.
When the budding interior designer first came face to face with a BMW R 80 G/S, it was love at first sight. “Style, brand, quality” – the BMW R80 G/S had everything Gianni desired.
The only thing that didn’t add up at the time was the price tag: 8,300 German marks (or a figure with a few more zeros in it, if we’re talking Gianni’s local lire). Today, you’ll easily surrender the same amount in euros for a mint BMW R 80 G/S. We were polite enough not to ask Gianni what he paid for his G/S. But we’re guessing he’ll rack up a lot more miles on it – on and off road – before he decides to recoup the investment.