November 08, 2022


BMW Motorcycles Cafe Racer



The old BMWs are among the most popular motorcycles to make a BMW cafe racer on the custom scene. 
The particularity that made the success of these models is the flat twin boxer type engine called "airhead".



A unique style, behavior and sound.

Another particularity appreciated on the BMW R series, is the fact that the subframe is bolted. This makes the modification of the loop easier and reversible.

In addition to these features, the Bavarian brand relies on a good reputation, reliability and quality.

Due to their success, the BMW R60, R75, R80, R90 and R100 are becoming rarer and therefore more expensive to buy.

This is why we have seen the development of BMW cafe racer preparations based on the K series for a few years. The K series uses a 4 cylinder flat engine. An atypical architecture that gives charm to the preparations. We will see it later.

More recently, we have seen the rise of modern preparations based on the BMW R nine-T, which was designed to be easily customized, with a bolt-on subframe and a modular electrical system.

Here you will find our selection of BMW motorcycles in chronological order of BMW MOTORRAD models.

At first, the BMW preps based on BMW R75, R80 and R100, then on BMW K75 and K100, K1100 and finally R Nine-T, the last one of BMW.

As a quick reminder, a BMW cafe racer can be recognized by the following elements (among others):

These are the basic elements to add racer style on motorcycle to make it a bmw cafe racer.



Preparation on BMW R series


The R series appeared in 1932 with the R32. BMW launched several variants and models in this series.
In 1969, the R75/5 was launched with a 50 horsepower 745cc boxer engine.
The bmw cafe racer motorcycle tuners are fond of BMW from this model.

bmw R75/5

The last model with the same engine architecture as the R75/5 is the BMW R 80 GS basic released in 1996.

What a longevity!

We have selected several bmw boxers, the r100, the r80 cafe racer and the r65 cafe racer.


bmw r100 cafe racer


The R100 has the biggest engine of the R series of the 80's. The flat twin of 980cc develops 60 horsepower.
xThe R100 was declined in several versions, the RT, GS, CS, S and the RS.

We start with a BMW R100RT of 1981 realized by the Spanish preparator Bolt Motor Co.  

blw cafe racer

Source: Autoevolution Bmw cafe racer


A lot of work has been done on this preparation, the highlights of this preparation are the matte red color and the exhaust line coming out under the seat.

WALWERK, a tuner and even a manufacturer with a solid reputation in the BMW tuning world.

They recently presented the WalzWerk® Motorcycle Nr. 1000, the thousandth preparation they have done. Hats off to them.



It is equipped with their parts that they offer for sale on their shop.
The important point of this preparation is the fact to have changed the mythical BMW fuel tank (present on the majority of cafe racer on R series).


Let's go now to Lithuania with the tuner DIFFERS and a 1992 BMW R 100 R.  

blw cafe racer

Source: Differs motorcycles 

The list of modifications is incredibly long and the result is breathtaking.

The small detail we like on this preparation is the realization of the frame / loop that defines the line of the bike.
This frame follows the tank and the seat. Without its beautiful black boxer and carding transmission, it would be hard to recognize it.  




bmw r80 cafe racer


What a beautiful and neat line for this R80 made by Diamond Atelier

blw cafe racer


This German workshop is not at their first attempt to prepare the bike, which comes from a few kilometers away from their workshop in Bavaria.

We like the elegance of the line, the association of the tank and the single-shell seat. As well as the very modern oval optics.

You can find all their preparations on their instagram.  




bmw r65 cafe racer


The BMW R65 began its career in 1978. It is equipped with a boxer engine of 650cc developing 45 horsepower.
In 1985, the new version of the R65 switches to a single shock absorber.

It is this version, which the preparator French Moto (formerly French Monkey) used for the preparation carried out for the youtuber Julien Fabro. (English subtitles are available).



Very nice pictures and videos in Lyon (France). We like the cut of the seat with the LED strip integrated in the U frame. 




bmw r75 cafe racer


Here are the Americans from COGNITO MOTO, already featured on our blog. 

blw cafe racer


This preparation is in the same spirit as the previous one but the customisation is more advanced. The installation of a GSX-R 600 inverted fork contributes to the improvement and the embellishment of this 1972 R75/5.

We also like the spoked rims, they give a radiance to this BMW.

The engine has also been revised and has been upgraded to 1000cc with the Siebenrock big bore kit.

