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‘Frau Türkisblau’ BMW R90/6 – Custom Culture Co.


Posted on May 31, 2016 by Andrew in Café Racer. 25 comments

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For more than a thousand years the Czech city of Prague has been one of the political and cultural centres of Europe, a thriving community of intellectual thought and creativity. So important is the city centre and its ancient buildings that it’s listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, an honour normally reserved for single structures like the Taj Mahal or natural wonders such as Uluru. The first criteria for such a listing is that the place “represents a masterpiece of human creative genius and cultural significance”, so you could hardly ride around the place on a plastic fantastic 250cc number and be doing the city any justice. Instead the appropriately named Custom Culture Co. has taken a 1974 BMW R90/6 and with their own artistic creativity crafted a classic ride to cruise the cobblestone streets. Just like the incredible pieces of art on display in the city’s National Gallery this CC’s chef-d’oeuvre has an equally impressive name, Frau Turkisblau!

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Custom Culture Co. (or CC for short) is the brain child of Mark and Viktor from Prague who are not only neighbours but riding buddies with Bohemiantonup.cz. With more than a few projects on the go between them they decided to set up shop and start producing bikes for customers as well. But they made one very wise decision, although more than capable when getting grease on their hands, they are designers first and foremost so have enlisted the skills of mechanic Jakub Vetesnik from Riegl Moto to help with wrenching and fabrication. Now onto their fifth customer bike it was time to get creative, “The idea was to create a pure motorcycle, a bit different from all the other café racers built from BMWs. The design did not have a very long gestation, it almost came out of the first sketches and the client bought immediately into it.”

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What’s clear from the first glance of the photos is the emphasis on a classic design, with a single colour used almost exclusively across the build and no modern extras bolted on for the sake of it. With the frame separated out it was cleaned up, de-tabbed and sanded back to the bare metal so any battle scars could be smoothed out. The rear subframe was removed and a new item fabricated that supports not only the seat but also the very rear of the tank for a uniform fitment of the body work. Shock mounts were added to the new subframe and with the height adjusted the boys set about working out a rear guard. Rather than mount it underneath the seat they’ve gone the extra mile with a stealth looking item that closely hugs the rear tyre, is mounted to the swingarm to maintain the constant close gap and finished in matte black is the perfect example of functional minimalism.

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Then it was time for Jakub to put his exceptional fabricating skills on display with a custom set of tins for the bike to transform its appearance. But rather than go bold the look is about classic clean lines that could have come from the Bavarian factory if they’d produced a factory show stopper. The Aluminium tank is based on the stylings of the original unit with the overall dimensions much slimmer than stock and the knee dents in the same location but far more aggressive. To match he then got to bending and shaping alloy sheet for the integrated tail unit and seat pan that is crafted into a single solo racer vibe including rear tyre recess. Jakub’s bag of tricks wasn’t empty yet and the fuel filler is beautifully frenched into the top of the tank and the hand stitched leather seat millimetre perfect in the way it conforms to the tail pieces metal work for a perfect fit.

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The lower fork legs were removed, so too the rear shock springs and along with the frame and tins given a final sand before paint. Then the stunning turquoise paint work was laid down and keeping with the classic feel of the bike is done so to create an old school acrylic feel despite the use of modern materials. With the paint dry the lower fork legs were fitted back to the modified front suspension and the smoothed out triple clamps coated in a matte metal finish. To bring the body work parallel to the ground the rear end was lowered 10cm with the use of new adjustable shocks refitted with their painted progressive rate springs. With the hubs cleaned up and new spokes lacing them to the standard rims they could then be dressed up in vintage Firestone rubber and this is one machine that pulls off the looks flawlessly.

