The German company BMW Motorrad built its first motorcycle, the R32, in 1923. Powered by a 494cc flat-twin boxer the R32’s horizontally opposed engine configuration became an iconic feature of BMW motorcycles throughout their history. In later years they also developed the flat-four engine used in models like the K100. This engine was coined the ‘flying brick’ due to its bulky appearance. Despite its unfortunate nickname the flat-four still the level of performance that earned BMW their well-respected reputation.
Older BMW “airhead” boxer twins and R series models are popular choices for BMW cafe racer projects. With some models featuring bolt-on subframes and others sporting aluminum fuel tanks, choosing a BMW as the donor for your project has its benefits. In more recent years BMW has embraced the custom scene by creating the R Nine T. The BMW R9T was designed and built specifically with customization in mind.
In our archives, you’ll find countless BMW cafe racer features that are a great source of inspiration and tips for anyone hoping to build their own.