BMW Motorrad

The German company BMW Motorrad built its first motorcycle, the R32, in 1923. Powered by a 494cc flat-twin boxer the R32's engine configuration became an iconic feature of BMW motorcycles throughout their history. The "airhead" boxer twins and R series BMW models are popular choices for café racer conversions while the new BMW R9T was built specifically with customization in mind. Thanks to a unique wiring system and flexible design the R9T has been warmly welcomed by top custom workshops around the world.
Return of the Cafe Racers - Top 5 BMW Cafe Racers

Top 5 BMW Cafe Racers

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…

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Return of the Cafe Racers - Speed Blur – JSK Moto BMW R9T

Speed Blur – JSK Moto BMW R9T

We’re big fans of the work of Californian motorcycle builder Samuel Kao and his workshop JSK Moto Co. JSK motorcycles are best described as neo-retro creations and his latest R Nine T unashamedly follows suit. It’s nicknamed the ‘Autobahn Streak’ and in building it Samuel has embraced BMW’s ‘born to be customized’…

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Return of the Cafe Racers - The Black Bull – Deep Creek Cycleworks R Nine T

The Black Bull – Deep Creek Cycleworks R Nine T

BMW struck a chord in the custom motorcycle scene when they released the R Nine T. Powered by a bulletproof 100bhp 1170cc flat twin the R9T offers a smooth and predictable ride. It certainly isn’t sedate though. Give the throttle a twist and you’ll reach 60mph in just under 3 seconds and…

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Return of the Cafe Racers - Lucky for One – BMW R80 Cafe Racer

Lucky for One – BMW R80 Cafe Racer

Everyone wants to be remembered for something. For Portugal’s it roCkS!bikes that something is great looking, monocoque bodied custom motorcycles. Run by Osvaldo Coutinho and Alexandre Santos, a pair of motorcycle obsessed engineers, it roCkS!bikes has built a reputation that has earned them a place as one of Yamaha’s invited Yardbuilt builders,…

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Return of the Cafe Racers - Cut Snake – BMW R100RT café racer

Cut Snake – BMW R100RT café racer

When he’s not working on superyachts Sydney based engineer Brock gets his kicks tinkering with motorcycles. His latest bike is a BMW R100RT which he built after hours in the engine room of a 40 million dollar superyacht (that’s definitely a first for this website!). After purchasing the bike in Byron Bay…

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Return of the Cafe Racers - Black Beauty – JM Customs BMW R45

Black Beauty – JM Customs BMW R45

“This project kicked off with a stock 1982 BMW R45 that had laid dormant in our client’s garage for almost a decade,” says JM Customs workshop owner James Moir. “We set out to redesign and reinvigorate this tired old workhorse, tearing the bike down to its bare essentials. Our concept was to…

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Return of the Cafe Racers - Red Line – Tank Machine BMW R9T

Red Line – Tank Machine BMW R9T

It’s no secret that manufacturers have been watching what’s been happening in the cafe racer scene. They’ve been releasing motorcycles aimed at those of us who like to tweak our rides for some time now. The flow on effect of this is that aftermarket companies and custom builders inevitably turn their attention…

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Return of the Cafe Racers - Top 10 Cafe Racers of 2017

Top 10 Cafe Racers of 2017

2017 was a great year. The custom motorcycle scene has continued to produce some truly incredible builds and we were honored to feature many of them here on Return of the Cafe Racers. So this year we’ve pulled together a list of our favorites from 2017. Top 10 lists have never really…

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Return of the Cafe Racers - Chalcolithic Café Racer – BMW R100 R Mystic

Chalcolithic Café Racer – BMW R100 R Mystic

Mankind has been discovering clever uses for copper since 9000BC. The stuff has been used to fashion tools, tile church roofs, build a supersized lady liberty, conduct electricity and its even cast as currency. At some point, someone also discovered that if you give it a good rub it looks rather nice.…

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Return of the Cafe Racers - Made in China – Mandrill BMW R90

Made in China – Mandrill BMW R90

Since the launch of Return of the Cafe Racers in 2006 we’ve published stories covering custom motorcycle builds from workshops all over the world. The one country that has eluded our pages for all those years is China. In the countries largest city of Shanghai, riding a motorcycle on elevated freeways is…

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Return of the Cafe Racers - S is for Style – Meister Engineering BMW R100S

S is for Style – Meister Engineering BMW R100S

If there’s one thing every builder should strive to achieve when they customise a motorcycle it’s to improve upon its original construction. Many of the bikes used as donors for the builds we feature are decades old so that task can sometimes be an easy one. Improvements in electronics can be made…

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