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BMW K100RS Cafe Racer – Hageman Motorcycles

Posted on February 24, 2017 by Andrew in Café Racer, Classic. 31 comments

Written by Marlon Slack.

You don’t have know Hageman MC to recognise their work. Seen those Virago cafe racers? Greg Hageman helped create that look. Oogled the Yamaha SCR950 Scrambler? That was a shameless riff on his builds. His work is clinically excellent and his influence on the scene is profound – he’s like a motorcycling Bono, but without being an insufferable dickhead. This time around he’s tackled his first BMW, a 1983 K100RS. And he wasn’t confident it would come out looking this good.

The customer for the cafe’d BMW was on a tight budget, which worried Greg a little. “Having never worked on a K bike I had no idea what the cost of parts and labor would be,” he says. “So it was a gamble to build one.” And things didn’t bode well the first time he laid eyes on the donor bike.

“I wasn’t sure if it was the best platform for a build,” Greg says.“It looked so bulky and heavy, it looked mammoth even with the bodywork off.” It wasn’t just the size of the bike that presented problems. In standard trim the BMW doesn’t have the right stance for a cafe conversion. “The lines of the bike weren’t the greatest. The forks were way too long and the bike sat high in front and low in the rear.”

“It tucks the nose of the bike down and offers complete suspension control, including more rebound options than a dumped freshman cheerleader.”

So Greg scoured Craigslist and haggled out a ‘98 Yamaha R6 front end. It serves two purposes – it tucks the nose of the bike down and offers complete suspension control, including more rebound options than a dumped freshman cheerleader. At the rear, Greg fitted a specially made Hagon shock, 20mm higher than standard. Rounding out the stance is a new frame from the tank rearwards, which mounts a seat from Nevada company Tuffside.

Prior to delivery the K100 had already been serviced. But Greg went over the whole thing, replacing every rubber component on the bike. It also received new 4 hole Bosch injectors, plugs, a thermostat and cables. Along with the frame, most engine parts were powdercoated satin black, which makes that 975cc blacked-out stressed member really stress my member.

Members of the K-series fanklub will notice that the big autobahn bomber still has a centre stand and lifting handle, and they’ll be nodding quietly into their steins. When leaning over on it’s side stand the big ol’ K leaks oil through the rings causing it to dump a big belch of smoke on startup. “Unless you work for some mosquito pest control company, I recommend parking on the center stand,” Greg says.

The biggest challenge provided by the K100 was it’s overly-complicated wiring. “I’m pretty sure somewhere in the world the letters BMW stand for ‘Way Over Complicated and For No Reason,” Greg says. “Connecting the aftermarket gauge nearly required an electronic engineering degree.” But after much head scratching and tracing of wires everything was made to work flawlessly.

Things were much easier when it came to the Tarozzi mounted switchgear and lever assemblies. “I decided to keep the standard controls and refurbish them. These are built so much better than any I’ve seen before. You can tell they were made to last”. Completing the hunched-over stance are BSR rear sets, which tuck the rider down behind a 7” headlight with blinding H4 bulb and traditional-style guard.

All that hard work paid off in the end, with Greg surprised by the way the slab-sided K went around corners. “It actually handles very, very well,” he says. And that big inline four has a surprising amount of torque “Other than a lot of vibration around 2,000RPM it revs high and smooth… I was easily able to bring the front end up.”

Greg Hageman has created another custom motorcycle that not only looks good, but handles like hell. And this time it was all done on a budget. Well, sort of. All that electrical head-scratching slowed the build down. “In the end I blew way past the budget in both parts cost and labour,” he says. But looking at that big slab-sided cafe racer I think it’s all worth it.

[Hageman Motorcycles – Facebook – Instagram | Photos by Erick Runyon]

  • Bultaco Metralla

    A really nice job on the flying brick. Quite the best cafe on the K100 platform I’ve seen. Congratulations

  • Greybeard1

    The man has serious chops.

  • JayJay

    Nothing new, but real class. Great idea to use the R6 front end.

  • Mike Martens

    Whenever Greg’s builds break cover, I seem to be saying to myself “that’s the best ____ to date.” Insert xs, cx, xv, xj, sporty, k100… and so on. Whatever the make/model, the statement stands up.

  • guvnor67

    Greg Hageman always builds a nice bike, some great bikes, some genius. This, I believe may be one of his best yet, and certainly one of the best K series Kustoms around. Darkness suits the bike, broken enough by the seat, but It’s also Sooooo clean, and the stance perfect. Excellent!

  • the watcher

    By is one of the best builders out there and a hero of the movement, yet he has succeeded in making just about the first K-custom that I find uninteresting. Can’t please all the people all the time, ho hum.

    • I has zero gimmicks, and that only makes it better. Just because it doesn’t hit you over the head doesn’t mean its’ uninteresting…

      • the watcher

        Perhaps “uninspiring” would have been a better word. And again, I’ve been a big fan of GH since seeing his CX and Virago builds on C-R TV yonks back; this is the first time I’ve been moved to anything less than plaudits. Subjective? Natch.

  • Duke Fan

    This is the way to build a bike! The headlight trim? is awesome! Above & beyond anything else I’ve seen.

  • Best one (K-bike), I’ve seen to date. Would like to see a couple curves in the exhaust, but other than that…perfect.

  • AB

    Very Very nice. Couple comments, I’ve said it before on the K – the tank/seat/subframe area needs a small cover or something to tidy the visual differing angles. And builders miss the opportunity to make the headers a feature – I’d be polishing up some stainless and showing off welding skills. Anyone got a free K for me to play with?

  • Neil_TonUp

    Balanced, refined, and visually ominous. Outstanding job by a thorough professional.

  • Just goes to show that you don’t have to go OTT to build an amazing bike. The attention to detail is masterful.

    • “Less is more” always wins, because…’s more.

  • Andy Rappold

    He did it again! What a beautiful build. I guess you can throw anything at Hageman and it comes out classy!

    • docschops

      Thanks Andy!

  • Cam

    hey pipeburn, is there a possibility you could include video in yr format. I often would like to hear these bikes and see them corner as well.

    • Thanks for the feedback, Cam. While it sounds like a good idea, the logistics for the builders would most likely mean more stress for them and a delay at our end getting the bikes live.

      Yes, it’s easy enough to whip out a iPhone and take 10 seconds of very average-looking, amateur footage that may tell us a little about the bike’s sound and how it looks on the road. It definitely wouldn’t show the bike in a favourable light, and I’m not sure we’re really that keen on jamming average-looking iPhone footage next to the pro-quality photos we demand from the builders.

      Long story short? If they already have good quality footage, we’ll post it. If they don’t, I’d suggest that the hassle in trying to get it would far outweigh the benefits to our readers.

      Make sense?

      • Cam

        sure, thx.

  • Len Farquharson

    A new benchmark for this model!

  • Larry Kahn

    Should have someone at BMW thinking about dusting off the old tooling and building a few like this…

    • Mike Martens

      Yah… like Yamaha did with his 950? No fun to be Greg and have your fingerprint stolen… again.

  • Ben Kingham

    Rearsets are BSK Speedworks, not BSR as quoted.

    • docschops

      Sorry, my fault, I gave the wrong info, thanks for correcting. They are great rear sets, perfect position even for a 6′ rider, very comfortable as well as high quality

  • KrookStreetRacing

    Wow. That is clean. Congratulations on a great build.

  • docschops

    Thank you for so many kind compliments, always nice to have a build that is understood and I”m humbled with appreciation