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Nightcrawler: A BMW inspired by the F-117 Nighthawk

1986 BMW K100 cafe racer by Crooked Motorcycles
The BMW K100 used to be one of those ‘awkward’ bikes that are difficult to customize, but that reputation is rapidly disappearing. We’ve seen some brilliant K-series customs lately, and this machine from Germany is one of the best.

It’s owned by Murat Can of Beard Brothers, who enlisted the help of designer Ivan Lit for the build. The bodywork is especially striking; it’s inspired partly by the shape of moths, and partly by the angles of stealth jets such as the Lockheed F-117.

1986 BMW K100 cafe racer by Crooked Motorcycles
The tank is what grabs the attention first. It was created in 3D, and the pieces were then cut out of DC01 cold rolled steel by water jet. Ace welder Fred Flitzefuß joined it all together, and it looks absolutely stunning after paint from Dieter Bals of Big Chief.

The rest of the 1986-spec K100 was pieced together by Crooked Motorcycles of Memmingen, an ancient town in Bavaria. Builders Jakob and Dominikus have done an amazing job of translating the concept into metal, with additional fabrication and fettling to get the BMW road-worthy.

1986 BMW K100 cafe racer by Crooked Motorcycles
The longitudinal inline four motor is tough, but K-series bikes are also getting on in years now. So Crooked took out the motor and sent it to SW Motorradtechnik, one of the top specialists in the field, for a teardown and complete overhaul using OEM parts.

It now looks good on the outside too, thanks to a deep coat of black powder from Buschkönig Powdering—who also refinished a multitude of smaller parts on the BMW.

1986 BMW K100 cafe racer by Crooked Motorcycles
Once back in the shop, the fresh motor was plumbed with new Samco hoses and fitted with a DNA filter for easier breathing. Then it was mated to the gearbox and the swingarm from a K1100.

Why? Because Crooked have used a R100RS spoked wheel at the front, and matched it to a GS wheel at the back. That requires a K1100 swing arm, and if you use that swing arm, you need the K1100 gearbox too. “It fits plug and play,” Murat shrugs. “There was no modification necessary.” The chunky tires are Metzeler’s popular Karoo 3.

1986 BMW K100 cafe racer by Crooked Motorcycles
Amidst all the black, it’s hard to spot the exhaust system. It’s OEM pipework refinished in matt black, and terminated with a superlight Cobra SPX Carbon muffler, which has a removable dB killer and is made in Germany.

The K100 is now suspended with blacked-out Wilbers units from and back: 46RR forks and Adjustline 632 shocks. The forks are a fully adjustable closed cartridge type, and a huge upgrade on the stock fitment. Custom triples were designed and machined up by RT CNC for a proper fit.

1986 BMW K100 cafe racer by Crooked Motorcycles
Crooked fired up the welder for a new subframe, which is topped off with a custom seat from the increasingly popular Swiss upholsterer Yves Knobel. The electrics are all new too, juiced by a tiny Lingery battery sitting next to the DNA filter and protected by a carbon fiber heat shield.

1986 BMW K100 cafe racer by Crooked Motorcycles
A Motogadget mo.unit Blue control box meters out the juice to a JW Speaker LED headlight, sitting ahead of new TRW bars. Motogadget also supplied the switches, blinkers, grips, RFID igntion system and mo.view flight ‘glassless’ mirrors—but the levers and master cylinders are from Magura.

1986 BMW K100 cafe racer by Crooked Motorcycles
This K100 is proof that the ‘flying brick’ has finally come of age in the custom scene. It’s a clever marriage of thoughtful design, traditional craftsmanship and ultra-modern production processes.

Murat is quick to give credit to Crooked: “They did the most work, created the new components, and built the bike. The designer and me…we just created the design. Without Crooked there would be no ‘Nightcrawler’.”

1986 BMW K100 cafe racer by Crooked Motorcycles
These days, you can still get a late 80s K100 in excellent condition for $3,000 or less in the US, if you know where to look. And even if they’re a bit rough around the edges after three decades on the road, they’re easily fixed up and there’s a plentiful supply of parts from Europe.

We’re betting that the K-series is going to be the next big thing in the BMW custom scene when supplies of the R-series dry up. And if that means more flying bricks inspired by stealth fighters, we’re all for it.

Crooked Motorcycles | Facebook | Instagram | Images by Manos Monios

1986 BMW K100 cafe racer by Crooked Motorcycles

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