If you’ve kept up with the custom motorcycle scene, you know how hot BMW customs are right now. At Wunderlich America, we’re huge fans of all things BMW, including the mind-blowing customs that keep popping up all over the globe. With 2015 coming to a close, we decided to comb the web for our favorite custom BMW builds from last year. Yes, it’s almost spring—but it really did take us that long to find the best builds of 2015.
Here they are—the Top Custom BMW Motorcycles that made the cut. We’ve broken them down into prize categories based on motorcycle type and whether the final product emphasizes vintage or modern styling. We found 20 bikes total–and many, many more that we couldn’t include because of space. To all the great custom shops out there: CONGRATS on a fantastic year, and keep up the good work.
CORRECTION: many of these photos were edited by Inazuma Cafe Racer. Our team did not initially realize that the photos we sourced from Inazuma were different from the originals created by the builders. We initially published this article without proper attribution to Inazuma Cafe Racer. We have corrected this problem to the best of our knowledge. Please email Paul Wolf, edtior, press [at] wunderlichamerica [dot] com, with any further corrections.
Let’s check out the winners.
1st PRIZE, TOP CUSTOM BMW 2015
MODERN CAFE RACERS
- 1st Prize: HPNineT (High Octane Speed Shop)
- 2nd Prize: The Heinrich Maneuver (Deus Customs)
- 3rd Prize: Brown (Johnnie Wash)
- 4th Prize: Sun Kist (BikeBiz)
CLASSIEST BOXER TRANSFORMATIONS
- 1st Prize: Il Baron (Jan de Saeger)
- 2nd Prize: 1976 R100S (46Works)
- 3rd Prize: 1987 R80 (Le French Atelier)
- 4th Prize: Gabriel (Urban Motor)
- 5th Prize: 1983 R65 (Rat Bikes)
VINTAGE STREET SCRAMBLERS
MODERN STREET SCRAMBLERS
TOP CUSTOM BMW 2015, 1st Prize: Bavarian Fistfighter (Rough Crafts)
We found this incredible motorcycle over at Inazuma Cafe Racer. You almost can’t believe it on first sight. You have to look again. Is this thing real? Oh yeah. It’s as real as those skidmarks on the pavement, and it’s been totally murdered out. Say hi and shake a sweaty hand with the Bavarian Fistfighter, the Number 1 Custom BMW Motorcycle of 2015, built by Winston Yeh of Rough Crafts.
That’s right. Six inches wide, smooth as a baby’s bottom, and ready to burn. Oh, and that tire hugs a custom wheel designed and fabricated by Rough Crafts. This one is café racer up front, superbike in the rear.
This solo seat has survived from the 1950s. It now has a second life wrapped in leather on the Bavarian Fistfighter. Speaking of vintage-turned-modern, that tank is ’70s-inspired. It takes cues from the best of BMW’s work in the ’70s.
We’re looking at Behringer controls, Brembo brakes, and a custom rear shock from Gears Racing. This thing blows past you even when it’s sitting still.
Rough Crafts has established themselves as a custom shop to watch. The Bavarian Fistfighter isn’t their only stunning build. Founder Winston Yeh has established himself as a leader in the global custom scene. We can’t wait to see what Rough Crafts comes up with next.
MODERN CAFE RACER, 1st Prize: HPNineT (High Octane Speed Shop)
Okay, there must be something about the R nineT that lends itself to incredible custom designs. We’re seeing more and more of them these days—and the HPNineT from High Octane Speed Shop just plain blows our socks off.
Jeffry Sol at High Octane is the mastermind behind this machine. The whole thing is sculpted from bare aluminum. With that streamlined front fairing hitting continuous lines all the way to the back end, the design is clearly an homage to the early days of saltflat racing bikes.
According to an awesome interview in Return of the Café Racers, Jeffry Sol builds everything in a residential neighborhood in Naarden, the Netherlands. High Octane Speed Shop is a one-man band, and that lets Jeffry control every aspect of his projects. That care shows in the HPNineT. It’s a beauty.
