BMW K bikes (Bricks)

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FUYO

FUYO
active member
active member
Hi guys,

Looking to start a K Bike Cafe build but I need advice on which model to base it off of.

- the K100RS and the K75S both have a more "cafe-ish" riding position so those would be ideal as far as I understand (with plus points going to the 75 for smoothness). Does this riding position mean that you can keep the factory front fork and factory (short) handle bar? Even if not, is there a definite advantage in starting with one of these for the build?

- would other variants of the K100 and K75  (regular, RT, LT etc) would require more modification than the above models?

- basically what I'm interested in is whether I can just find a nice example in good shape and at a fair price, regardless of the variant because the amount of modification is either way similar as that in case of an RS/S, OR should I specifically be looking at the K100RS and the K75S because they're easier to turn into cafe racers?

    

Point-Seven-five

Point-Seven-five
Life time member
Life time member
Personally, I would look for a neglected specimen.  The cafe process will allow you to rework most of the signs of neglect.  It doesn't make sense to tear apart and chop up a bike in good condition, especially since the initial cost will be higher for the bike itself. 

If you start with a  basket case, your final product will have a good chance of costing about what you would be paying for a bike in good condition.  It also saves you the hassle of getting rid of the parts you remove.  The popularity of doing cafe conversions has lead to a glut of parts on the market, making it harder to get rid of the stuff you don't need.


__________________________________________________
Present:
1994 K75RT
1991 K100RS
1988 K100RS SE

Past:
1994 BMW K75S
1992 BMW K100RS
1982 Honda FT500
1979 Honda XR185
1977 Honda XL125
1974 Honda XL125
1972 OSSA Pioneer 250
1968 Kawasaki 175
    

Arlina

Arlina
Moderator
Moderator
Try a K1600 Razz 

The K75, 100 and 1100 are about the same rider position, handlebar is just what you place on them.
Bikes are like LEGO, many parts are exchangable.

Next, depends on what you want, it's better to take a runner in bad optical condition than a shiny bike wich has been sitting for years.
K100 (N/RS/RT/LT) Good bikes for longer trips.
K1100 (LT/RS) Even better for long trips, got the paralever (can be switched to monolever)
K75 (N/S/RT) Good choice shorttracker, won't take the RT, radiator hangs in front of the bike, to fix that, need the N or S hoses (and some bits and pieces).


__________________________________________________
Which K Bike is the best basis for a Cafe build? Eu-log10  K1100RS/LT - R1200RT - R1100RS (RIP) - Cagiva SST 350 Ala Verde - K75LT project - K75 Schurgers - K75S
    

FUYO

FUYO
active member
active member
Thanks for your replies! So what I understand from the above is:

- the variant doesn't really matter in terms of effort needed for a cafe conversion, as the main ingredient for the riding position, the handlebar, can be easily changed
- it's better to get a neglected example because much of it will need to be restored anyway

(correct me if I'm wrong)

    

Laitch

Laitch
Life time member
Life time member
@FUYO wrote:- basically what I'm interested in is whether I can just find a nice example in good shape and at a fair price
That seems to be the goal of shoppers for everything everywhere. You could have some competition over there. Laughing

Heat shouldn't be a problem on a caféish, naked Brick. What will be problematic is if your purchase has pitted fork tubes—repair could be impossible and OEM replacements could be difficult to find—or has been stored in humidity to an extent that could have degraded the electronic control units or wiring. Driveline shaft spline wear also can be a serious flaw in a used Brick but can't be seen without disassembly. The gamble is part of the fun. cheers


__________________________________________________
1995 K75 81,000 miles
Which K Bike is the best basis for a Cafe build? Usa-lo10
    

Arlina

Arlina
Moderator
Moderator
@FUYO wrote:Thanks for your replies! So what I understand from the above is:

