Return of the Cafe Racers - Neo Retro – OSE Magnum BMW R9T

Neo Retro – OSE Magnum BMW R9T

Riding the streets during the week then racing on the track all weekend sounds like a pretty good way to get the most out of a motorcycle. This is how Marco, Chris, Tonyo, Nico, Gael, Fred and Patrick of ‘Old School Engineering’ in France like to spend their days. The OSE workshop functions primarily as a side hobby with each member working their own separate day jobs. Their ethos, as Tonyo puts it, is “no business, just fun and sharing!” and it looks to be working out well for them. When they’re not modifying their own bikes they occasionally build commissioned customs for friends and acquaintances and this BMW R9T was the latest motorcycle to roll their way.

The owner of the BMW came to the OSE workshop in search of a cafe racer conversion for his 2016 R9T. Having complete confidence in their ability to turn out a nice looking bike his brief to the team was open aside from stipulating that the bike’s exhaust should be hidden. Knowing that the owner was also an avid track rider the OSE team set about designing a machine that embraced the R9T’s “neo-retro” aesthetic, giving it a classic racing silhouette and introducing components that would make it easy to prepare for the track.

Their first challenge was to hide the bikes exhaust system. Using a stainless steel exhaust kit OSE experimented with right angle and elbow sections to get the pipes flowing as desired. After running the headers down beneath the boxers opposing cylinders the pipes meet at the swingarm before running up the spine of the frame. The pipes then travel parallel to one another, veering back around the bikes monoshock suspension and into the tail. To meet the owners brief a custom rear cowl was then constructed to conceal the mufflers using 2 heat shielded openings in the rear for exhaust gases to expel through. With everything running in close proximity to the seat, rider and bodywork the pipes were then ceramic coated to lower external temperatures.

BMW R9T cafe racer custom

Up front OSE then installed a retro-styled fiberglass fairing with a twist. After plenty of undesirable experiences removing headlight tape from painted surfaces, the team designed a unique headlight cover system. Fabricated from the cut-down segment of a Mooneyes hub cap, the aluminum cover can be quickly installed or removed when required. To finish the front end off a striking yellow screen was also installed and a ‘9T’ emblem drilled and riveted on one side.

Along with the bikes mufflers the fiberglass tail houses a dual function LED array that’s almost invisible until illuminated. The bike’s seat is made from perforated leather that has also been carried over to the grips and features a laser etched ‘Magnum’ emblem. Rizoma bar end indicators keep the bodywork clean and a specially programmed Motogadget speedometer has been incorporated into the fairings mounting bracket. New levers from Beringer, a single bar end mirror and a Rizoma brake reservoir complete the cockpit.

BMW R9T cafe racer custom

After painting the forks and frame gloss black the bikes bodywork was finished in matte black with a glossy 3 tone red, orange and yellow pinstripe. After a member of the OSE team noticed the bike bore a resemblance to the Island Hopper VW Kombi driven by 80’s tv character Magnum PI the R9T jokingly bares the name ‘Magnum’.


Photography by Xavier Hennebel


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