MODERN CAFE RACER, 2nd Prize: The Heinrich Maneuver (Deus Customs)
Stunning R nineT builds have started cropping up all over the globe—but few are more stunning than the Heinrich Maneuver. Deus Customs, arguably the hottest custom shop down under, transformed this R nineT into a café racer that’s the ultimate fusion of tradition and contemporary.
The white gloss in the tank is awesome, too—oh, and that tank: it was entirely custom-fabricated by Motoretro. It really centers the bike’s look. We can’t imagine the Heinrich Maneuver with any other tank.
All in all, the Heinrich Maneuver really blows us away. It’s not every day you see this level of genius bringing together seemingly unrelated concepts to create a cohesive whole. The execution on this one is top-notch.
MODERN CAFE RACER, 3rd Prize: Brown (Johnnie Wash)
The Brazilians are fast making names for themselves in the global custom scene. Brazilian custom shop Johnnie Wash is no exception. Their work is awesome. Though they tend to specialize in cruisers and choppers, don’t leave them off your list of café racer master craftsmen. Say hello to Brown, their R nineT creation, brought to our attention by this post in Return of the Café Racers.
Brown is the work of Ricardo Medrano, the manager of Johnnie Wash. Ricardo’s design doesn’t include any modifications to the frame or the wiring, which means the bike can be returned to factory specs. Brown is the burliest of 3 custom R nineT models which Johnnie Wash offers.
For us, one of the coolest things about this bike is the custom ABS plastic parts. All of these parts were modeled in SolidWorks and 3D-printed. The resulting fit is absolutely incredible. It’s a great final touch to a fantastic custom.
MODERN CAFE RACER, 4th Prize: Sun Kist (Bike Biz)
This one is a beauty. A lot of guys want to customize their R nineT, but they’re worried about voiding the warranty. According to Return of the Café Racers, Australian shop BikeBiz came up with a solution: a custom R nineT ordered from them, shipped with its own factory warranty. For café racer enthusiasts who want to take the R nineT to the next level, that’s a godsend.
Those who know their history will recognize the look here: it’s an homage to Hans Muth’s famous BMW R90S. For those who need a refresher (we won’t tell), here you go:
We get that same gorgeous golden-orange sunburst, plus a nice emphasis on red in the trim. The front fairing pays homage, too, though Bike Biz has gone a little more aerodynamic than we could expect of Hans in the ‘70s. Overall, this one’s a beauty.
CLASSIEST BOXER TRANSFORMATION, 1st Prize: Type 10 (Autofabrica)
Not a café racer, and definitely not a scrambler, say hello to one of the most unique boxer transformations we’ve ever seen. This is the Type 10 from Autofabrica. It started life as an old BMW R80 RT monolever. In the words of Bujar Muharremi, Autofabrica cofounder and creative director, this bike came to the shop “looking a bit like a late ’80s mess.” Bujar and his team masterminded a stunning transformation of this motorcycle.
Those pipes are hand-bent 316 stainless steel, and they have custom internal baffles. Not only that, but the pipes exit the cylinder heads on each side while swooping only to the right side for exhaust ejection. It’s a brilliant, unique twist on the boxer exhaust configuration.
The folks at Autofabrica did away with the traditional loop in the rear. Instead, they took the opportunity to design and fabricate some seat modern styling from the ground up.
The rear light is distributed through an acrylic plate, which gives the bike an awesome look from behind, especially at night.
All in all, the Type 10 from Autofabrica is a refreshing take on the good ol’ R80 RT. We would love to get our hands on this, but alas, we’ll have to keep dreaming. Of course, we’ll watch Autofabrica to see what great ideas they come up with next. For more information, see their Facebook page and website.
