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 - 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 honoured to feature many of them here on Return of the Cafe Racers. So this year we’ve pulled together this Top 10 Cafe Racers of 2017 list. Top 10 lists have never…

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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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Return of the Cafe Racers - Little Blue Bastard – BMW R80RT Cafe Racer

Little Blue Bastard – BMW R80RT Cafe Racer

Timotei, an Englishman from Evesham in Worcestershire, is no stranger to motorcycles. “I got my first motorbike when I was 6 years old, a TY50 trials and it was rad. My brother had just been bought a big wheel CR80 and had started motocross the year before and I thought it was…

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Return of the Cafe Racers - Two Heads – Leli Motive BMW R80/7

Two Heads – Leli Motive BMW R80/7

At only 29 years old Ferdy van Leliveld has laid his hands on more motorcycles than most veteran riders. After spending 8 years working for BMW Motorrad he started his own business, Lelimotive that specializes in the sale of classic and collectible motorcycles to customers around Europe. When it came to building…

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Return of the Cafe Racers - For Her – Wrench Kings BMW R100

For Her – Wrench Kings BMW R100

Looking back over the last 11 years of running this website the thing I’ve enjoyed the most is seeing workshops evolve. I’ve featured a multitude of first time builds that have paved the way for the formation of successful workshops. Dedicated guys and girls who have turned their past time passion into…

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Return of the Cafe Racers - Against the Clock – XTR Pepo BMW R100RS

Against the Clock – XTR Pepo BMW R100RS

Imagine this scenario: A bike magazine hands you a box fresh 1978 BMW R100RS and the concept rendering for a fantastic, space-age machine. They place at your disposal a shedload of the finest components from sponsors like Hagon, Akrapovic, Rizoma, and Pirelli; along with a sleek timepiece from Zenith. The Hitch? You…

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