- the variant doesn't really matter in terms of effort needed for a cafe conversion, as the main ingredient for the riding position, the handlebar, can be easily changed
- it's better to get a neglected example because much of it will need to be restored anyway

(correct me if I'm wrong)

Correct Smile


__________________________________________________
Which K Bike is the best basis for a Cafe build? Eu-log10  K1100RS/LT - R1200RT - R1100RS (RIP) - Cagiva SST 350 Ala Verde - K75LT project - K75 Schurgers - K75S
    

jbt

jbt
Gold member
Gold member
IMHO, no K bike is a good basis for a cafe racer.
The design of the frame is the worst you can imagine for this purpose if you intend to get a naked style.
What's why you see so much "projects" that never will be finished, or able to run properly and securely. Maybe 1% are well designed and made.
Yet, I' choose a 4V basis, as it allows to get rid of the flowmeter and its airbox, and provides good brakes and potential wide rims.


__________________________________________________
Let us enjoy the transient delight
That fills our fairest day.
    

moriarti

moriarti
Life time member
Life time member
Kawasaki Which K Bike is the best basis for a Cafe build? 8157 Which K Bike is the best basis for a Cafe build? 8157


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1984 k100 rs red/black VIN  0004449
    

Pete Riley

Pete Riley
active member
active member
Anything except a K Which K Bike is the best basis for a Cafe build? 261959

    

Dai

Dai
Life time member
Life time member
If you want to work with a K - what jbt says. Get a 4-valve engine. See this: https://cdn.returnofthecaferacers.com/bmw-motorcycles-cafe-racer/bmw-k1200rs-kagusta/


__________________________________________________
1983 K100 upgraded to K100RS spec, 1987 K100RT
Others...
1978 Moto Guzzi 850-T3, 1979 Moto Guzzi 850-T3 California,1993 Moto Guzzi 1100ie California
2020 Royal Enfield Bullet 500
    

11Back to top Go down   Which K Bike is the best basis for a Cafe build? Empty Which k bike Sun Oct 03, 2021 8:17 pm

daveyson

daveyson
Life time member
Life time member
Have you considered the lazy man's option? I often do. I think with cafe versions the difference between asking price and selling price is way more than usual. You could just buy a cafe'd bike. 

Probably the cheapest and easiest way to go.


__________________________________________________
11/1985 bmw k100rt (late model)  Vin. 0090567
 ~120,000 km
    

Jamie64

Jamie64
active member
active member
You could just buy the one i prepaired earlier

Which K Bike is the best basis for a Cafe build? Img_1130

    

Point-Seven-five

Point-Seven-five
Life time member
Life time member
If you're gonna do it, do it traditional. 

That Enfield is what a real cafe bike should be built from.  A big vertical thumper with a double down tube frame that wraps around the engine, a horizontal line in the bottom of the tank that follows the frame under the seat.  Spoked wheels and a chain drive with twin shocks in the back.


__________________________________________________
Present:
1994 K75RT
1991 K100RS
1988 K100RS SE

Past:
1994 BMW K75S
1992 BMW K100RS
1982 Honda FT500
1979 Honda XR185
1977 Honda XL125
1974 Honda XL125
1972 OSSA Pioneer 250
1968 Kawasaki 175
    

FUYO

FUYO
active member
active member
Thanks for all your replies!

My mind is pretty much made up, I'm going to be looking for a K75. 

I've been looking at a lot of cafe conversions of K bikes and I personally love how they look. Those boxy side valve covers that almost look like the ones on my E30 and how they make the whole bike look just spoke to me and there's no going back:)) Plus with the right adjustments they can have perfect lines (at least in my eyes) and I already have a good idea on what needs to be done to achieve that. Also, they are probably the cheapest BMW bikes you can get at the moment (apart from the F650 which is hopeless for what I want) so that's also a factor.

