Retro Radikal: A reimagined BMW K1 from Portugal

Custom BMW K1 by iT ROCKS!BIKES
With futuristic looks, bold colors, and more plastic than a Tupperware party, the BMW K1 was nothing if not memorable. Released in 1988 and based on the inline four-cylinder BMW K100, it was big, bold, and—depending on who you ask—beautiful.

Billed as a sport-touring motorcycle, the BMW K1’s brash aesthetic was decidedly non-BMW at the time and remains polarizing today. To those who loved it, it offered a decent amount of power and a low drag coefficient—but it was also heavy, expensive, and had issues with heat retention. It ultimately proved unpopular and faded from BMW’s line-up in just five years.

Custom BMW K1 by iT ROCKS!BIKES
Some people would balk at the idea of cutting up an original K1, while others would consider it mandatory. The owner of this K1 sits somewhere in the middle.

Their brief to Portugal’s iT ROCKS!BIKES was to modify the bike extensively, but with a striking design that would pay tribute to the factory aesthetic. An alternate reality K1, if you will; a fully-faired fantasy with modern, snazzy lines.

Custom BMW K1 by iT ROCKS!BIKES
“We were very excited about this project,” says Osvaldo Coutinho, who runs IRB alongside Ana Pina and Luís Teixeira. “Our objective was to create a motorcycle with striking lines which would mark the update of this iconic motorcycle—while using top-quality, safe, and homologated equipment.”

IRB specializes in monocoque-style bodywork, which is probably what drew this client to them in the first place. They constructed a one-piece tank and tail section for the K1 café racer, all hand-beaten from steel, with a flowing fairing that attaches directly to the main body.

Custom BMW K1 by iT ROCKS!BIKES
Tributes to the K1’s plastics are sprinkled all over this build. The deeply sculpted knee indents echo the angular K1 fairings, while the louvered sides are a nod to the K1’s myriad air vents. IRB fitted the fairing with a square headlight too, but it’s a touch smaller than the stock bike’s unit.

The fuel tank and handmade leather seat look perfectly shaped for a rider to slot into, with the tail section resting on a new subframe. A new rear suspension setup sits lower down, featuring Wimoto linkages and a YSS shock. The swingarm is flanked by BSK SpeedWorks rear-sets.

Custom BMW K1 by iT ROCKS!BIKES
The front end is also new, with a set of Öhlins FGRT 216 forks matched to radial-mounted Brembo calipers and 320 mm Brembo discs. The Öhlins forks were adapted to the K1 frame with triple clamps from TGP MotoRacing, and there’s an LSL steering damper hidden away.

Solid custom-made Jonich wheels lend a visual bulk to the design and tie into the rest of the bodywork, reminiscent of the original bike. The huge front fender has been replaced with a slim, modern interpretation, with a matching hugger mounted out back.

Custom BMW K1 by iT ROCKS!BIKES
The 100 hp DOHC four-valve engine didn’t need much updating—but it got a thorough clean and fresh paint and polishing. It now screams through a four-into-one exhaust system with an SC-Project can, which we bet sounds like an old Formula One car at full tilt. A custom belly pan sits just under the engine.

The K1 was stripped down to the bare frame during the build, so IRB took the opportunity to rewire it from the ground up with a Motogadget control unit.

Custom BMW K1 by iT ROCKS!BIKES
The handlebar switches, grips, bar-end turn signals and mirrors, and speedo all came from the German electronics brand, the clip-ons came from LSL, and the throttle is a Domino part. Everything is tucked behind a smoke windscreen, with an elegant hand-made bracket suspending the speedo dead center.

“The other details of the motorcycle, except for the original equipment, were all developed manually,” explains Osvaldo. “This includes the frame, supports, exhausts, and other metallic parts. Our motto is originality, quality, and exclusivity in each piece we design and build.”

Custom BMW K1 by iT ROCKS!BIKES
The final result is a bike that cuts a far more svelte silhouette than the stock K1. Where the original bike was a study in flamboyance, IRB has crafted a far more subtle creature. The brushed silver color scheme, with pops of BMW M red and blue, suits the bike perfectly, as does the new bodywork.

Here’s hoping that the owner finds another factory-fresh K1 to park in the garage—because this would be the perfect companion bike.

iT ROCKS!BIKES | Facebook | Instagram

Custom BMW K1 by iT ROCKS!BIKES

SHARE THIS ARTICLE
63 Shares
READ NEXT