If you’re into BMW café racers, you probably know the BMW Café blog, run by Dutchman Michiel de Molenaar. This BMW R80 is the bike that originally got Michiel hooked on building and riding old motorcycles, and shows what can be done with a small budget and a lot of inspiration. He started with a crashed 1988 model, which means it should have a 797 cc version of the classic boxer twin. But the previous owner had changed the original engine for a one-liter motor of unknown provenance. Then the gearbox packed up, so Michiel retro-fitted the transmission and kickstart from an R65—which also allowed him to run a smaller and lighter battery. The exhaust system is home-made, using an old Virago muffler and a one-dollar stainless salad bowl.
“The new rear subframe is made out of a chopped-up bicycle carrier I found in someone’s trash,” says Michiel. “The only really expensive part is the [Acewell] instrument. I wanted a rev counter, speedo and all the idiot lights, but I also wanted to have the most minimalistic cockpit I could find—so I decided to spend some money on that.” The clip-ons are ebay items and the rear sets came off an early 90s Honda sports bike of unknown description. The headlight is a modern Ural part, and the rear fender started life as a Honda CX500 front fender. As they say, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”—and Michiel has shown that you don’t need a huge bank balance to make a bike look like a million bucks. Check out his lovely Honda CB750 cafe racer for even more Dutch goodness.
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