CLASSIEST BOXER TRANSFORMATION, 2nd Prize: Big Fish (Macco Motors)
As Andrew reports in this article on Pipeburn, this ’74 BMW R90/6 came to Macco Motors in bad shape. The engine was unsalvageable, and Jose and Tito, the guys at Macco, had to replace it with a ’90s R80 motor. You would never know this build started life in such a terrible condition!
Of course, this build isn’t strictly a custom; it’s more of a resto-mod. And while it’s not outlandish, this project really caught our eye for its overall balance. It’s a brilliant vintage look, and it’s a great take on the classic boxer steed. The all-black wheels and hardware with the blue tank and the brown leather—man, it’s a work of art.
VINTAGE BOBBER, 1st Prize: Il Baron (Jan de Saeger)
We found this one over at Inazuma Café Racer, who also edited these photos. Information on this motorcycle is scarce, but clearly, this custom R60/7 is a beauty. One glance, and you’ll agree: this build is absolutely stunning. The best part? It’s for sale on Café Racer Onderdelen. Soak up these photos from Tom Van Damme, and head over to his Flickr and Facebook pages for more incredible photography.
VINTAGE BOBBER, 2nd Prize: ’76 R100S (46Works)
Shiro Nakajima founded Ritmo Sereno, a European bike shop, in 2001. In 2014, he left Ritmo Sereno and started a new endeavor, 46Works. From his shop at the foot of Mt. Yatsugatake, he builds custom motorcycles, parts for classic cars, and original furniture. We found this bike over at Pipeburn, where they did a fantastic write-up the bike.
We can’t get enough of his ’76 BMW R100S. The build is absolutely sick. You have flawless custom metal fabrication. You have a killer paint job—white engine, chocolatey-maroon tank and frame, and a white final drive/brake box. Do you like ‘em best from the front, or from the rear? With this bike, it’s hard to choose.
VINTAGE BOBBER, 3rd Prize: ’87 R80 (Le French Atelier)
These days, the good old R80 is really coming into its own on the custom scene. This ’87 BMW R80 by Le French Atelier is no exception to that trend. In fact, you might say it’s one of the most innovative R80s to come out of a custom shop in quite some time. Thanks to Inazuma Cafe Racer for finding this one.
The R80 from Le French Atelier is a fusion of themes. This one is part bobber, part café racer—with a little dragster thrown in for good measure. As Le French Atelier says on their website, they wanted a super-low bike with a dragster look. They nailed it. The bike was inspired by the Black Pearl, a 2014 build by Blitz founder Hugo.
Another thing we love about this bike: the color scheme. It’s gray. Gorgeous gray. In this case, less is more. The understated color scheme really brings out the fantastic trim and cohesive look of this gnarly moto.
VINTAGE BOBBER, 4th Prize: Gabriel (Urban Motor)
German custom shop Urban Motor built this in motorcycle in cooperation with their friends David and Valeria of El Solitario, in Spain. David named the bike Gabriel. We couldn’t imagine a better name for this beautiful bobber.
What have we here? Looks like rear suspension by Hagon and a fat Dunlop K70 Gold Seal. We also have a handmade leather seat by El Solitario, which really adds a sexy touch to this beast. Gabriel is a truly beautiful beast.
Motor: Fourstroke-Twin-Boxer, aircooled, two valves per cylinder. Cylinder capacity 798 ccm, Bing-constant depression carburetor Ø 32 mm. E-starter, five-speed transmission.
VINTAGE BOBBER, 5th Prize: 1983 R65 LS (Rat Bikes)
This stunning vintage bobber comes to us from Rat Bikes, arguably Poland’s neatest BMW custom shop. This motorcycle started life as a 1983 BMW R65 LS.
It’s great to see this take on the classic bobber style. The seat is spot on, and the red and yellow paint job takes us back to the early days of motorcycles. Hard to believe this one is an ’83!
