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The world's best BMW Cafe Racers

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.
Return of the Cafe Racers - Sunday Screening – Cognito BMW R75 Build

Sunday Screening – Cognito BMW R75 Build

Our friends over at Cognito Moto have been toiling away on their latest custom BMW R75 project. The project was completed in a super fast 6 week turn around in order to showcase it at the 2019 EuroBike Raleigh. To share the process they documented the entire build on their Youtube channel.…

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Return of the Cafe Racers - Transforming a Tourer – Si Mantas R1200RT

Transforming a Tourer – Si Mantas R1200RT

In full dress, the BMW R1200RT tips the scales at hefty 259kg. This is by no means an ideal starting point for any cafe racer build. This doesn’t mean it can’t be done though. With a 110 bhp, 120Nm Boxer protruding from its frame the R1200RT packs plenty of punch. However, it…

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Return of the Cafe Racers - Bigger Badder Beemer – Gallows Garage K120

Bigger Badder Beemer – Gallows Garage K120

Perth’s Kaylan Galloway is a guy who likes to do things the hard way. Probably because he can. A welder by trade, he is a one-man band on a mission. Being a long time BMW K-series fan this bike, a BMW K100 based cafe racer, is his second. The first was a…

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Return of the Cafe Racers - Chop Talk – Revival Cycles BMW R18

Chop Talk – Revival Cycles BMW R18

The Katze is finally out of the Tasche. BMW Motorrad has unveiled its highly anticipated R18 concept. As we all suspected they dropped that massive new 1800cc boxer twin into a cruiser platform and it’s a stunning blend of modern engineering and classic BMW styling. The lead up to the release of…

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Return of the Cafe Racers - Dynamite – Unikat BMW K1100LT

Dynamite – Unikat BMW K1100LT

Mentioning Grand Tourer and cafe racer in the same sentence isn’t something you’ll see me do often. That’s because bikes that are inherently heavy, such as tourers, are generally deemed too big to be suitable donors for cafe racer builds. If you strip away the excess on most tourers you’re still left…

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Return of the Cafe Racers - Chop Talk – Kott Motorcycles BMW R80

Chop Talk – Kott Motorcycles BMW R80

One of the many amazing bikes on display at this year’s Handbuilt show in Austin was Dustin Kott’s BMW R80. As part of the show experience, Dustin and a few other builders were interviewed about their builds. These ‘Chop Talk’ interviews were available to listen to at the show and now thanks…

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Return of the Cafe Racers - T Minus – Deep Creek BMW R nineT

T Minus – Deep Creek BMW R nineT

The cafe racer in BMW’s R nineT heritage series won hearts with its sleek styling. However, motorcycle journalists brought a few downsides with the design of the BMW R nineT Racer to light. While the engine and build quality were at the same high level as the other model’s, rider comfort certainly…

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Return of the Cafe Racers - Scrambler – Rogue Motorcycles R65

Scrambler – Rogue Motorcycles R65

For more than a decade I’ve stayed true to this websites cafe racer theme. I can assure you this was no easy task. I’ve lost count of all the amazing scramblers, flat trackers, bobbers and dare I say choppers I’ve passed up. However, it is now time for a change. This article…

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Return of the Cafe Racers - Green with Envy – Vanity BMW R80RT

Green with Envy – Vanity BMW R80RT

I’ve seen enough BMW cafe racer builds to last a lifetime. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to see any more of them. I just want to know that when one appears on these pages it’s done right. Take for instance the work of Pete Hodson from Side Rock Cycles in the United…

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Return of the Cafe Racers - Kompact Racer – BMW K1100 RS Cafe Racer

Kompact Racer – BMW K1100 RS Cafe Racer

When a builder chooses to convert a tourer into a cafe racer it’s always a bit of a surprise to me. Such bikes tend to be on the heavier end of the spectrum and although the BMW K1100 RS weighed in less than its predecessor, the LT, it was still a hefty…

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Return of the Cafe Racers - Blue Boxer – 46 Works R100RS

Blue Boxer – 46 Works R100RS

It’s not every day you find yourself handing out an award at one of the world’s most prestigious custom automotive events. Somehow I recently found myself in this situation at the Mooneyes Yokohama Hot Rod and Custom Show. After rubbing shoulders with Mooneyes top dog Shige Suganuma at Kustomfest in Indonesia he…

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