Pistons & Pivots

Konrad Kaminski's BMW E39 M5 & Forbidden Dreadnought

Photos Deniz Merdano - Unless noted
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Pistons and Pivots features cool vehicles with character, and a little about their owners and the bikes they ride.

If you've got a vehicle and bike that fit the series, we'd love to help you share them with a wider audience, and you can take a crack at winning some tires from Maxxis.

You can submit your photos in one of two ways:

  1. Send photos and articles to [email protected]. Make sure to include 'Pistons and Pivots' in the subject line.
  2. Or simply post a few vehicle and bike photos and details to Instagram and use the hashtags #pistonsandpivots and #nsmb.

We'll pick a few winning submission and feature them on the site, and the person that submitted it will earn a membership to their local trail association as well as one other (for another trail association or to share with a friend) courtesy of Maxxis.

Deniz Merdano / NSMB: Hi Konrad, Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Hi! Oof, what is there to say? I'm a grown up kid who has yet to grow up. I like bikes, cars and music. I have a small but close knit group of friends that luckily all enjoy biking in some way or another. Just trying to figure out this puzzle called life.

DSC03836-denizmerdano-Pistonsandpivots konrad m5-dreadnought.jpg

A Dreadnought is the cherry on top.



The M5 is a stunner. How did you two meet?

The first time I saw an E39 M5 was back in high school in the BMW Films with Clive Owen, specifically the Madonna film. A V8 in a handsome sedan that can smoke tires, what's not to love? Ever since it was in my ever expanding dream car list. Fast forward many years and I'm in the automotive industry. A co-worker that became a friend, Davin, owned an M5. He kept teasing me the car until eventually the stars lined up and I bought it. He had most of the work and mods done that I would have wanted to do, it was in great condition and the price was right. Pre-covid times, it made for an awesome, fast and comfortable shuttle. 3 bikes, 2 friends and all smiles.


E39 has all the right soft lines.




The 'right' size of grill on this generation of BMWs.

Do you have a history of driving fast cars?

This is my first fast car, and only my second car! My first car was a 2001 530i M-Sport which has enough oomph for a first car. I learned to drive manual in it. Bought the M5, sold the 530i. It took me a while to get used to how much more power it had. I still take it very easy as the consequences are not worth the glory.

Do you track to or planning on tracking the M5?

It hasn't been on the track yet but it will be at some point. I want to be able to see what the car can do on the track and learn the limits of both the car and myself. Since it is quite a heavy car, wear and tear is going to be pretty hard on the tires, brakes and suspension. Track days will be only every so often. I think it's also very important to be able to push the car to and beyond the limits to understand how and why things will happen. There's so much to learn and it can be easily applied to daily driving making one a much safer driver.


Extremely Sticky Michelin Pilot 4S rubber.


When you have this much power and mass, you need proper brake cooling.


A great looking duo.

Konrad's BMW E39 M5 Build:

M5: (* denotes what I have done)

KW V3 coilovers*

Dinan front and rear strut braces

Turner Monoball thrust arm bushings

New factory suspension bushings throughout

Dinan adjustable sway bar on the rear

20mm spacers* on the front and 10mm on the rear

Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires*

Stoptech Trophy ST40/ST20 big brake kit with Stoptech Aerorotors and Stoptech braided lines*

Dinan air filter and intake

Mass air flow sensor delete

Evolve Alpha-N MAF-less tune

Super Sprint headers and X-pipe

Eseinmann race exhaust

CSF Tricore aluminum radiator

Electric fan conversion

Rear differential mount reinforced and aluminum bushing

E60 shifter (acts like a short shift kit)

UUC double shear selector rod

Euro lower dash (more legroom for the passenger)

E46 M3 Competition alcantara steering wheel*

Gauge cluster with black background and new LED's

Euro headlights and tail lights

Eonon head unit*

BMW factory roof rails and 1-up roof racks


Small wing for a big bird.


The device that allows you to grin at the cars you've passed by.


And we dive in to the heart.


No replacement for displacement, 4.9L NA V8 with 400bhp stock. Konrad's mod allows for a higher output.


Almost a shame about the engine cover.


The strut brace makes for a more involved removal process of the cover.


Dinan tuned goodness under the bonnet.


A bigger radiator for the E39.


Buckle up, it's a fast ride.



Nothing quite like a manual 6-speed. Well maybe a gated 5...



