BMW Café Racers – w BW Book Review

BMW Café Racers

by Uli Cloesen


ISBN: 978-1-845845-29-2

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BMW Café Racers continues what is now a four-part series of square (25 cm x 25 cm) books authored by Uli Cloesen for Veloce Publishing.

The first of the series was BMW Custom Motorcycles: Choppers, Cruisers, Bobbers, Trikes Quads. reviewed by yours truly back in June of 2011 (Was it really that long ago? Seems like just yesterday. ).

I didn’t know at the time that there would be a series of these books. and perhaps neither did Veloce (or the author).

But here it is, almost exactly two years later and we have what can be considered Part 2 of the series, BMW Café Racers . Also released is the very wild ‘n’ crazy Italian Custom Motorcycles: Choppers, Cruisers, Bobbers, Trikes Quads (review) and now I’m very curious about the last of the current series, Japanese Custom Motorcycles: Cruisers, Bobbers Ditto. .

I didn’t quite know what to make of BMW Custom Motorcycles . but BMW Café Racers makes a lot more sense to me. In fact, for me it was the original BMW café racer, the BMW R90S (background), that was one of my first BMW objets de convoitise .

The R90S was and is one of the most classic, iconic motorcycles of all time, no ifs, ands, buts or any two ways about it.


But, like I wrote in my review of BMW Custom Motorcycles, BMW Motorrad seems to be almost phobic about even mentioning a reference to their past, much less bringing out a modern retro Airhead model to celebrate it. That’s just as true today unfortunately, even though it is rumored that BMW will release the NineT, a limited-edition retro, this year at the annual 2013 BMW Motorrad Days (preview) .

The NineT (or whatever it ends up being called) remains to be seen, but so far the reports haven’t kept me up at night dreaming. Instead of really stretching and making what would have been the true Last of the Airheads, BMW will apparently use the old and somewhat troublesome Oilhead engine for what appears to be a very mild makeover of a generic R1200R.

What makes it unfortunate is what could/should be — hinted at in this BMW Café Racers book. There are some awesome BMW café racers shown here in 205 (count ’em) color photographs, big as life. We’re talking everything from the ultra-classic 1925 BMW R37 to Yuri Shif’s very custom two-engined (placed vertically and back-to-back!) BMW Airhead custom that simply has to be the single most outrageous BMW ever made.

And yes, that classic R90S is in there too. Don’t forget the K1100 Flying Brick; BMW’s No, we’re not Japanese four-cylinder water-pumpers. Believe it or not, there are some pretty cool-looking customs.

I mean café racer-ed ‘Bricks around also. Not to mention some sweet-looking Ural café racers — can you imagine that?

BMW Café Racers is short on text and long on photos, and any BMW lover will want this book. When I reviewed BMW Customs . I wasn’t sure what to make of it. But now that I’ve seen 3 volumes out of the 4-pack, I get it. You’ll definitely want all four.

Example: In the book Italian Custom Motorcycles (review). there’s a Laverda chopper, among others. You’re in for a treat!

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