With the BMW airheads being one of the most popular base bikes for custom projects, prices of untouched models are rising and rising. Of course, they are easy to work on, there are plenty of parts available and a lot of parts are compatible within a wide range of R-series. Unless the fact that we see a lot (and I mean A LOT!) of awesome creations based on the BMW R-series, I have to be honest that it also gets a bit boring some times… Luckily, there are builders out there who get their hands dirty on other models and take their skills to work on the K-series. Maybe you remember this awesome BMW K100 Cafe Racer by Impuls? Or what about the awesome K1100 by De Angelis Elaborazione? So I was glad that I got my hands on some pictures of another great BMW K100 Café Racer.
Unless the fact that the BMW K100 may not seem the first choice by builders, it still is a great piece of Bavarian engineering. In the early 80’s, BMW faced a lot of competition from the Japanese brands. They were massively using water-cooled, 4 cylinder machines with a focus on performance and efficiency. People started buying these machines massively so BMW had to come up with their own 4 cylinder engine in order to defend their market share.
They didn’t start from scratch but sourced an engine by Peugeot. The 987cc engine from a 104 to be precise. In order to make this engine work on a BMW motorcycle, the engine was laid flat in the frame and needed some small mods to keep oil flowing the right way. The advantage of placing the engine like this was that the center of gravity was very low. This would improve handling and made room to locate the radiator just behind the front wheel. Using a car engine like this was never been done before and the general public was a little skeptic about it when BMW launched the K100 in 1982 and the bike soon went by the name “flying brick”.
The BMW K-series are running to get that “vintage” status and they are still pretty cheap if you compare them to their 2 cylinder ancestors. I think we can expect a lot more custom BMW K’s in the future. I think I might start liking them!
BMW K100 Cafe Racer Gallery
Photo’s by Mike Flores.