Not stock.


Konrad wrapped the interior trim in forged carbon.



E39 seats are comfortable and supportive.

How do car and bike culture intersect for you?

Cars started when I was a baby and my mom started to buy me little toy cars. From then on it was an obsession. Collecting Hotwheels, building LEGO garages, tracks and cars, studying and reading car books, memorizing stats, video games, even writing a book report on the Dodge Viper in grade 3!

Biking is a similar story, mom got me into it. We'd regularly go for walks to the park and I'd ride jumping this and that. In high school, realising how expensive cars are, growing up in an apartment with no garage, I focused more on bikes. For my 14th birthday, mom and I split on a 2003 Norco Sasquatch and that's where it grew. Mom (there's a trend here, thanks mom!) even helped me get my first job which happened to be at the bike shop that I bought my bike. I became a mechanic and served almost 11 years. Made my closest lifelong friends through that experience.
Cars and bikes intersect for me because they are machines that I can tinker with and customize. I like the melding of personality of the owner and the machine. The act of working on them is very relaxing for me, particularly on bikes.

What bikes are in your stable?

A lot. Kelly Bedford custom build titanium fixed gear, Forbidden Dreadnought, Trek Emonda, 1992 Rocky Mountain Experience, WeThePeople Sleepless street BMX, FBM Bitchin' Camaro race BMX, NS Bikes Decade dirt jumper, Osca Japanese track bike, Santa Cruz V10 gen3 skibike. That's what is current, there's been a few more that have come and gone.


Size XL Forbidden Dreadnought.







Levers up.

Tell us more about the Dreadnought and the Custom Fixie builds

The Dreadnought is my enduro/freeride bike. I like the way high pivot bikes felt as I previously had an Orange 223 and a Morewood Ndiza 4x. I also believe in proportionate front/rear centres. This just felt like a natural fit for me. All the parts were previously on a 2017 Trek Slash. They were upgraded over time as things needed to be changed for fit, learned that certain parts didn't quite work with me, or a deal came up. The build kit has been extremely reliable for me. Coil fork for reliability, small bump compliance, and minimal maintenance. I've kept with the 11-speed as I see no reason to spend a ton of money on a whole new drivetrain that is going to be heavier unsprung mass, a longer derailleur, all just to get a 50t cog. The 42/28 is close enough and at this point the only thing holding me back is the tires and my legs. No real modifications done on the bike yet, still figuring things out on it. A longer rear fender is in the works and I may consider removing the lower guide for a little less drag and noise.
My fixed gear is a full custom frame built by Kelly Bedford. One of my closest friends, Andrew, is friends (and old coworkers from Serotta) with Kelly. I rode fixed for a few years prior and wanted the ultimate fixed gear road killer. Big grueling climbs, long epics, fast and sharp handling through traffic, the ultimate bike. I've never sat on a bike first-time and felt instant connection and comfortable familiarity before. I can hop on it any time and just let go and be in the moment of riding.






Lighter than the Eagle option, makes for a lower unsprung weight.


It's still relevant and high performing.



Im so happy this happened!


Rolling shots are hard on twisty roads.

Konrad's Forbidden Dreadnought:

Öhlins RXF36 coil fork

Push 11-6 shock

Chromag BZA 35mm rise handlebar and 35mm reach stem

Wolftooth spacers, 15mm

Hope headset

Profile BMX genuine faux alligator saddle

OneUp 210mm post

Bontrager Line Pro 30 wheels with extra springs/pawls

Maxxis Assegai EXO+ MaxxGrip

Maxxis DHRII EXO+ MaxxTerra

Rimpact inserts front and rear

Shimano XTR M9120 brakes

Magura MDR-P 220mm rotors

SRAM X1 shifter with Wolftooth adapter for IS-EV

Wolftooth dropper lever and adapter to IS-EV

SRAM X1 rear derailler

SRAM XG-1199 42t cassette

KMC X11SL chain + 3 links

Chromag 28t chainring

SRAM XO1 Eagle GXP cranks

Chromag Dagga pedals

Wolftooth accessory strap

Skingrowsback bag

Supacaz cage

OneUp pump with tool


Words to live by.


Konrad loves his bikes... and he has a few of them.

Can you share your settings and mods for the Forbidden?

