Is it just me or are we all anticipating BMW to eventually launch the mother of all factory built retro cafe racers? Surely the sharp German designers and market researchers at BMW have noticed how their 1970s and 1980s products are all being reincarnated into cafe racers internationally. I can almost hear their Health and Safety Director voicing his concerns at the wholesale disregard of BMW customisers for basic safety principles when designing and executing their modifications. “Just sell these lunatics a BMW cafe racer built the way they want it built before someone gets seriously injured and sues us.”
BMW should be able to resist the Japanese compulsion to produce a technologically overloaded motorcycle with only a vague resemblance to what its forefather actually looked like and what the market actually desires. They have the advantage that they still produce the boxer motor, only difference is that it now produces proper horsepower. Install this powerplant and shaft drive into a well designed old school cradle frame with decent twin shocks in the rear, modern anti-dive suspension up front and decent brakes. Use exactly the same tank design as one of their 70/80s models, create a sportier new rear seat with tail section and Bob’s your mother! Even the 1980s wheels can be replicated. Refined lights and redesigned smaller gauges will be needed. Old style exhausts were also not ugly but this needs to be the loudest BMW motorcycle to ever have left the factory. Paint them all black with a white pinstripe and sell thousands of units!
Our featured motorcycle started life as an overdressed 1982 BMW R100RT. This 1000cc touring model originally had a large fairing and windscreen, panniers and a top box. Producing about 70hp, they were weighed down with all these storage units. Dont get me wrong, tourers are a magnificent means of travelling long distances in style but it is hard for such a practical motorcycle to be sexy. Unburdening the RT of all the paraphernalia reveals the true character of this BMW.
“Timeless but still retaining the airhead vintage look.” These are the words Wez from Port Elizabeth uses to describe his goal when building this motorcycle. It took him five months to build this stunning BMW in his single garage with limited tools and unlimited patience. Most of the work was executed by Wez himself to keep costs down. The motorcycle was stripped down to nuts and bolts before rebuilding. The overall freshness of this BMW is as a result of this ground up rebuild. Good as new! The metallic chocolate brown tank is unique but not outrageous, in keeping with Wez’s goal. Plastics have been blacked out, fork gaiters fitted and the wheels powdercoated black. The rear subframe has been shortened by 20cm and a custom made seat installed. Modern electrics have been installed for better reliability. The shortened tail section, small tail light and indicators, bar end mirrors and wrapped header pipes with original silencers enhance the motorcycle’s new and sportier look.
We would like to thank Wez for supplying us with the photos of his head turning creation. Marnitz enjoys taking the photos himself but Port Elizabeth is a little too far and out of our budget for a weekend trip. There are many amazing BMW customs being built all over our country and internationally. If, as I suspect, BMW are planning to enter this market, they will have to get their version just right to impress.