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Shock Of The New: This BMW is Hookie’s First Modern Build

Custom BMW R nineT cafe racer by Hookie Co.
Any garage accustomed to working on older motorcycles has to shift their thinking when customizing a modern machine. With a brand new bike, there’s zero restoration work to be done—but there’s also a whole whack of modern gadgetry to work around.

Our friends at Hookie Co. in Dresden, Germany tackled that learning curve recently. A Swiss customer handed them a BMW R nineT—their first modern donor—and asked them to give it a more classic look.

Custom BMW R nineT cafe racer by Hookie Co.
“The only input from the client was inspiration,” says head wrench, Nico. “It was the Brough Superior SS100, which has a very specific design. I was really hooked on this idea, and looked forward to customizing my first R Nine T.”

Like any other Hookie Co. project, the build kicked off with a full tear down. But when the guys saw the masses of wires and mysterious electronic boxes stashed under the tank, they knew their work was cut out for them.

Custom BMW R nineT cafe racer by Hookie Co.
They quickly decided to leave the ABS, fuel pump and airbox right where they found them. And they picked an off-the-shelf Arrow exhaust—a muffler with a connecting pipe—so that the R nineT would run (and sound) great without any additional fettling.

The client was also pretty chuffed with the stock brakes and suspension, so that left Hookie free to focus on design, ergonomics and the finer details. So Nico decided to challenge himself: this is the first project where he’s worked with aluminum, and the first where he’s built his own fuel tank.

Custom BMW R nineT cafe racer by Hookie Co.
“It was my personal goal to finish all the parts in aluminum on this project,” he says. “For all the custom parts, I invested one or two months—not full time, of course.”

The tank ended up being the most time-consuming part of the build. Nico knew he had to get the tunnel just right to accommodate the BMW’s stock electrics, and after a couple of weeks, he finally had the foundation for a new tank and seat.

Custom BMW R nineT cafe racer by Hookie Co.
“I started with a wireframe made out of welding wire,” he tells us. “This workflow is really quick and easy to repeat, for trying different forms. Once I had the flow, I created a very classic style of a gas tank. It is low, has a straight bottom line and some edges for the knees.”

Those knee indents taper into a waspish tail section, with an LED taillight neatly embedded in the rear. Perforated upholstery on the solo seat adds a touch of motorsport style, and there’s a flush-mounted gas cap keeping things slick.

Custom BMW R nineT cafe racer by Hookie Co.
Under the hood, the guys had to fabricate an aluminum flange for the fuel pump, and drill a single hole to run the wires for the taillight. The rest of the frame’s gone untouched—so it wouldn’t take much to turn this nineT back to stock.

The new arrangement pushes the rider’s rear end a bit further back and higher up—and has them hunched over more, thanks to a set of ABM clip-ons. Nico tells us the trade off was a little comfort, for a lot more aggressive riding style.

Custom BMW R nineT cafe racer by Hookie Co.
Other bolt-ons include Rizoma grips, a Motogadget speedo, discreet Kellermann Atto indicators, a powerful Truck-Lite LED headlight and Pirelli Angel GT tires. And for practicality’s sake, the R nineT is also wearing a license plate bracket, its stock front fender and discreet LED turn signals.

As with every Hookie bike, Adrian Flor shot the paint—a sublime mix of black, silver and gold. The silver actually has a deep pearl finish, which flips to gold in the right light. Smaller gold details are tastefully spread throughout the build; the lads even switched the fork legs from gold to black to keep the effect subtle.

Custom BMW R nineT cafe racer by Hookie Co.
Small motifs adorning the sides of the tank hint at the bike’s name: ‘Falcon.’ “You can find the inspiration when you’re looking at top of the bike,” he explains. “It looks like wings with the BMW cylinders, and a small tail made out of feathers. Like the bird, the bike is agile and sporty.”

Nico tells us he’s seen his share of both awful and nice R nineTs, and was adamant that ‘Falcon’ made it into the latter group. Despite jumping far out of their comfort zone, we reckon Hookie Co. have pulled it off spectacularly.

Custom BMW R nineT cafe racer by Hookie Co.
“Now we love this type of motorcycle,” says Nico. “It’s a great donor to build into an awesome modern motorcycle with classic looks and good performance. We never thought we’d say that.”

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Custom BMW R nineT cafe racer by Hookie Co.

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