This is my biggest inspiration btw:
Which K Bike is the best basis for a Cafe build? Bmw-k100rs-cafe-racer

It's a K100, not a K75, but when I say the K bike spoke to me, this is always the image in my head <3 Love that bar under the seat that corrects the overall line and the way the back indicators are just inserted into the holes where the frame has been cut. It's classic with a twist of modern/minimal, which is basically my mantra in life:)) The only thing I'll do differently on mine is cut the frame a bit further back so that the seat will fit 2 people.

So back to the issue at hand, my dilemma was around the K100 vs K75, but after research and talking to friends who know more about bikes than I do, the K75 has a clear advantage as far as I can tell - it's lighter -> more nimble around town -> easier to manage, runs smoother, has less of a heat issue, plus the line of the fuel tank is more adequate for a cafe conversion. And I'm a beginner so 75hp is more than enough for me. A clear win for the K75 I'd say.

I would never buy anything that has already been modified by someone else - I've never done it with my E30s and I'm not gonna start now:)) I can get pretty anal with details and I need to have everything done according to my own taste - otherwise what's the point? Also, cafe'd ones cost 3-4000 euro here and 5-6000 in Germany for ex and they're not exactly what I want anyway. So it makes no sense to buy one ready made when I can get an original one for around 1000 euro and do what I want with it. But I'm in no hurry. Will probably look for a neglected K75 soon, get it shipped over here, get it to my friend's shop (they've done a K100 conversion already) and start working on it slowly, as my budget allows it. Oh, and I need to get my license sometime inbetween:))

    

jbt

jbt
Gold member
Gold member
Maybe, when training for your licence, you'll ride a motorcycle? And then realize that fenders are useful, specially at spring when the gastric system of the cattle has to deal with fresh grass.
And realize that this stunning streamline and the leaning position it implies is not as aerodynamic than your position on the massage table of or physiotherapist because of a blocked vertebra.
Or consider that, finally, BMW so old fashion engineers kwew what they were doing when they designed the K, a perfectly balanced motorcycle, to be driven for real, not on Instagram, with no efforts nor fatigue thanks to many little details that seem ugly but are essential to this riding experience more than 30 km. Did you know that the center of gravity has a very specific location on a K, that allows to be so easy to lean and ride? When removing bits, this location changes, so the feeling is, and not for better.
I like café racers. I've built some for 30 years, before it was a fashion, when every part had to be brain thought and hand made instead of bought on Amazon. Based on BMW flat twins, Kawasaki Z four cylinder, Aermacchi 350 and Yamaha 500 and 600 singles . All of them were adapted bases to this style of transformations. K are not... Simply not.


__________________________________________________
Let us enjoy the transient delight
That fills our fairest day.
    

Laitch

Laitch
Life time member
Life time member
@jbt wrote:Maybe . . .

cheers


__________________________________________________
1995 K75 81,000 miles
Which K Bike is the best basis for a Cafe build? Usa-lo10
    

Holister

Holister
Life time member
Life time member
K-bikes are popular for cafe projects because they look mean and beefy but their practicality in reality, falls way short imo.
I had the chance to ride a cafe'd K100 monolever a little while back, just around the city and local city freeways. The bike was lowered and the front and had a slightly shorter shock on the rear. Clip-on bars but standard foot pegs. It had shitty chunky tyres just for looks. Overall it was a real pig to ride. The wheelbase and larger turning circle of the K make it difficult to maneuver especially in the city at lower speeds but the tiny bars made that a lot worse. It was a bit lighter than a standard K but still a heavy bike.
The seat was flat and uncomfortable but it was fairly standard form for cafe'd bikes. TBH after half an hour I was so glad to get off that tortured soul of a bike. So sad. Everyone seemed to like it but the owner told me he didn't really ride it much.

I used to love cafe'd bikes but I think in recent years the movement has lost it's way. Nowadays, anything goes and with the proliferation of 'hybrids', for want of a better term, mostly they just look hideous and ugly with no practicality.
That's just how I see it.


