A Better Boxer – James’ BMW R80 Cafe Racer
I can’t resist the beauty of a BMW boxer engine. Nothing compares or looks quite like it. Regardless of whether it’s in stock condition or heavily customized, these are beautiful machines. Their unorthodox horizontal head configuration and final shaft drive have always intrigued me, while at the same time frightening me. With all the bulk of those cylinders you wouldn’t think it would be suitable for a café racer build, but when I look at James’ 1980 BMW R80, I know I am mistaken. This is the bike that originally got James hooked on building and riding old motorcycles, and it shows what can be done with a modest amount of effort, a lot of inspiration and a beefy BMW boxer.
A few years ago, James would hear his neighbor start up his old BMW, and after numerous conversations, he was ready to buy his first boxer. He started with a forgotten 80’s model with a modest 797cc. Right from the start, James knew he wanted to go bigger. Wasting very little time, he sourced all the parts to turn the 797cc into a roaring 1000cc monster. The list included a hotter 336 sport cam, Dell’Orto carbs, Seibenrock 1000cc Power Kit and an oil expansion kit. After the motorcycle was completely torn down, James quickly learned that expert knowledge was needed in certain areas.
“To be honest, even now I don’t think I really knew what I was getting into. I’ve restored plenty of VW boxer motors, so I assumed it would be a piece of cake. After a while, I quickly started reaching out on the forums for expert mechanics, but it was to no avail. I was stumped. With the help of Jeff at TwinLine Motorcycles and Chris at Boxer Metal, I was able to build the bike of my dreams. They each provided their expertise, knowledge, and skills to help me accomplish this build.” says James.
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