Cognito Moto made a series of 12 videos presenting the preparation from A to Z, it's here: R75 CR 2.0



Available parts for R series on REMMOTORCYCLE

In addition to the universal parts that can be installed on the BMW R series such as turn signals, lights, master cylinders, commodos etc. ...
Remmotorcycle offers parts adapted to the BMW R series:




Custom motorcycles based on BMW K series 


The K series starts in 1983 with the K100. It is the revolution for BMW Motorrad, finished the motorcycles exceeded by the Japanese. The K100 introduces a longitudinal in-line four-cylinder engine and the "Compact Drive System" technology, which combines the entire drivetrain with the engine, the gearbox bolted directly to the engine and the unique proven swingarm with integrated driveshaft.

BMW k100

The K100's 987cc engine produces 90 horsepower. It will even go up to 100 horsepower once the 4-valve technology is integrated.

Several variants will be offered in the style of the R-series such as the RS, RT and LT.

The BMW K100 is accompanied in 1985 by its small sister, the K75. This one is equipped with a 740cc developing 75 horsepower.

The continuation of the K series arrives in 1991 with K1100 having a 1092cc developing 100 horses.

To finish, the last BMW K series is the K1200 released in 1996. It has an engine of 1171cc going up to 130 horses.

In the K series, note the presence of the incredible BMW K1, a UFO in the pure style of the 80s.




bmw k75 cafe racer


The K75 is not the easiest bike to work on because of its architecture. But the most daring tuners are making nuggets in terms of style.

This is the case of MotoCrew with this preparation on a 1985 K75.


blw cafe racer


The shape of the bike and especially the tank allows for a modern cafe racer.

We like the installed subframe that traces the line and wraps the seat.  

You can follow them on Instagram




k100 bmw cafe racer


We pass on the K100, called the "flying brick" by its shape.

There are many beautiful preparations on this base. The general tendency (which gives a lot of cachet to these preparations) is to install a horizontal shock absorber at the rear, a specific subframe in aluminum, an inverted fork and rims with spokes.

This is what we will find on the preparations we have selected: 

 blw cafe racer


The first one is the realization of a private individual and it was shared on the blog of cafe4racer in the colors of BMW Motorsport.

The set of modifications, make it very modern. 

Another K100 with a common DNA to the previous one:

blw cafe racer


Here is a Brazilian preparation made by Retrorides

They are at the origin of the rear monoshock system that we find a lot on the prepared K100.

We like the use of a traditional handlebar that breaks the modern dynamics of the bike.

We now move to the K101 Gatermann realized by the artist Fabian Gatermann.

 Source: K101 Gatermann

blw cafe racer


The transformation is less extreme on this preparation but the result is very clean. 


K1100 cafe racer

K1100 rs


We start with this incredible work on this K100 made by Mitch Witkamp:



The exhaust system is simply amazing.

The work on the aluminum and the light effects are very original.

Another cafe racer on RS variant of Powerbrick that we love:

blw cafe racer


The very angry cafra K1100 from Powerbrick, how nice it is. 

The name of powerbrick come from the K series nickname. 


Custom motorcycles based on the other BMWs


bmw nine t cafe racer


Arriving in 2014, the R NineT is a pure BMW product in its philosophy with retro styling and is meant to be made for tuners and customization enthusiasts as a "blank canvas for customization" (from BMW marketing)

On this bike, we find a flat engine resembling the Airhead (air/oil cooled twin cylinder), an inverted fork, a single rear shock, and a removable subframe.

The engine develops 109 horsepower at 7250 rpm.


rninet cafe racer 


Surfing on the neo-retro wave of the 2010s, BMW offers this model in a Racer version and several other versions.

But it's not the stock bikes that interest us here.

Here is the proposal of Hookie, a tuner who used to make nice preps before making small electric motorcycles and lunar vehicles...


blw cafe racer


They proposed a kit for this RNine-T to make it an even nicer bike.
On the program, a new subframe for a new horizontal line, a special aluminum tank, a 3d printed shell on top, a seat and a shell to assert the racing side.

The colors also add sportiness to this bike. The HOOKIE Cobra is a great success.

They proposed a kit for this RNine-T to make it an even cooler bike.
On the program, a new subframe for a new horizontal line, a special aluminum fuel tank, a 3d printed shell on top, a seat and a shell to assert the racing look.

The colors also add sportiness to this bike. The HOOKIE Cobra is a great success.  





Will you carry out your BMW cafe racer project on an old one? A youngtimer or a recent one?

Among the selection we made, what is your favorite customized BMW?

Have a good ride, Romain


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