Flying Brick: BMW K1100 Café Racer

BMW K1100 Cafe Racer
Dream Build Off Winner: Mitch Witkamp’s “Flying Brick”… 

The BMW K1100 was the final evolution of BMW’s so-called “Flying Bricks,” featuring a 1093cc inline-four with the 16-valve head from the K1. In 1992, the big ‘Brick put down 88.4 horsepower and 70.6 foot-pounds of torque on Cycle World‘s dyno, nearly 15 more than the old K100. 

“This is the best K-motor yet, and it comes in a state of tune that allows it to pull with the authority of a Bremen Harbor tugboat between about 5500 and 8000 rpm… You’ll find the bike capable of 0-60 times of 3.5 seconds, and 12.12-second/110.15-mph quarter-miles.” –Cycle World

Those are quite impressive performance numbers when you consider they were for the fully-loaded K1100LT, a 640-pound behemoth designed to rival the Goldwing.

BMW K1100 Cafe Racer

More recently, the K series bikes have become popular donors in the customs world, as builders have learned to strip down these aging tourers into powerful, brick-engined cafe racers and roadsters. There are some truly special K bikes out there, but few can rival this “Flying Brick” from Utah builder Mitch Witkamp, which we spied at the 2024 One Moto Show in Portland.

BMW K1100 Cafe Racer

One of Mitch’s brothers turned him onto bobbers when he was 21, which started his obsession with custom bikes. The ’95 K1100LT you see here was built for the Roland Sands Dream Build Off, and the idea began with a K100 that Mitch built for a friend.

“Once I built his bike, I knew I had to get my own because I had so many ideas I wanted to do on this bike.”

BMW K1100 Cafe Racer

We’ve truly never seen a K bike like this one. The sheer amount of handmade raw aluminum components and body parts is mind-boggling…especially when you realize that Mitch doesn’t even own an English wheel or planishing hammer!

“This involved a lot of welding, grinding, filing, and sanding. That was actually the process I used for this whole bike. Weld it, grind it, file it, sand it. Rinse and repeat. I have nothing against having the proper tools, I just don’t have an english wheel or planishing hammer so I worked with what I have. Those tools are on my list of tools to one day buy.”

BMW K1100 Cafe Racer

We’d say you damn well deserve them after this build, Mitch! He lists all the handmade pieces below, but a few highlights include the tank skirts, tail section, fork and headlight cowls, coolant and throttle body covers, and much, much more. The exhaust was welded from 204 separate pie-cuts, which Mitch did twice once he learned how to weld stainless better:

“I’m not afraid of making mistakes and then correcting them.”

BMW K1100 Cafe Racer

That’s the best way to learn! The same goes for the aluminum welding on the bike. It might not always be perfect, but Mitch did all of the work himself, learning as he went along. Then there’s the use of LED lighting, which we haven’t really seen in so sleek an application.

“It definitely has Tron vibes at night. It’s loud and obnoxious, just the way I like it.”

BMW K1100 Cafe Racer

And Mitch isn’t the only one that liked it. Roland Sands selected this glowing Brick as one of three overall winners of the Dream Build Off, meaning Mitch took home a brand new 2023 Indian Scout! Congrats and well-deserved, Mitch! We can’t wait to see what you do with the other bikes you’ve got “loaded in the chamber,” including the Indian itself.

BMW K1100 Cafe Racer

Below, we talk to Mitch for the full details of the build. Credit for the daylight photography goes Fouad “Moh” Mohiadeen (@astronaut_bear), our man on the ground at the recent One Moto Show, while the LED shots come courtesy of Mitch himself. Enjoy!

K1100 Cafe Racer: Builder Interview

BMW K1100 Cafe Racer

• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.

No workshop. I have lived in Utah my whole life. My brothers always had motorcycles growing up but I never got into them until the age of 21. My first bike was a Honda VLX600 that I rode for a while and almost sold until I had my brother show me what a “bobber” was. That’s when I decided to chop up my bike and see what I could come up with. After multiple changes and phases of the motorcycle I turned “Hooligan” into the bike that it is today (it’s the black and gold bike in the photos on my Instagram).

I got a good amount of positive feedback and I knew this was only the start of my obsession with two wheels.

I then built a café 1976 Honda CB750 and after that I got the CX500 and knew I wanted to do something I have never seen done to that bike before. And then I have the BMW K1100 build, which is my most recent.

Bikes that I have sitting in my garage loaded in the chamber (some partly worked on, some not):

WR450 that I want to turn into a super low supermoto, having the whole body made out of aluminum, with LED lights added into the body of the bike, similar to BMW.

XS500: exhaust run through frame, intake run through tank, etc.

2019 Ducati Multistrada: Turn this into my daily, but get rid of all the fairings and plastics, turn into cafe sport style of bike

2023 Indian Scout bobber: I won this bike through the Dream Build Off. I will eventually turn this bike into a drag/bobber.

