Of course everyone wants to make their bike their own and customise it a little. Some adjustments here, different saddle there. But that is where most people stop. I have worn out quite a few bikes and the BMW is the icing on the cake. But a 33-year-old bike with no safety system whatsoever... What possessed me to convert it?
Love at first sight
I understand that most people my age don't really have eyes for an old-fart touring bike. Because that's what the BMW K100 is known for, let's face it. I was a fan of the K1 to begin with, especially the blue and yellow one. And when I saw the K100 converted by Wrenchkings (the black-and-gold one) at the Big Twin Motorcycle Show a few years back, my heart simply skipped a few beats. That was the one. I didn't care how long it would take and how much money went into it, that was my dream bike. I walked out of the event that afternoon with a box full of BMW parts. Even though I didn't even have the bike yet!
Filthy luck from Russia
The world of cafe racers is like a rabbit hole that you probably shouldn't fall into. Because once you start, there is no going back. Through instagram, I came across Z17 Customs from Russia. And I was done for. They built two bikes with this rear-end. The Z17 Rebel and the Z17 Kandinsky. I contacted them and as it turns out, they were about to visit friends in Alkmaar. And to make it even better, they had produced a rear piece for someone in America, but that order had been canceled last minute. Th owner transported the parts in his hand luggage and I was able to pick it up in Alkmaar. I was $480 lighter, but it did save me another $150 shipping from Russia. Filthy luck I called it.
Not everybody's cup of tea
I really do understand that my bike is not going to please everyone. But it always makes my day when I ride past an obviously retired man who looks. And then almost gives himself a whiplash snapping back, because he recognizes the engine.
One thing I do know for sure. You don't build a cafe racer just because you want a motorcycle. It costs tons of money that you'll never get back if you sell it. But I have a bike that I am totally in love with. Even though it's embarrassingly slow compared to my boyfriend's XSR900. And it's also incredibly impractical, because I can forget about Germany. Apart being fined for the amount of noise it produces, I can't make a single hairpin with this bike because it's lowered. Fortunately, for the beloved hairpin bends, I also have an 89 Transalp which we rent out during the summer.