Sibling Rivalry: A BMW R100 cafe racer from Federal

'The Five': A BMW R100 cafe racer from Federal Moto's new Chicago workshop.
From the moment their first build hit the airwaves, we’ve followed Federal Moto’s career. The Canadian crew has produced one killer bike after another.

So when director Shaun Brandt told us that Federal was opening an outpost in Chicago, we were curious. Would the Americans deliver the same quality as their brethren over the border?

Here’s the answer: a BMW R100 cafe racer called ‘The Five,’ from the US team of Mike and Peter Müller. It’s their first project, and they’re off to a stellar start.

'The Five': A BMW R100 cafe racer from Federal Moto's new Chicago workshop.
“Since starting Federal Moto, we haven’t really done a classic cafe racer,” says Shaun. “After snagging this old airhead from Nathaniel Salzman, it felt like the perfect chance to tackle one.”

“We wanted something trimmed down and simple, and with a small nod to the past.”

'The Five': A BMW R100 cafe racer from Federal Moto's new Chicago workshop.
The Müller brothers did well to slim down the old airhead, ditching the original bodywork save for the fuel tank. There’s now a front fender, airbox hole cover and ‘S’ fairing from Boxer Cafe. The headlight slots neatly in, capped off with a mesh guard.

Out back, the subframe’s been completely redesigned. The bike now rides on an under-seat, dual shock setup—an idea that Shaun freely admits was inspired by Bryan Fuller’s incredible Super Duc scrambler.

'The Five': A BMW R100 cafe racer from Federal Moto's new Chicago workshop.
There’s a short leather seat up top, with an embedded LED that handles both tail light and turn signal duties. At first glance the extreme kick in the rear gives the BMW a slightly goofy stance—but with a rider on it, it starts to make sense.

“On the drawing board we wanted to build a bike for the track,” explains Shaun. “A riding stance that would be course-ready—not made for the daily rider in stop and go traffic.”

'The Five': A BMW R100 cafe racer from Federal Moto's new Chicago workshop.
So we now have clip-on bars and Oshmo rear-sets designed to keep the rider low, while the seat hugs them close to the bike.

The sporty stance only tells half the story though. The brothers rebuilt the 37-year-old motor, treating it to a pair of Mikuni VM34 carbs. The airbox is gone, replaced by a pair of brass-screened velocity stacks. Twin stainless steel mufflers from Cone Engineering round out the engine package.

'The Five': A BMW R100 cafe racer from Federal Moto's new Chicago workshop.
For the cockpit, the guys fitted a Tommaselli throttle, Brookes leather grips, a digital Koso combination speedo and tacho, and Posh Japan mini handlebar switches.

They’ve relocated the front brake master cylinder to the bars from its original spot under the fuel tank. New brake lines from Goodridge have also been installed and the tires are grippy Avon RoadRiders.

'The Five': A BMW R100 cafe racer from Federal Moto's new Chicago workshop.
When it was time to paint the bike, Federal turned to Mario Andretti for inspiration—notably his ‘Number Five’ Lotus 77 Formula 1 car. Nicolas Lama worked up a John Player Special-style design, and VP Automotive of Atlanta applied the paint.

The engine and wheels were finished in black, with the fork springs redone in gold to match. And if you’re trying to spot the battery, it’s a tiny Shorai lithium-ion unit, hidden in a box under the transmission.

'The Five': A BMW R100 cafe racer from Federal Moto's new Chicago workshop.
It’s compact and ripped, and must be a blast to ride. We reckon Federal Moto USA haven’t just hit the bar set by their Canadian counterparts—they’ve raised it.

Your move, Canada.

Federal Moto | Federal Moto US Facebook | Federal Moto US Instagram | Images by Daniel Peter

'The Five': A BMW R100 cafe racer from Federal Moto's new Chicago workshop.