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With Jakub back on the tools the 898cc boxer twin is now as reliable as it was when it left the factory and with so much work on the aesthetics, greasy break downs can thankfully be avoided. The engine is essentially a big bore version of BMW’s 599cc unit of the time with the same 70.6mm stroke on both engines. The result is more power without compromising the ability of the engine to rev but it’s the extra torque and another cog in the box that makes all the difference. Happy that the engine was going to perform more than adequately for their client’s needs attention was turned to removing any clutter and unsightly wiring from around the block to allow it to stand out the way it should. It was then thoroughly cleaned rather than polished or painted for the off the show room floor look and new carb to airbox pipes fitted up. The exhaust has been simplified with the lengthy rear cans replaced with more classic items that have brilliantly been painted in a matte metal finish to match the engine.

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Wanting to maintain as much of the clean look they created as possible the stock wiring loom was drastically thinned out to the bare essentials and where possible replaced with the ever popular Motogadget products. Starting with the all-important M-Unit it runs a connection to the Chronoclassic digital speedo/tacho and digital ignition. The new clip-ons further reduce the overall height of the visuals and have been fitted up with gum grips, M-Switch handlebar controls and finished out with Motogadget bar end indicators and mirrors. Up front the oversized chrome ring headlight has been tossed aside and is replaced with a bottom mount 12cm Bates-style unit. While the rear end features a classic tail light and number plate holder both in black fitted up to the stealthy rearguard.

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“Overall the idea was to have a simple, minimalistic bike, emphasising, what makes BMW bikes so special – the engine” and boy have the team achieved it, an exceptional effort so early in the life of their new venture. There is just one last challenge for the team at Custom Culture Co. and that’s getting the bike passed its roadworthy inspection under the increasingly strict Czech road laws, “Cross fingers for us as we really need to see it in the streets of Prague soon.” So if you are out there Mr Inspector, the classic bike world has spoken, poured some rum on the road, offered a blessing to the motorcycle gods, slipped a penny down our leathers for good luck and ask you to give Frau Turkisblau the approval she so fittingly deserves.

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[Photos by CC]








  • Don Arnold

    After compulsively hiding the batteries, lights, cables, wiring, plates, etc, I should have known this would be the next step in airhead customs. That lovely casting makes the whole crankcase look like it was carved from billet, and the sweet little Kamm kick lets you imagine that the engine itself give a bit of downforce. I assume an airfilter is hidden in there? Who makes this casting?

    • BMW. This is an OEM part, the original airbox Don, and not only looks good, but works fine either!
      …And to continue your comment if I may, I raise the question: Why on earth why, most builders ditch this fine part and de-tune the carbs???
      Just for the sake of useless trends like the mummy-wrap???

      • Don Arnold

        Damn,I try to be snide and nobody gets me. Actually, I’ve had three of these bikes right down to the crankshaft using Ed Korns’ special tools. Just trying to make a point about fashion being cyclical.

        • Sorry Don, I didn’t catch your mood, but you don’t have to be snide. On the contrary I believe that we have to be straightforward in issues like that. Insightful comments, (and not trolling…), can help builders to set the bar of appearance & quality higher, and avoid questionable fads.

          • the watcher

            Don’t start on trolls; who are you to decide on my level of reaction. Trolls are people too!

          • Trolls are rude people usually hiding behind a keyboard, with no intention to contribute something thoughtful to a forum like this one. An intelligent critique includes things you find wrong with the bike and possible fixes. You are welcome to try it yourself sometime.

  • Robert Henry

    Beautiful craftmanship, Thanks for sharing your build with us. I’m sure the trolls are on the way, however I think this is a great looking bike. Ride it with pride.

    • Hardley T Whipsnade III

      1) Its ok at best 2) The tires are ridiculous , especially for a supposed Cafe Racer 3) The craftsmanship leaves a lot to be desired 4) Along with the engineering or lack thereof 5) Its overall look is out of balance , disproportionate and a little disparate to say the least 6) And finally name one aspect of this build that in any way shape or form is ‘ pure ‘ as the builder claims ?

      • Smells like Guitar Slinger lookalike :p

        • …or T. J. Martin…?

          • the watcher

            Ignore him, son, he’ll go away. Well, it works in the park with willy-waggers.

