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Cafemoto BMW 002: Stripped Down Flying Brick

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We like stripped-down, simplified bikes with reasonable, comfortable ergonomics. You may remember the old BMW K100 series (affectionately known as the “flying brick”) manufactured by the German marque between 1982 and 1992.

Somewhat revolutionary when introduced, it provided the lowest center of gravity for an inline four engine configuration, and put the engine where you could see it front-and-center. Although most models only put out roughly 90 hp, they were considered quick for the day and offered a fairly broad spread of power at lower rpm levels. A sister machine, the K75, probably has a cult following today due to its smoother, three cylinder version of the brick. That particular model, however, wasn’t particularly quick or powerful, even for its day.

The modified K100 shown here is an attractive (in our opinion) standard style custom created by the German company Cafemoto, which specializes in BMWs. Their web site is worth a look.

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29 Comments

  1. kjazz says:

    These things always smoked on startup (at least the 1000 did)….due to laying over on the side stand and oil seeping past the rings in the horizontal cylinders. Also, their short, non-articulated drive shafts provided great entertainment via drive shaft chassis jacking. You could make them hop like a low rider….!

  2. John says:

    I always like these stripped down bikes, but it would be great to know the weight savings for curiosity.

  3. TF says:

    Lose the exhaust system and it would look just like an electric bike.

  4. Tommy See says:

    There are a lot of bikes slash customs ! That are being enjoyed by there creators. Welcome to Bobberville.

  5. Scotty says:

    Hahha someone on MD is reading my mind – saw a custom Flying Brick cafe racer just like this last week!!!! And it looked GREAT.

  6. Randy in Atlanta says:

    Don’t agree with Gary entirely, but stylisticly it would look better with SOMETHING below the seat and rearward, but minimal. I really like the tank and naked look. The level of custom skill these days is astonishing. Even the manufacturers are taking notice of the styling ques. I’ve been pushing (through opinion) to get back to basics for twenty years. The bikes would be cheaper and less complicated for the new blood I am always talking about. We have hi-tech brakes and suspension systems these days and good handling is but a few math equations anymore. I’m the guy constantly railing against the bikes that have ruled the last twenty years, cruisers and crotchrockets. ANY alternative is good for our sport. Let’s see these new trends continue to influence smaller displacements ,too.

  7. Norm G. says:

    re: “You may remember the old BMW K100 series (affectionately known as the “flying brick”) manufactured by the German marque between 1982 and 1992.”

    oh I remember it, it was an 8 valver. the first 16V was the K1, aka the “Ronald McDonald”…

    http://www.ridermagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Retro1.jpg

  8. John says:

    It looks good but the front end seems too small. Slap a set of upside down forks on and it is perfect.

  9. ApriliaRST says:

    I think this is one of the best looking stripped down bikes I’ve seen. It’s also the first I’ve seen using the Flying Brick.

    >>Somewhat revolutionary when introduced, it provided the lowest center of gravity for an inline four engine configuration….

    Not a completely false statement, but lower is not always better when speaking center of gravity on motorcycles. But this engine is high enough that it probably wouldn’t feel as clumsy as the early GoldWings did.

    • joe b says:

      Interesting comment about the engine weight, being low, making a bike feel clumsy. I agree. It seems that it does add stability, and at first one would think, that is a good thing. When riding, its easy to see, sense, feel, quick turning and maneuverability can be a valuable asset, worth its components, I like that kind of bike. On a touring bike, for a freeway, a heavy low mounted engine is an asset But, that’s not the bike I want. Thank god for different kinds of bikes. Your comment that the engine is a large component of what character the bike has, is keen insight.

  10. Austin ZZR1200 says:

    Teutonic and brilliantly styled. Add it to my “if I win the lottery” list

  11. Gary says:

    Hmmm, no rear fender, would hate to ride this in the rain. Don’t know who would really like this style without fenders and side covers, but it sure isn’t me.