__________________________________________________

1989 K100RT     VIN  0097367 (naked)  
1996 K1100RS   VIN  0451808
  Which K Bike is the best basis for a Cafe build? Austra12    Fuel:  95 Octane
Engine Oil: Nulon Full Synthetic 15W50
Gear Box Oil:  Nulon Synthetic 75W90
    

Point-Seven-five

Point-Seven-five
Life time member
Life time member
@Holister wrote:K-bikes are popular for cafe projects because they look mean and beefy but their practicality in reality, falls way short imo.
I had the chance to ride a cafe'd K100 monolever a little while back, just around the city and local city freeways. The bike was lowered and the front and had a slightly shorter shock on the rear. Clip-on bars but standard foot pegs. It had shitty chunky tyres just for looks. Overall it was a real pig to ride. The wheelbase and larger turning circle of the K make it difficult to maneuver especially in the city at lower speeds but the tiny bars made that a lot worse. It was a bit lighter than a standard K but still a heavy bike.
The seat was flat and uncomfortable but it was fairly standard form for cafe'd bikes. TBH after half an hour I was so glad to get off that tortured soul of a bike. So sad. Everyone seemed to like it but the owner told me he didn't really ride it much.

I used to love cafe'd bikes but I think in recent years the movement has lost it's way. Nowadays, anything goes and with the proliferation of 'hybrids', for want of a better term, mostly they just look hideous and ugly with no practicality.
That's just how I see it.
While I have never had the opportunity to ride one myself, your impressions match what I expect the cafe K riding experience to be. 

I'm old enough to recall the cafe movement of the 60's.  Back then, bikes were under-powered compared to modern bikes and lightening them up made a big difference in performance.  A tucked riding position allowed a modest improvement in aerodynamic drag for a higher top speed.  Today's bikes produce many times as much power as those old bikes so the gains in "performance" are minimal and useless in most riding situations, especially in urban areas where these bikes are so popular. 

I guess that is why most cafe bikes spend their final years as garage sculptures.  Interesting to look at, but clumsy and uncomfortable means of travel.


__________________________________________________
Present:
1994 K75RT
1991 K100RS
1988 K100RS SE

Past:
1994 BMW K75S
1992 BMW K100RS
1982 Honda FT500
1979 Honda XR185
1977 Honda XL125
1974 Honda XL125
1972 OSSA Pioneer 250
1968 Kawasaki 175
    

Laitch

Laitch
Life time member
Life time member
@Point-Seven-five wrote:I'm old enough to recall the cafe movement of the 60's.  Back then, bikes were under-powered compared to modern bikes and lightening them up made a big difference in performance.  
If the historical record is of any use, the major difference between the original cafe racers and what we're seeing today is that back then, the removal of fenders wasn't a thing. Even clip-ons were optional and the actual objective of outlaw racing seemed to be its own reward. The proportion of posers to actual street-racers was likely the same as today—heavy on the poser side. Laughing
Which K Bike is the best basis for a Cafe build? The-hi10

Which K Bike is the best basis for a Cafe build? The-hi11

Which K Bike is the best basis for a Cafe build? Sox1210
@Point-Seven-five wrote: Interesting to look at, but clumsy and uncomfortable means of travel.
Kind of like an MG Midget loaded for a cross-country trip with two people. Smile

@FUYO wrote:Will probably look for a neglected K75 soon, get it shipped over here, get it to my friend's shop (they've done a K100 conversion already) and start working on it slowly, . . .

The first step—after getting it running—could be to mount clip-on handlebars on the fork tubes that the original switch gear will fit, then take it for a ride. That might be revelatory.



Last edited by Laitch on Sun Oct 10, 2021 12:55 am; edited 1 time in total


__________________________________________________
1995 K75 81,000 miles
Which K Bike is the best basis for a Cafe build? Usa-lo10
    

Dai

Dai
Life time member
Life time member
L -> R: Norton Domiracer, Triumph 650 Bonneville, BSA Goldstar DBD32(?), BSA Goldstar DBD34, BSA Goldstar DBD34 outside the Ace Cafe in London.

