1970s-era BMW airheads respond well to the cafe racer treatment. But you don’t often see one with a mono-shock conversion. This cafe racer is a 1976 R75/6 owned by graphic designer Casey Wilkinson of the motorcycle-mad Wilkinson Brothers, and he spotted it at the AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days. Despite having 100,000 miles on the clock, Casey bought it, and started drawing up a racy profile for his new acqusition. He mocked up a subframe and swingarm with quarter-inch steel round bar, and shaped a new tailpiece with insulation foam board.
This served as a template and guide for metal fabricator Cliff Meyer of Meyerbuilt Metalworks. Cliff stayed true to the mock-up, but carefully addressed each mounting point and joint, improving the overall strength and fitment. His hand-formed aluminum tailpiece is a work of art.
“The goal of this project was to compensate for a limited budget with elbow grease and creativity,” says Casey. So the foot controls are made from bicycle freestyle pegs and hand-cut aluminum flat stock, finished with plumbing nipples for the toe pegs. The rear shock is from a Suzuki GSX-R750 and the headlight rock guard is an aftermarket MG auto part, fastened to the bucket with springs.
The stock motor chugs away with shorty Dunstall-style mufflers and K&N pod filters. It’s a daily rider with more of a flickable-fun persona than its original touring stance.
For a temporary solution, an old motorcycle jacket serves as the seat cover. The tailpiece houses a teensy lithium ion battery, and the top fork brace was CNC’d by ToasterTan Custom Braces. The logo “Good Spark Garage” comes from the Wilkinson Brothers’ moto-culture blog (which is highly recommended). “If we had more equipment and time, perhaps Wilkinson Bros could evolve into a custom bike shop,” Casey wonders.
He’s off to a good start with this BMW cafe racer; hopefully we’ll see more customs from the Wilkinson Brothers in the future.