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BMW ‘M100S’ by Moto Motivo

Posted on July 16, 2015 by Scott in Café Racer. 13 comments

Written by Ian Lee.

You won’t find two more different styles of motorcycle, than to compare a BMW to a Ducati. The Bavarian cycle is reliable and sensible like your grandpa, whereas the Italian machine is like your crazy cousin who keeps getting you in trouble in the pursuit of a good time. Somehow, Moto Motivo has managed to strike a healthy balance between the two, producing a cafe racer featuring the best parts of each. Starting with a busted ass 1972 R75/5, Johann and the MM crew have brought this bike back to life, repowered it, and produced a magnificent multicultural machine that even the builder himself wasn’t sure he could achieve.

The build kicked off with a rather sad R75 bike, an extended period stored outside leaving the rims, suspension and chrome bodywork unserviceable. Seeing the potential in the frame, Johann picked up the bike and treated it to a Ducati mono shock makeover, a move which caught the eye of the current owner, who gave Johann the bike brief to build the bike as Johann saw fit. This worked for the builder, in his own words: “This was a dream build for me, Jim gave me instructions to build the bike as if it was going to be my own, but it had to be light and nimble. That alone was a challenge using a 1970’s BMW.”

After stripping down the phlegmatic R75 motor, the MM workshop decided that the operation of rebuilding the 745cc engine and giving it more power wasn’t financially viable. So the project sat, until a stroke of luck had another customer roll in looking to sell an R100RS donor bike. Lacking it’s bodywork, the R100 had a reconditioned motor, which meant better ignition system and an oil cooler – already a leap ahead of the R75’s powerplant. The only downside to the bigger motor was that it was stored minus the spark plugs, allowing surface rust to accumulate on the bores.

Remedying this, Moto Motivo took the engine down, boring out the cylinders and fitting new Pistons/rings. On reassembly, the cylinder head was treated to new valves and guides, as well as porting and polishing. To accommodate the Dellorto PHF 36 carburetors, a set of custom intake manifolds were fabricated, and the stock airbox replaced with meshed velocity stacks. Exhaust duties are taken care of a 2 into 1 stainless system, running Moto Motivo’s own silencer, ceramic coated in black.


To give the Beemer that cafe racer aesthetique, the frame has been detabbed and the factory battery box hurled. The entire factory rear end is gone, Johann from MM fabricating an entire new subframe, incorporating a Ducati 900SS mono shock. To keep with the sporting look of the bike, the fibreglass duck tail was manufactured in house at Moto Motivo, incorporating the relocated battery lithium battery.

On putting the bike together after the extensive frame mods, the R100RS front end was mounted, and found to be too long and too soft to achieve the low stance expected of a cafe racer. Raiding the parts bin, in an incredible piece of luck, Johann found a complete 900SS front end from a previous Ducati build. After fitting custom steering head bearings, all the standard factory fork components could be utilised on the build. The hybrid bike rolls on rims laced inhouse, the front hub from a Sport Classic.

Finished in bone white, with obligatory GT stripes, the Beecati is a far cry from the sad R75 the bike started out as. Evidence can be found in the fact the bike picked up ‘Best in Show’ at the Raleigh Eurobike show, on the first weekend the owner had it. Which is fitting really. You couldn’t get a more European bike if you tried.

[Photography by Ron Smith]

  • guvnor67

    My favourite Beemer for a long time, really clean, nice stance and proportions, love the use of the Ducatti suspension. Looks aggressive yet classy. Yep,kool!

  • kemo

    The “poster child” for the 2015 EuroBike Meet. Clean Machine!

  • Adaptation of the rear mono-shock and upgraded front end really brings the M100S up to modern cafe-sport values without exceeding the traditional values of the early 70’s tank and headlight. All the DOT-friendly thoughtfulness is appreciated; but definitely not as much of a treat as is seeing how the bone white (apparently a close cousin of Alpine’s) ties it all together.

  • methamphetasaur


  • seat unit height due to the mono shock looks all wrong and just can’t get excited about another tarted up boxer twin, not the first time on here there has been BMW can reference with the M thing, bikes are bikes, cans are cans, they should never meet

    • As a former R60/5 owner I too thought the mono-shock angered feng-shui, but taking a closer look at the donor bike I am guessing it is only perception that may have our Fahrvergnugen in a funk.

      If it is any consolation I too hate shaft-drive bikes… add in a heavy flywheel buried in a low revving motor and it is easy to see how the R’s motor may not hold up its end of Moto Motivo’s new deal… But there are roads where the siren’s song of tightly connected switchbacks sweetly calls for lots of low-end torque; and if it takes strength to muscle that transmission through them, then at least the pilot no longer has to worry about drum brakes stopping his sense of nostalgia.

      Finally, although my M (purchasing) Power enthusiasm was lost in a divorce dating all the way back to the E36 platform, my understanding is that M did have a hand in the S1000RR and so the two have not only meet, but also conceived a (less copyright infringed) child.

      • Jim Aswell

        Well informed and well (professionally?) written. The design was ment to buck the traditional views of the purest BMW and to improve the weak/outdated suspension and brakes. The SWB was ideal for responsive handling the mountian roads in NC.
        True, liberties were taken with the blue & white logo but one would rather ask forgiveness rather than permission.

        • speaking of taking liberties; whenever the moral quandary of a married woman presents itself, I rely on the adage that ‘a slice from a cut loaf is never missed’

  • Fast2Furious

    I really like the monoshock but I do think it looks a little better with a lower seat and shock.

  • Michael Kork.

    Now that’s one sleek Beemer. I’m in desperate need of a ‘toaster’ tank (preferably with the chrome side panels) like this white beauty here. If anyone has any info, please let me know 🙂

  • aircraftmech

    Beautiful bike

  • Bultaco Metralla

    Love it! Nicest flat twin cafe I’ve seen in a long time.

  • Jester

    I want the exhaust system for my 89 R100.