    • Dave says:

      It’s a custom, not a commuter…

    • joe b says:

      “Don’t really know who would like this style”, obviously not you. This trend without them, very popular around the turn of the century in other countries, Japan custom bikes, has spread worldwide, and continues without end. Originally, here in USA, removing bodywork and making bobber, chopper, or café, has been going on since the end of WWII. This “New Look”, tuff to describe the menagerie of similar styles, started with the “Naked Bike” from wrecked sport bikes, lately the flat seat, fat tire, no tail section, see through the frame, is increasingly popular, everywhere. That someone might no know who likes this style is ‘out of touch’ with motorcycles.

      • joe b says:

        I meant to type “not know”.

      • KenHoward says:

        Yep, cool trend! Hey, that “extra” front brake rotor isn’t really needed, either – Show off that nice front wheel. Seat padding and fenders are for sissies. We’ll show all those out-of-touch losers that WE are _really_ into motorcycles.

    • Gary says:

      Didn’t say nobody would like this, but it isn’t me. Different strokes for different folks. All I’m saying that if these are so popular, I just don’t see many around my area at all. Custom or commuter, you still would probably ride them on the road, sometimes in the rain, and then you will get wet- wetter than if it had a rear fender. JMHO

  12. carl says:

    All these bikes have the same issue ugly frames, how much weight are you adding by at least making some attractive side covers??

  13. Sean says:

    Interesting. Looks better with the rider on it as he covers the uglier parts of the frame.

  14. joe b says:

    I recently bought a ’97 GSXR1100 that I would like to build into something like this. Big engine, strip the bodywork off, simplify the seat, emphasize the engine and either hide or remove as much as possible to make it, well let’s say, refreshing.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “I recently bought a ’97 GSXR1100 that I would like to build into something like this”

      here’s an idea, DON’T TOUCH IT. just leave it a ’97 GSXR1100 (especially if the chassis isn’t polished).

      isn’t that like the last year of that model and the “boomerang” frame…? I know the 750 and the 600 had both gone to the Mladin/Chili era twin-spar by that point.

  15. todd says:

    Love riding my K75S. It’s been the perfect commuter, albeit a little heavy for that. Smooth as glass.

  16. Provologna says:

    I liked my K75 more than the K100’s I test rode. But my blue/silver/black 84 Honda VF700S Sabre was better than either. All the VF really needed was better suspension. Power wise it blew away the K75. The V-4 motor simply rocks and was almost as smooth as my CBX.

    With almost 100k miles on the clock the finish was still good, and the motor is absolutely bullet proof.

  17. YankeeCajun says:

    Me likee

  18. xLaYN says:

    I know the puritan will say to stay as close to the original as possible but I wonder how those brakes work, in my mind more pots/caliper = more stopping power, the porky GL1000 had a similar setup.
    Odd engine configuration btw.

    For those (like me) who will google “Flying Brick” and wonder if still in use, from MotorcyclistOnline.com:
    “It was nicknamed the ‘Flying Brick’ because of the look of the engine. This engine – in its most updated 1170cc form – is still in use as it powers the current K 1200 LT motorcycles.”

    • azi says:

      Those K bikes are fitted with 2-piston Brembo calipers. They were top of the line for production bikes of that era. They actually perform pretty well.

  19. TimC says:

    Front-angle shots look awesome. From the side, I’d like steeper (more vertical) fork angle and a little more to the tail. But fantastic-looking bike 9.5/10 IMO – just small niggles!

    Now, why do all that with this powerplant…I’m a little less convinced. But it looks neat in a DMC-12 kinda way.

  20. North of Missoula says:

    IMO the reason that bike works is that it emphasizes the brick engine, which is nice and clean looking. The problem with a lot of bikes today, especially the Japanese variants is that they have massive twin spar frames which, while very functional and rigid, look butt ugly when you strip off the tupperware. Add to that the massive rads and emissions pluming for today’s highly tuned 1500hp+ bikes and you end up with a cafe racer or street fighter that looks like it is better suited to be found in the boiler room of a ship than on the street. Better to keep the engine hidden in that case.