Brake levers have progressively gotten flatter as the trails have gotten steeper. I like them close to the first finger joint as it requires less strength which in turn means less hand fatigue and arm pump.
The fork is stock spring, wide open compression and rebound. The shock has been creeping closer to wide open. At the moment it is 15 clicks HSC, 14 LSC, 15 rebound. Still experimenting, learning and comparing.

Rimpact inserts front and rear as they are some of the lightest ones. EXO+ tires as I am fairly light on my bike. 18/22psi in the cold and wet, 22/25psi in the warm and dry. Line Pro 30 wheels with the extra springs and pawls to double the engagement.

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+7 Pete Roggeman jaydubmah Nologo cornedbeef solar_evolution Konrad Dan

Can't argue with that car/bike setup. Well done.


+3 solar_evolution Konrad Dan

Pretty spot on. I'm a major German wagon lover, which would be my only tweak, but damn that M5 is cherry and I would love to swing a leg over a Dreadnought.


+2 Konrad Dan

There's two cars I'd consider sacrificing my Evolution VIII for: E39 M Wagon or Evolution IX Wagon. Love the intersection of mountain bikes and performance cars, please keep these articles coming.  

Beautiful car and bike Konrad, I imagine there's been a lot of hard work and long hours leading up to those rides!


+1 Dan

I love me a sport wagon as well and thought I had seen it all and then rolling around yesterday I saw an E36 Alpina B6 2.8 wagon!

Small, stick, rear wheel drive, v6instead of a v8 - Dream wagon!


+2 tashi danimaniac

I6, there's no V6's



Oh yeah, I knew that. Derp.


Good luck trying to buy, let alone find an Evo IX wagon in the first. Saw a real live one about 10 years ago. Owner said he'd never sell it despite people asking him on a daily basis if he's interested in selling it.


+4 Pete Roggeman Deniz Merdano Spencer Nelson Konrad

Envious of these two fun machines! That carbon wrap in the car looks unreal.


+4 Deniz Merdano AJ Barlas Nologo Konrad

Too often carbon inlays look like shit in car interiors. Not so this time.


+1 Konrad

It is very well done indeed!


+4 mrbrett solar_evolution Konrad Deniz Merdano

The last great BMW. Most impressed with the lack of dead cluster pixels.


+3 cornedbeef Konrad Deniz Merdano

I loved Those BMW movies with Clive Owen and the M5 was my favourite one. Nothing more impressive than a sedan for the family that can clean up at the track.


+2 Deniz Merdano Konrad

11 speed ftw!


+1 Konrad

It .. just.. works!



It makes me wonder - would consumers accept 11 speed as spec on a lower end bike.  I wonder what X01 or GX 11 speed stuff costs at OE vs NX or SX Eagle. You'd essentially be trading range for performance...



11 speed sram stuff is still shockingly expensive. Cost hasn't really dropped at all since pre-eagle on shop distributor sites. (still upwards of $350 USD for an xo1 11 speed cassette).



An additional thought is that a consumer new to the sport is more likely to pick 12 over 11 speed just because it's both newer and is probably easier to have a sales pitch for. "This is the newest option and shifts just like the other 12spd stuff on the expensive bikes" (ie. 12spd) is probably an easier sell than "this may have one less gear, but it's just as good, if not better" (ie. 11spd).

Also very true about the 11spd cost. I was surprised when I saw how little it has dropped.


+2 Deniz Merdano Konrad

What is the ride quality like with the KW V3s? I've been eyeing them up as a possibility for my Dinan E36 sometime in the future.

It would have been nice to have one clear shot of the fixed gear bike too!

Car looks awesome! Hoping to see it at a trailhead one day


+3 cornedbeef Konrad makudad

The fixie is awesome, almost worth an article on its own..



Right?! I want to see more...


+3 solar_evolution AJ Barlas Deniz Merdano

The V3's are wonderful! Very similar to factory M-Sport suspension, just noticeably stiffer without being harsh as it is quite low. There were BC Racing coilovers previously but considering the car, the ride was too harsh and crash-y. KW V3's are mom approved, no complaints from her whenever I take her for a drive haha


+1 Deniz Merdano

I just love that bike more and more every time I come across one.



Jai Jagannath!



I currently have an E39 530D M-Sport wagon. Yeah it's a diesel but damn it moves, total sleeper, plus wagon. Impressed with this M5 would be a massive understatement. Props for putting Euro spec head and tail lights on it amongst everything else.


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