I've seen that picture before, but I can't remember where. Possibly in a magazine article on the Ace Cafe.


__________________________________________________
1983 K100 upgraded to K100RS spec, 1987 K100RT
Others...
1978 Moto Guzzi 850-T3, 1979 Moto Guzzi 850-T3 California,1993 Moto Guzzi 1100ie California
2020 Royal Enfield Bullet 500
    

Saxon7

Saxon7
Life time member
Life time member
L -> R: Norton Domiracer, Triumph 650 Bonneville, BSA Goldstar DBD32(?), BSA Goldstar DBD34, BSA Goldstar DBD34 outside the Ace Cafe in London.

I've seen that picture before, but I can't remember where. Possibly in a magazine article on the Ace Cafe.



There are 2 Triumphs in the second pic and no Triumphs in the 3rd.

I think cafe racers are hilarious and the modern take on a cafe racer even more so. Take a perfectly competent, well handling bike, make it look ugly and asymetrical, put ridiculous tyres on it and make a riding position utterly unsuitable for any practical riding in a country as big as Australia and Bob's your aunty Mary.

On the other hand, it's your bike and your choice. As far as K bikes go, each type shares the same basic platform. That is: Every K75 shares essentially the same frame, chassis, motor and gearbox and running gear. Each K100 also shares the same platform until we come to the 4 valves per cylinder models. There are differences between models in regards to final drive rations. So in reality you are left with a choice of three; K75? K100 or K1100? (the variants are immaterial).

Perhaps it comes down to price or availability, condition versus your skills in regards to rebuilding it. As someone else suggested, buying an RT or LT variant will leave you with a pile of plastic bits that you will no longer need. Some people give them away to K bike Kameraden; other people ask the cost of the entire cafe build as a way of sponsoring it. You know where I'm heading with that. Kameradschaftsmässig, natürlich..  Very Happy

    

Holister

Holister
Life time member
Life time member
I guess my first experience with cafe style machines was back in the early 70s when I was around 16, my brother owned a Norton Commando Fastback with clip-ons and a very sleek bikini fairing. We'd go for a blast out into the sticks so I could take a ride. Add to that the sights and smells of racing at Mount Panorama AU in the early 70s. It really cements the concept of biking into your psyche.
Some of the modern cafe'd machines look quite good, but many don't and when you've lived in a time, as many here have, when the early superbikes were first being built, I find it difficult to reconcile the radical surgery some of these modern project bikes undergo when we saw them and rode them back then. It seems that 'cafe' these days means you take to it with an angle grinder and that just doesn't sit too well with me.
My daughter is into the cafe scene but her lovingly restored and 'tricked' Kwaka 550 is a conservative build. She likes it like that. She's put a lot of time and effort into it. Last bit is the seat but baby and business has taken its toll on her priorities.Which K Bike is the best basis for a Cafe build? Hannah10


__________________________________________________

1989 K100RT     VIN  0097367 (naked)  
1996 K1100RS   VIN  0451808
  Which K Bike is the best basis for a Cafe build? Austra12    Fuel:  95 Octane
Engine Oil: Nulon Full Synthetic 15W50
Gear Box Oil:  Nulon Synthetic 75W90
    

Dai

Dai
Life time member
Life time member
@Saxon7 wrote:There are 2 Triumphs in the second pic and no Triumphs in the 3rd.
You're right. I missed the sticky-out crankcase bit on the far left bike.


__________________________________________________
1983 K100 upgraded to K100RS spec, 1987 K100RT
Others...
1978 Moto Guzzi 850-T3, 1979 Moto Guzzi 850-T3 California,1993 Moto Guzzi 1100ie California
2020 Royal Enfield Bullet 500
    

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