BMW R100RT Cafe Racer

BMW Airhead Cafe Racers

BMW “Airheads” are mainly those motorcycles which feature the BMW 247 engine — an air-cooled, two-valve, flat-twin boxer engine produced from 1969 to 1995. The “/5” (Slash 5) series were introduced in 1969, “/6” (Slash 6) series in 1974, and “/7” (Slash 7) series in 1977.

The Airheads were never seen as the lightest, fastest, or nimblest motorcycles on the market, but they earned a reputation as soundly engineered, immanently roadworthy machines. In the last few decades, they’ve become a favorite of customizers, who convert their Airheads into cafe racers.

Typically, such a conversion involves stripping the bike of any factory fairings, installing clip-on handlebars, fabricating a performance exhaust, possible suspension and brake upgrades, a solo seat or tail section, and more. Many builders cut off the old subframe and fabricate a new one, and engine performance upgrades are common as well.

Below is a selection of the many Airhead cafe racers we’ve featured.

BMW R100 Cafe Bobber High-Spec: BMW R100-HS by Magnum Opus - The BMW R100 was the last and most powerful of the beloved airheads, boasting a 980cc air-cooled boxer engine that made 70 horsepower at 7000 rpm. When BMW Motorrad tried to cease production in the… ...read more
BMW R75/7 Cafe Racer Silver Specials: Garage-Built BMW R75/7 Cafe Racers - Son and stepfather duo build a pair of silver specials... The BMW R75/7, available from 1976-79, was the 750 variant of the classic airhead design, offering a great compromise of power and economy. In 1977,… ...read more
BMW R100RT Cafe Racer Blue Racer: BMW R100 by Seb’s Atelier - The BMW R100 was the last of the airheads, with nearly 1000cc of flat-twin punch on tap and all the history of the legendary boxer engine concentrated into a single machine.  When Sebastien Ledis of… ...read more
BMW R100 Supermoto Flatbanger: BMW R100R Supermoto by Rind Performance - Flatbanger: A Supermoto-inspired Airhead from Germany... The BMW R100 was the last of the legendary BMW airheads, featuring a 980cc flat-twin boxer engine and BMW Paralever rear suspension coupled with a single-sided swingarm. The engine… ...read more
BMW R100 Cafe Bobber BMW R100 Cafe / Bobber by Magnum Opus - In 1976, BMW introduced the /7 series, including the 980cc, 70-hp R100. The bikes would remain in production for two decades...excluding a brief pause in 1985 when the company tried to cease production in favor… ...read more
BMW R100 CUSTOM Golden Ratios: BMW R100 by La Motocicletta - A BMW Airhead built according to the golden ratio... For many custom builders, one of the challenges is balancing their own style, vision, and design direction with the wishes and ambitions of the customer. After… ...read more
BMW R50 Cafe Racer “BMW 60+” Café Racer: Same Owner for 59 Years! - BMW R50/69S Café Racer: same owner since 1960! A few weeks ago, we received a message from Jeff Thommen of Switzerland about this father's 1960 BMW R50/69: "I'd like to submit my father's bike, which… ...read more
BMW R75/5 Cafe Racer Descending Dragon: BMW R75/5 “HaLong” - Introduced in 1970, the R75/5 was the largest BMW motorcycle of the time, offering a 750cc, 50-horsepower boxer engine capable of pushing the machine to 110 mph. The entire "Slash 5" or "/5" series, which… ...read more
BMW R65 Tracker BMW R65 Urban Tracker by Duc Tran - Motorcycles have a special way of healing us and preserving our sanity in a world that can be incredibly chaotic and painful. So it was for Duc Tran, a young father in Austin, Texas, who's… ...read more
BMW R65 3 Cafe Racer BMW R65/3 Cafe Racer by Toro Moto - Before opening Tuscany's Toro Moto, founder Riccardo Micheli worked as an official BMW Motorrad technician for 15 years and crewed in various racing championships, most notably the old 2-stroke 250cc MotoGP class. Finally he struck… ...read more
BMW R80RT Cafe Racer BMW R80RT Cafe Racer by Liberty Motorcycles - "The more you look, the more you see." Chris Edwards of Liberty Motorcycles left school at the age of 15 to become a motorcycle mechanic. Since then, he's worked a wide variety of bikes, even… ...read more
BMW R65 Cafe Racer BMW R65 Cafe Racer: “John Player Special” - A single-seat, JPS-inspired tribute to Mario Andretti's days at Team Lotus... In 1976, Mario Andretti joined Team Lotus, driving the John Player Special (JPS) F1 cars into championship winning form. The signature gold-and-black livery of… ...read more
BMW R100RS Cafe Racer BMW Silver Bullet MK2 by XTR Pepo x Revival of the Machine - Updated:  The Silver Bullet becomes more racer, more XTR...more Pepo! Last year, we saw the launch of the 1978 BMW R100RS "Silver Bullet," the first-ever motorcycle designed by Revival of the Machine -- one of… ...read more
Custom BMW R65 Cafe Racer “BSW B40” Cafe Racer by Nexxtoy - Unconventional wedding with a British girl... Thierry Coulon ("Terry") of Bourdeaux's Nexxtoy is a graphic designer and handyman who has been pursuing his motorbike passion for more than forty years -- a passion that came… ...read more
BMW R100R Scrambler BMW R100R Scrambler by Cafe Racer SSpirit - Cafe Racer SSpirit of Spain has become one of our favorite builders in recent years. Their build process is highly collaborative with their customers. They like to say they take a journey with their clients,… ...read more
BMW R100 Brat Cafe BMW R100R Brat Cafe by Rough Cycles - Rough Cycles of Berlin was founded in 2011.  Since then, the shop has grown to include three guys and two dogs.  They mainly specialize in repairing and customizing Harley Davidsons. However, after more than a… ...read more
BMW R80 Cafe Racer BMW R80 Cafe Racer by Ironwood Custom Motorcycles - The Netherlands never ceases to amaze us with custom after beautiful custom.  Perhaps it's that Dutch eye for design, paired with a culture that loves two wheels.  After all, more than 31% of the population… ...read more
BMW-R100-Cafe-Racer-8 1983 BMW R100 Cafe Racer by Ironwood Motorcycles - Arjan van den Boom is the founder of Ironwood Custom Motorcycles, an Amsterdam-based custom garage founded by him and Nick de Ruijter in 2012, and he's quickly becoming our favorite man in Amsterdam.  We've featured… ...read more
BMW R100 Tracker by Urban Motor of Berlin -   Here we have "Stummelstolle," a beautiful BMW R100R tracker built by Urban Motor of Berlin. It was shot by Christopher Rausch of Motor Rausch. With 65-70 horsepower from that 980cc boxer engine, and even… ...read more