Top 5 BMW Cafe Racer Builds
One of the great things about relaunching this website was having the chance to look back at some of the cafe racers I’ve featured during the past decade. As I worked my way through my custom motorcycle archives I realised that many of the bikes I’ve featured deserve another look. What better way to do that than with a series of ‘the best of the best’ features. To kick things off here are the ‘Top 5 BMW Cafe Racers to be featured here on Return of the Cafe Racers.
There are few motorcycle engines as iconic as BMW Motorrad’s flat twin ‘Boxer’. Renowned for their bulletproof reliability the Boxer has been in production for most of the companies 90+ years of operation. Somewhere along the way they also caught the attention of the custom motorcycle world and have become a common platform for cafe racer conversions. In more recent years BMW has embraced the custom scene with their R Nine T, a motorcycle designed to be customised and it’s no stranger to this website. Here are 5 of the best BMW cafe racers to have graced these pages…
5. High Octane BMW HP9T
This highly polished BMW R9T almost broke the internet when Jeffry Sol of High Octane Speedshop unveiled it back in 2015. The bikes bespoke alloy bodywork was all fabricated by hand using traditional metal shaping tools, some of which he made himself. In our exclusive interview with Jeffry, he explained that his builds all center around speed. He started out building cars for drag racing and introduced motorcycles into the equation later in life. Although his BMW ‘HP9T’ is essentially stock aside from the exhaust and air filters, the bike looks fast standing still due to its sleek lines and race-inspired proportions.
Jeffry said “To test my skills to the max I wanted to aim for the stars. I wanted high gloss, polished, blemish-free aluminium.” and that’s exactly what he achieved.
4. Sinroja BMW R110 R3 Racer
Sinroja Motorcycles is run by brothers Rahul and Birju. This bike was only the third build to roll out of their workshop and it helped to establish them as one of the UK’s top custom shops. Based on a BMW R100 R monolever the ‘R3’ is a nut and bolt rebuild and extensive upgrade. Along with the thorough work done to the engine, the bike features plenty of modern upgrades that take it to the next level. What I love most about this bike though is the finish. Rather than adding bling, they opted for satin paint that separates this bike from the rest. Since building the R3 Sinroja has continued to impress not just me but the likes of Royal Enfield who partnered with them last year on a special build for the Wheels & Waves show.
3. Cherry’s Company R9T Highway Fighter
I’ve had the pleasure of hanging out with Cherry’s Company owner Kaichiroh Kurosu on more than one occasion. Despite winning best in show awards 3 years running at the Mooneyes Yokohama show he is without a doubt one of the most unassuming people you could meet. His custom motorcycles, however, are some of the wildest you’re likely to see. This bike, dubbed the ‘Highway Fighter’, was built as part of a collaboration with BMW Motorrad. Along with 3 other Japanese workshops, he customised a then recently released BMW R9T by adding one-off hand-beaten alloy bodywork. Kurosu-san also took the R9T a step further by fitting higher-spec suspension and brakes. Subtle touches like lighting that is only visible once illuminated and the hot rod style pinstriping make this R9T a stand out for me.
2. Wrenchkings ‘For Her’ BMW R100
This stunning BMW cafe racer build by Dutch workshop the ‘Wrenchkings’ had me drooling over my keyboard when it landed in my inbox. Built for a female customer the BMW R100 took a mere 3 months to complete and was designed specifically to the owner’s dimensions. Thankfully that didn’t result in any compromises. Performance modifications are focused on reliability and the Kings ensured it was suitable for the owners everyday riding needs. Along with how damn good the finished bike looks I can’t help but applaud the guys for creating such a functional custom motorcycle.
1. Larry Romestant’s BMW K1200RS ‘KAgusta’
The BMW boxers seem to be everyone’s ho to for a cafe racer conversion. They would be my choice too if I was to head down that path, so you can imagine my surprise when I placed this bike at number 1 in my Top 5 BMW Cafe Racers list.
Who’d have thought BMW’s brick could look so good?! This K series cafe racer built by BMW expert Larry Romestant is sure to sway opinions of the chunky German inline four. Larry took a sport-touring K1200RS and completely transformed it into a bonafide cafe racer. The ground-up build includes touches of Italian styling thanks to the MV Agusta styled tank and Imola-esque seat. There’s a long list of classic performance parts and the fit and finish is nothing short of breathtaking. I’m surprised to see a BMW brick on this list, but it would be incomplete without it.
Honorable mention – Lucky Cat Garage Sprintbeemer
The Lucky Cat Garage BMW RS sprint bike is far from what we would consider a cafe racer in any sense. It’s on this list though because of what it represents. When Lucky Cat owner Sébastien Lorentz first built this bike it was to take part in the Glemseck 101 Starr Wars 1/8th mile drag races. While he may not have come away with first prize what it did do was inspire him to launch the ‘Sultans of Sprint’ series. A knockout style race series that attracts builders and manufacturers from all over Europe. Seb’s ‘Sprint Beemer’ has since undergone several transformations, but this is where it all began.
Still hungry for more BMW cafe racers? You can browse through all our BMW features here.
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