K-SERIES TRANSFORMATION, 1st Prize: Capobranco (Roscoo Moto)
What have we here? Looks like a 1984 K100 that’s undergone a brilliant transformation. It’s no secret—the ol’ flying brick isn’t everyone’s favorite Beemer. But in this case, Roscoo Moto has taken one of BMW’s less stellar platforms and turned it into a totally boss café racer. Thanks to Inazuma Cafe Racer for discovering this bike and publishing it for the first time.
Don’t fight the brick. Work with the brick. Roscoo Moto did just that. The bare geometric tubing and angular fairings fit the engine perfectly. Maybe this is what BMW should’ve done in the first place. Oh, and the slogan? Kennscht me noch? means, “Do you recognize me?” It was the motto of Friedrich “Fritz” Paul Kempf, the famous German WWI ace. Kempf had the motto painted on the side of his infamous Fokker triplane.
Those intake ducts are handmade out of stainless steel and brush-finished.
K-SERIES TRANSFORMATION, 2nd Prize: ’86 K100 Café Racer (Nitro Cycles)
Nitro Cycles, based in Spain, is a relatively new player in the European custom scene—but don’t let their age fool you: their work is phenomenal. As far as café racers go, it doesn’t get much more ingenious than their transformation of this ’86 K100. Didn’t think you could make a café racer out of a Flying Brick, eh? Neither did we—but take a look.
According to Return of the Café Racers, this bike came to Nitro Cycles disassembled, in cardboard boxes—and unlabeled. The first stage of the build involved—well, building the thing. After that, Nitro Cycles embarked on the customization. This included custom-designed and fabricated fairings, both front and rear, as well as new metal covers for the engine. Nitro Cycles really wanted to do something great with the exhaust, so they worked in an Akrapovic muffler. Killer.
VINTAGE SCRAMBLER, 1st Prize: Six Nights (Urban Motor)
We saw an amazing build from German custom shop Urban Motor at the beginning of this article. And now, for something completely different! Once a year, Urban Motor takes time to create something totally new. Not for a customer, not off a commission, but straight out of the imagination of the shop’s designers. Six Nights is Urban Motor’s take on an urban dirt bike—part café racer, part scrambler, part motocross. This one’s a beauty.
We’re looking at a Tommaselli handlebar with Ariete grips and a front fork that’s been shortened approximately 7cm. Continental TKC 80 tires feature a self-cleaning tread pattern and are optimized for both street and dirt.
Up front, we have a Motogadget Motoscope mini instrument. It’s a nice modern touch to this take on a ’70s dirt-bike. The light-up display brings a quirkiness that really rounds out this scrambler-cum-café-racer.
We can’t decide if we like this bike better from the front or the back. One look at that seat, and you can see why. It’s real leather, custom-built by Urban Motor. Underneath, you’ll see two custom exhaust manifolds in stainless steel.
In the words of Peter from Urban Motor, this urban dirt bike is “light, flashy, pretentious… but still a hell of a ride! Six Days are hard work—Six Nights the compensation!” We couldn’t agree more. Six Nights is one of the neatest builds to come out of 2015.
VINTAGE SCRAMBLER, 2nd Prize: Boxer Country (MotoRecyclos)
Italian custom shop MotoRecyclos wowed us with this offering. It’s a beautiful R80 now lovingly known as Boxer Country. As quoted in Pipeburn, Pierluigi Portolano, founder and designer at MotoRecyclos, believes that “When one thinks of a new bike the real challenge is not distorting it, but rather being able to grasp the essence and merge it with a new personality.” MotoRecyclos has done just that with Boxer Country.
As Pipeburn reports, the color scheme is taken from a legendary racing company from Turin, Abarth. These colors harken back to the golden age of racing culture. They make Boxer Country both old and new—exactly the fusion which Pierluigi envisioned.
You’re looking at an R70 tank, which MotoRecyclos chose to buck stereotypes in boxer rebuilds. Looks like they were successful. It’s all in the details on this bike.