• What’s the make, model, and year of the donor bike?

1995 BMW K1100LT.

BMW K1100 Cafe Racer

• Why was this bike built?

I had a friend ask me to build a K100 for him. Once I built his bike, I knew I had to get my own because I had so many ideas I wanted to do on this bike. The bike sat around for about a year until I found out that Roland Sands was putting on a built contest during COVID. That motivated me to get going. I didn’t end up finishing the bike (not even close) because of the sheer amount of work that was needed. It was still cool because Roland posted a few videos of him going through some bikes and he ended up making comments on my bike which was extremely cool for me. Why? Because I built my bobber (my first bike) because the Bobber picture that my brother showed me was one of Roland Sands’s bikes. He has been my favorite designer/builder and he is the reason why I got into building bikes.

BMW K1100 Cafe Racer

Fast forward a year, Roland Sands Design then put on a contest called The Dream Build Off. Three winners would walk away with brand new motorcycles. This really motivated me to push and finish the bike. I was able to finish the bike within the deadline and I ended up winning the CC class that my bike fell under. I won a 2023 Indian Scout Bobber.

• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?

I get influence from everything around me. I have so many folders full of pictures of motorcycles, cars, architecture, houses, industrial design, etc. I always knew I wanted to build a bike with LEDs and the K1100 fit the design I was going for. Having the raw aluminum helps hide all of the acrylic panels because the colors are pretty close. Everything else on the bike just flowed as I build it. I usually have a general idea of the design before I start but I definitely let the build flow as I build.

BMW K1100 Cafe Racer

• What custom work was done to the bike?
  • GSXR Front End
  • Wheels:
    • Front: Triumph Speed Triple
    • Rear: BMW K1200
  • Wheels look the same even though from different manufacturers.
  • Titanium bolts on the entire bike.
  • Suspension and subframe
  • Gas cap
  • Hand Made:
    • Tank skirts with LED acrylic panels
    • Motogadget Pro speedo housing
    • Coolant reservoir with sight glass
    • Seat pan and seat
    • Seat is done by @plzbeseated on Instagram
    • Tail section – acrylic panels, brake lights, tunneled for exhaust
    • 206 pie cut exhaust
    • 4 pie cut runners for throttle bodies
    • Throttle body cover
    • Coolant reservoir cover
    • Headlight and headlight cowl
    • Fork cowl with LED lights
    • LED tank badges
    • Hand sanded everything piece of aluminum to give a brushed look
    • Coolant hose covers
    • Mount for Scotts/Ohlins steering damper
    • Suspension reservoir mount
    • Electronics tray under tank
    • Relocation bracket for coils
    • Alt/Starter/frame cover
    • BMW emblem pull tab for choke
  • Motogadget hand controls left and right
  • Motogadget M-unit Blue
  • Clutch cable through cowl
  • Brembo levers
  • Brembo rear master
  • BSK rear sets
  • Cognito Moto top triple
  • Braided stainless lines on everything

BMW K1100 Cafe Racer

• Does the bike have a nickname?

These bikes have the nickname as the “flying brick.” So that’s what I call it. I have a “Flying Brick” badge that lights up on the top of my tank.

BMW K1100 Cafe Racer

• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride this bike?

It definitely has Tron vibes at night. It’s loud and obnoxious, just the way I like it. Overall it feels very planted and very responsive. With the two Brembo’s up front she stops as fast as you need her.


• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?

There are a few things I learned along the way that I will pass onto future builds. First, I learned how to, and how to NOT weld stainless. This was my first time welding stainless and I made my whole exhaust (200ish pieces). It was okay. Actually it was bad. I had someone notice my welds on Instagram and give me some pointers and that tremendously helped me correct some of the things I was doing wrong. The downside to this is that I had to start over, which I did. The exhaust on this bike is my second exhaust. So I’m not afraid of making mistakes and then correcting them.

BMW K1100 Cafe Racer

This was also my first time welding aluminum. Made a lot of mistakes and I learned more what not to do then what to do when it comes to aluminum. The aluminum on this bike isn’t perfect but it’s mine and I’m proud of that.

The biggest thing that I am proud about on this bike is the handmade pieces. I don’t have an english wheel or a planishing hammer. I listed all of the pieces that I made by hand. This involved a lot of welding, grinding, filing, and sanding.

BMW K1100 Cafe Racer

That was actually the process I used for this whole bike. Weld it, grind it, file it, sand it. Rinse and repeat. I have nothing against having the proper tools, I just don’t have an english wheel or planishing hammer so I worked with what I have. Those tools are on my list of tools to one day buy.

Follow the Builder

Youtube: @mitchwitkamp2451

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One Comment

  1. …..pipes from love canal…….

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