As the lines blur between the different styles of custom bike building and builders become more adventurous, it’s getting much harder to simply label a custom motorcycle as a Cafe Racer, Tracker, Bobber, etcetera. While this latest build by CRO motorcycles is a self proclaimed Cafe Racer many may argue otherwise (and I’m sure a few of my Facebook followers will!) but personally I think it’s evolution at work. If you want to build a period correct Cafe Racer you’d probably never consider a BMW as a donor let alone one released in the late 70’s. As older bikes get older and are either falling to bits or cost an arm and a leg to buy we’re all looking for alternatives. Bikes like BMW’s R65 are available at a good price and offer solid performance and reliability, but using one as the base for a Cafe Racer means it’s sometimes necessary to bend the rules. This is what the evolution of bike building is all about, its designing, modifying and re-engineering to suit the subject and CRO’s Valkyrie is a perfect example of one builders way of doing this.
This wasn’t a build driven simply by aesthetics, the 1981 BMW R65 ‘Valkyrie’ needed to be highly functional to fit in with Cafe Racer Obsessions bike building ethic. Weight reduction and nimble handling were paramount as the list of chosen components attests. Donor parts came from various makes and models built by Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha and Japanese suspension experts Showa were chosen as the source for the Beemers suspension upgrades.
The build, which took 2.5 months to complete saw the addition of an R90 hub sporting twin Suzuki GSXR discs and Yamaha R1 callipers in the front end. The forks are Honda made and are held in place by modified triple trees. The rectangular headlight was chosen as the CRO crew felt it matched the lines of the bikes Honda Nighthawk tank nicely and fits with the bikes ‘boxer’ label. Clip-on bars position the rider for more aggressive riding and all of the instruments were removed which may not be the most functional of the changes made but it certainly keeps the front end uncluttered.
CRO fabricated a stiffer subframe for the bike to allow the fitment of a Michelin 170 rear tyre and convert the bike from double shocks to a single Showa Mono Shock. The rear set pegs were also built in house to complete the Cafe Racer esque riding position along with the Valkyrie’s custom seat which incorporates a foam bum stop. The grey and red paint scheme on the Valkyrie is the perfect finish for what I would happily label as a Cafe Racer, but as opinions always seem to vary I will let you be the judge.