We’re not the only ones taking notice of Boxer Country. In December 2015, BMW Motorrad France shared the bike on their Facebook page. As they put it, “For the special Friday, we offer you a very nice preparation named Boxer Country that was based on an R80.” Congrats to MotoRecyclos on a fantastic build.
VINTAGE STREET SCRAMBLER, 1st Prize: The Hero (Kevil’s Speed Shop)
The Hero is a gorgeous take on the BMW R80 Monolever. UK-based Kevil’s Speed Shop has really upped the ante with this dark and disturbing little scrambler. In particular, we love the color combo: black (lots of it), seductive leather, and the gray-green tank to balance it all out.
Kevil’s Speed Shop is based in the English Riviera. The shop was established six years ago by Kevin Hill. From an early age, Kevin had a passion for motorcycles, and he has consistently led the way when it comes to custom BMWs. With a dedicated team, he has served clients all over the globe. As his clients regularly report, they cherish their Kevil’s bikes.
You’re looking at satin black frame work, fork sliders, yokes, and wheels. Yep. Black is definitely the new black.
Since this is a monolever, the front and back wheels are the same size. The ride here is nice and smooth thanks to Avon safety mileage 400×18 tires. These are chunky, and they’re good on wet pavement.
Black satin Bates bottom mount headlamp, yellow side light, low wide 28mm – 22mm black satin handle bars, and brown clear barrel grips set up the front of this scrambler. Overall, it’s a gorgeous build. Kevil’s Speed Shop is one to watch.
VINTAGE STREET SCRAMBLER, 2nd Prize: Lucifero (Emporio Elaborazioni Meccaniche)
We love transformations of vintage motorcycles. The Lucifero from Emporio Laborazioni Meccaniche is one fantastic build!
MODERN SCRAMBLER, 1st Prize: Urban Scrambler (Officine Sbranetti)
As Officine Sbrannetti says on their Facebook page, this is “another whale GS.” Jody from Officine was quoted in Motoreetto as saying, “to us it resembles a small tank, but elegant.” We couldn’t agree more! There’s something charming and quirky about this little humpbacked GS.
Of course, there’s nothing charming or quirky about this bike’s performance. It’s an R1100 GS, and that means pure boxer power. You can’t argue with that! But for us, it’s the bike’s aesthetics that really stand out. Black keeps it classy, and all of that custom leather just takes it up one more notch.
Don’t you just want to sit on this? We sure do. The designers at Officine Sbrannetti really know how to create something with balance and proper use of accents. Here, the gorgeous leather and the bronze lining are the perfect accent to the motorcycle’s deep black paintjob.
MODERN STREET SCRAMBLER, 2nd Prize: 1992 R100 (Vagabund)
Vagabund is a relative newcomer to the European custom scene—but they’re making an impression, and they’re doing it fast. Vagabund first saw life in 2015. The shop is based out of Graz-Styria, Austria, and it’s made up of two guys: Paul Brauchart (with a background in design industry) and Philipp Rabl (with a background in mechanical engineering). As you can imagine, this potent combination of minds has already started to produce incredible work—e.g., this sexy R100.
As Paul puts it, “Both of us started to work on vintage motorcycles because we love these old pieces of metal. It’s not only a lifestyle product or a commercial vehicle to us, it’s a functional piece of art.” We couldn’t agree more. The whole bike displays forward-thinking design, and the rear frame has received a completely new design and new welding. That’s a Dan Moto exhaust you see on the left.
As Paul says, “The rear bump and the headlight are unique pieces designed by us and built only for this specific reason. It is handmade out of a flat piece of aluminium, which was made by a metal artist with whom we collaborate. The headlight is a small hommage to the new R1200GS.”
The speedo and signal lights are integrated into the headlight. It’s great to see such tech-savvy, modern details on this ’92 boxer. For more information, see Vagabund’s website or Facebook page.
These phenomenal custom shops are breaking new ground with their design sensibilities and engineering feats. We’re excited to see where these fantastic builders are headed. Stay tuned for more!