  • Jim Roberts

    this style reminds me of a bike that you would see in a mid sixties hot rod magazine….an article about a guy with a ’36 plymouth painted to match,
    interior and bike seat matching, you know, the coool stuff

    • Hardley T Whipsnade III

      You obviously weren’t around in the 60’s nor read any hot rod magazines from the era have you ! Suffice it to say I was , did and still do . And this aint it ! It aint bad mind you . But this aint it !

      • Jim Roberts

        i been actually purchasing hot rod/motorcycle mags…with my own money…since about 1956. what you remember about that time was obviously clouded by what you were looking at when you found your dads’ hidden playboy collection.as far as “still do” goes, well i bet that’s right, only it’s the internet instead of relyin’ on good old dad

  • Marcus

    Overall I like the bike however I’m still perplexed with the current trend of no front fender on almost every custom built? To me I like a little more of a balance between form and function. But hey, that’s my opinion and it has no more worth that the builders.

    • The ‘front fender issue’ gets a heap of comments here. Personally, I’ve never seen the big deal. These bikes aren’t daily riders. They are for the weekends. They are for special occasions. They are for quick fangs on a Sunday morning.

      If I’m faced with a rainy Sunday morning, or the forecast looks bad, I’ll either sleep in or take a bike with guards that I don’t mind getting wet. I’m def. not going to pull a fenderless bike out of the garage in wet weather and go soak myself.

      Am I missing something? Unless you get caught in a downpour (and let’s face it, with weather apps these days, you’d have to be really unlucky for that to happen) what’s the big deal?

      • Bultaco Metralla

        I like mudguards, I really like the baroque Indian Chief mudguards and the thin blade style on cafe racers and I appreciate that you aint gonna ride in the rain but i like mudguards. i like the look of them, to me they compete the bike. I like them so much I have mudguards on all of my my bicycles. Looks as though there are some other people like me out there in the blogosphere.

        • 66saint

          No mudguard on front yet dirty great long one (although quite unobtrusive) on back

          • Bultaco Metralla

            But I like the symmetry

      • Viktor Riha

        In fact, gentlemen, I agree with both of you in a way. This particular bike was designed for easy sunny day city or short distance rides, The tires are not for wet roads either. But, the truth is, Prague is not Cali. And, during the test ride, Karel the owner ran through a wet spot and had some mud for a breakfast and as a result we are recently working on front guard design, which is a challenge as we took off the original mounts and want to keep it simple. We have some smooth idea though in general following the rear guard design. Will send some pics when its done. Thanks. Vik

        • Jester the Clown

          I like mudguards too, so that’s good to hear.
          Those tyres; well, form over function, I guess and they do seem to find their way onto quite a few customs of late; when they’re not weighed down with huge, pointless knobblies, that is.
          Fact is though, that they certainly wouldn’t find their way onto any bike that I was going to own but then, each to their own.
          The other thing that struck me immediately is the fact that the engine’s parallel to the ground.
          Is that brought about by raising or lowering either end or was this particular model blessed in the first place?
          Either way, it really is an improvement.

        • Marcus

          I look forward to seeing the updated photos thank you Vik. In my opinion It’s why custom motorcycles are appealing to us all because we get to personalise them as we see fit. Hence “that’s my opinion and it has no more worth that the builders”. Anyway thanks Andrew for bringing us great bikes and thank you to the builders for supplying. Enjoy.

  • guvnor67

    This I really like. It has a light, minimilist look. The one colour thing reminds me a bit of cars n bikes of the 80s but in a better way!! And Prague is a beautiful city and I could see this pootling around there on a nice spring day.

  • jlgace

    Very nice, and I thought the choice of tires was appropriate. Particularly love that close-up of the seat and the colour choices. The standard black seat would have been a complete letdown and the way it’s neatly tucked into the cowl is quality right there.

  • Ed Turner

    How did you keep the breather functioning at the rear fender mount?