The cafe racer in BMW’s R nineT heritage series won hearts with its sleek styling. However, motorcycle journalists brought a few downsides with the design of the BMW R nineT Racer to light. While the engine and build quality were at the same high level as the other model’s, rider comfort certainly was not. BMW also made the shock decision to use lower spec components on their cafe racer compared to the standard R nineT which in our books is a cardinal sin.
When Kris Reniers of Deep Creek Cycleworks was again given the opportunity to customise a new R nineT to his liking, he decided to build his own interpretation of an R nineT Racer. The result is the ‘T Minus’ R nineT and it was built as part of a Belgian BMW dealership build off. In today’s feature, Kris shares the story of how they turned a regular R nineT into the cafe racer BMW should have built.
A PURE R NINET CAFE RACER
“The goal was to build a proper cafe racer, unlike the off the shelf model BMW Motorrad already sell.” says Kris. “We wanted it to be lower, sexier and distinctive.”
“For this project, we had the option of choosing from a shortlist of base R nineT models. The R nineT Scrambler, Racer, the Urban or the Pure. The R nineT Racer would have made an obvious starting point, but we didn’t use it for our build because they come with a silver-ish frame and we wanted classic black. It would take more time and effort to powder coat the frame so we used an R nineT Pure as our donor. We also used the Pure because the fairing on their ‘cafe racer’ version sits way too high and rewelding the base bracket on the frame would damage it. Whereas welding a new bracket on a clean frame is a much easier task.”
UPGRADE THE ATTITUDE, LOWER THE ALTITUDE
“The stance of our bike had to be low to give it more visual attitude. The front fairing on the standard R nineT Racer is gorgeous, so we ordered that together with the standard fairing bracket. We welded a new mount to the frame that sat the fairing-bracket 4cm lower and fitted LSL clip-ons. For the tail section, we created a new cowl from scratch. Making the tail flow with the rear of the stock tank turned out to be a real challenge. The original seat tucked into the tank so it needed to fill that space. The piece I made removed the unsightly aluminium frame covers beneath the original seat and blended into the shape of the R nineT fuel tank perfectly.
Because of the dramatic change in riding position we replaced the stock footpegs with LSL rear sets which look stunning. The stock exhaust and cat were also replaced with the obvious choice for these bikes, a Remus race 2-into-1 header and beautiful SC project muffler. For lighting, the stock headlight was modified using LED technology housed in JW-speaker shell. This setup provides superior light at night and looks more sinister during the day. The stock taillight and blinkers had to go too. A Wunderlich DevilsEye was used in the rear and the blinkers front and back were replaced with Motogadget bar-end inserts. The bike retains the factory speedometer. The only thing we did there was weld a little bracket holder to the fairing so it sits within the fairing instead of on the yoke. The yoke was machined to remove the standard handlebar mounting points.”
“The colours of the R nineT needed to be dark and stylish so we chose a black and bronze palette. The windscreen was also given a smoked tint. The rims were painted bronze to and ensure a perfect match to the rest of the paint since powder coat can be notoriously hard to match. Our friends at Motocouture Leathers then did a fine job finishing the build with a brown leather seat.
Our T Minus infuses a modern bike with old school style and attitude. BMW Motorrad was pleased with the outcome of the bike and so am I. This is why we have decided to create a short series of R NineT using the same build process. If you’d like to see it in person come view it at the Bike Shed 2019 show in London on May 24-26.”