Wheels are off and boy...I'm not sure I like how it looks right now. But I can see the final product in my minds eye and it's gonna be sexy AF.
At this point I realized I needed to invest in some decent lighting. Now...some of you already have that and I hate you for it. I went on Amazon and spent about $70 on some LED garage overhead lighting. It made a WORLD of difference. I can't imagine going back. I'll find that in a few months I'm going to buy another light because not having to cast a shadow where you work makes all the difference in getting the job done and also not wanting to put a bullet in your head while doing it.
All in one day the handlebars, gauges, and tank are off. Actually took just about an hour or two. Four fuel/air line plugs under the tank, make sure to cap em with something. I cut off the fingertips of my disposable gloves paired with a zip tie. Set it aside gently. Exhaust is off, just a handful of bolts (2 per pipe so 8). It looks smaller in this photo, that bad boy is big, ugly, and heavy.
This is when the fear sets in.
You're stripping it down and you realize....oh damn...am I gonna be able to put this thing back together?
Fear not. The most important thing in the world?
That's right, sandwich bags and sticky notes (you'll need a couple of permanent magic markers too). I used maybe 30 ziploc bags all said and done and labeled each one diligently as I went with what the bolt/screw/nut was for, even if I wasn't sure what exactly I was looking at. One was labeled "bolt by the BMW logo on the trans."
And the sticky notes were for labeling every electrical plug I unplugged like "RT SIGNAL" or "HL" or "TRANS PLUG."
A LIFESAVER. Do the due diligence. You will save yourself HOURS upon HOURS of internet research if you do so. Even if you think you know where a bolt will go later...I promise you won't. There are a shit ton of them.
I also treated myself to a new toy.....
Absolute best $70 I ever spent in my life. Durable, easy to use. Perfect for spinning the bike around and moving with each new step.
Can't recommend enough.
This is a 1987 BMW K100RT which 60,000 miles (very very young for this engines reputation). I just picked it up in upstate NY and drove it home about 4 hours (I live in the NYC area).
I will be taking this bike completely apart. I'm talking frame-off restoration. (I know, very sexy very exciting.)
This was THE sport touring bike in the 1980's. BMW said "ok, we crushed the airhead, CRUSHED IT, now it's time to move into the future. We see those Japanese bikes and we're coming for em." SO, they took a peugeot design CAR engine, laid it on its side, threw two tires on it, and 30 years later I was convinced and bought one!
Am I oversimplifying? Yes. Would you read any more if I wasn't? Probably not. Let's go.
This is the easy part.
I'm starting this blog as I'm halfway through this build so I've gotten to a place where I have a great idea of what it takes to get this part done. So I thought I'd start off by letting you know what tools you're going to need.
Metric T-Hex Set
I am not kidding when I say that this is all you're going to need to completely take this bike apart (save a few sockets and ratchet). At $6 I was astonished how much I used this set.
If you want to make your life even easier - pick up one of these suckers:
Between these and the T-Hex handle - I tore the bike down 99% of the way. You don't necessarily need both, but you'll thank yourself for spending the extra $20 when you get stiff bolt to have the option.
Here are a few other things that would make sense to have in your toolbox:
Look, we're working on 20-40 year old bikes. You better have some WD-40 an some patience. Make sure when you use WD-40 on a pesky bolt that you let it sit and penetrate for a few minutes.
Also, pick up some good wrenches and some deep impact sockets. Remember, we're working the Metric system here, so don't skimp out and try to use your SAE tools on this bike. Not worth stripping a bolt!
Let's get cracking!
I also took some prelim measurements - I thought I'd share them here cause I know a lot of times I'll be back at the computer and want to order something (say....a seat?) and think "SHIT, THE BIKE IS SO FAR AND I FORGOT TO MEASURE THE SEAT, IM WORTHLESS, IM A WORTHLESS POS AND I SHOULD DIE." Then I google it, stumble on a page like this, and life is totally worth living again.
Already looking like something.
Honestly - if you really wanted to - you could get a saw or angle grinder with cutoff wheel, and just chip off that rear part of the frame (from center or rear axle and back), throw on a cheap eBay $30 cafe seat, and call it a day. The bike looks pretty damn good as is.
Unfortunately, I have plans to hemorrhage obscene of money so I cannot bear the burden of saving my money and stopping now. I mean, not obscene, but boy does it add up quick.
BMW K100 Cafe Brat Build
Well look at you. You found my page, and, if you love building bikes as much as I do, you're in for some quality, Grade A, bike porn.
Put on your favorite helmet, whip out your all season clicking gloves, and let's kick it into first gear.
That's right, I'm going to turn this classic BMW K100 Touring motorcycle into an all out custom cafe racer (more of a Brat for those who are so inclined) in the next 6 months in my spare time. I'll cover the tools I need, the process, some losses, and some wins.
I don't claim to be an expert, this is my first bike build, but I do promise to finish this build and do it to the best of my abilities.
Maybe you're a builder, maybe you are hoping to jump into a build, or maybe you're bored. I was and am all 3 of those so this site is for guys and gals like me.
If you wanna see more visuals and videos, I'm also documenting this concurrently on instagram at @indiecafebikes. Follow my journey and feel free to hit me up with any questions there.
Boy do I have my work cut out for me.