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‘The Beast’ BMW R1100S Cafe Racer – Moto Adonis

Posted on March 10, 2017 by Andrew in Café Racer. 32 comments

Written by Marlon Slack.

Moto Adonis is a curiously named workshop based out of Roosendaal in the Netherlands. They’ve cut their teeth on a few staples of the scene over the last few years, producing a Virago cafe racer and some tidy old airheads. This time around it’s another crouched down, cafe’d up special but built around a rare sight in the custom scene – a late-model 2004 BMW R1100S – the dad jeans of sport bikes.

Maybe the owner of the Beemer knew this when he first approached Moto Adonis. Like many others after a cafe racer, he was lusting after a stripped-back custom based on a 70’s or 80’s Bavarian. You’ve seen it done hundreds of times before, the R75/5 or R100 with blacked-out rims and a choaded-out rear end. They’re always good. But after riding the customers’ everyday R1100S, the team decided that was going to be the base of their next build.

According to Daan Borsje, head Adonis of Moto Adonis, it was an easy direction to go in. He was smitten with the bike. ‘The power, the raw sound, that big ass open wheel… I loved it!’ he says. It has a good amount of horsepower on tap, it’s reliable and handles well too. So on paper it sounds like a prime candidate for a build, except, according to Daan, one minor thing: It’s ugly. ‘…of course the styling sucks,’ he admits. ‘But that’s why he came to us!’

“The R1100S is not a cool bike in stock trim. They’re mostly admired by very middle-aged, very clinical riders with names like ‘Herbert’ and ‘Doug’.”

And the styling on the standard model is no minor hurdle to overcome. Because no matter what you think of the R1100S it’s not a cool bike in stock trim. They’re mostly admired by very middle-aged, very clinical riders with names like ‘Herbert’ and ‘Doug’. That’s partly why you don’t see too many customised. The other reason is it’s a modern bike, with modern challenges to overcome during the build process.

Most of those were related to hiding the wiring. The crew tore down the BMW and then turned their attention to the fuel tank. The standard unit was stripped and had the bottom end cut out which was mated to the top and sides of a R100S police gas tank. That allowed the fuel pump and electronic wizardry to be Anne Frank’d up away inside. The rest of the wiring is pushed into a box that sits where the old airbox used to live. But most of it is under that tank.

‘Everything is under there. The ECU, the ignition coils and the fuel pump, of course,’ Daan says.’Besides that in front of the tank there are a thousand cables, relays and all the usual stuff you’ll find in a modern bike’. In a neat touch, a bracket was mounted to the right hand side of the tank to fit the Acewell speedo.

At the back end, a new tail loop was installed on the stripped down frame, with an integrated LED brake light and indicator mount. Now a staple of the custom motorcycle scene, German company Motogadget provide the controls on the clip-ons.

Finally, the paint was completed using a colour from Renaults’ catalogue (the only thing even vaguely related to Renault I’d let near a bike) which is a deep grey with a light fleck in it. It works nicely which with the pale grey covers over the shaft drive and engine head which dominates the palette from the right hand side.

“The paint was completed using a colour from Renaults’ catalogue (the only thing even vaguely related to Renault I’d let near a bike)”

Hauling the BMW cafe racer along are a pair of custom headers running into a Shark exhaust, K&N air filters all round and a power commander unit to get the fuelling just right. Hagon suspension keeps both ends planted firmly on the ground. Well, mostly. ‘The thing flies like a plane!’ declares Daan, ‘I’m heading off to do some wheelies!’

[Moto Adonis – Facebook – Instagram | Photos by Mark Meisner]

  • Right about the stock bike, but I think Herbert Quandt would really like to see what’s happening with “his” bikes.

    PS. Proud to see another great machine from Holland!

    • Marlon

      The Dutch don’t do too many customs, but when they do it’s lekker!

      • Haha!

      • guvnor67

        Back in the late 80s and early 90s we used to meet up with a large group of Dutch men and ladies, at the Kent Show and Bulldog Bash, all on really kool, well built bikes, all great people, all mad as a bunny on illegal substances. Good times!

  • Len Farquharson

    I know that you have to filter out so many BMW customs. The reason that they are so popular is that the basics are just so sound right out of the box. Thanks for letting a few of the better ones through. There is much to like about this build!

  • Marc Claes

    My congrats to Daan, Moto Adonis worked out a dream in all aspects. It will be a joy to ride.

  • JayJay

    Oh god I really like a stock r1100S.. I’m only 27! Don’t forget the design is from 1998, it aged pretty well IMO. As for the transformation: It’s a really nice one. Looks functional.

    • Marlon

      I secretly like them too. But I enjoy riling people up too much not to chuck in a dig at the model.

  • the watcher

    A nice enough Boxer caff, but if this is what you want why not buy a nine-T. It’s simply a better bike (as standard) and I doubt that the cost would be much different.

    • Guzzto

      Rnine T is at least $14,000 (NZD) more than a R1100s in my neck of the woods. (second hand prices)

    • #builtnotbought

      • the watcher

        I doubt that, after PAYING SOMEONE to build it, the actual cost was wildly different. And if you buy an R nine-T used (with proper forks, Brembos, and oooh, that tank), then you can create your own bike as you go along (just like the original cafe-racers did). Built, not bought!

        • the watcher

          N.b Just come from local BMW dealership, where the faired R nine-T in Martini livery was available for test rides. Oh man; real world Duke PS? New Bonnie owners may wonder if they rushed into something.

          • Ronald van Gulden

            Saw the new R nineT with the fairing too today and the grey new R nineT pure. Both very cool looking bikes. The livery probably isn’t Martini though but BMW Motorsport. Bike looked really good in the flesh, much better then in the pictures.

          • the watcher

            Yeah, I did wonder, just couldn’t decide (without going back for a look). Hindsight? Think you’re right.

          • Marlon

            Oh man I’m busting for a ride on one of those. They look astonishingly good.

  • Ronald van Gulden

    Very cool bike on a great base.Finnaly a very nice cafe racer based on a more current and very nice riding boxer. Didn’t care much for the Anne Frank refference though because I find it neither funny or clever considdering how that story ended.

    • Marlon

      The story ended with the bike being wheelied?!

      • Ronald van Gulden

        That would be this story not that story…

        • dCarter2

          I love German motorcycles but using an Anne Frank “joke” in describing one is a non starter. Still time to fix the error.

          • Charlie Allnut

            I too am concerned, no appalled. The bad taste of that clumsy reference destroyed the account of the bike, for me.

  • Greybeard1

    “Herbert and Doug”.
    You mean like Herbert Schek and Doug Polen?

    • Marlon

      Nah more like Herbert my 60 year old account who mentions ‘hipsters’ so often it’s a speech impediment and Doug, my uncle who doesn’t eat onions because they’re too spicy.

  • guvnor67

    Not bad at all. And, good to have a rider on board shot, gives one a better idea of the size of the bike, riding poposition etc. Unless of course he’s 6′ 6″?! He likes that shirt too, check the photo of him with the Bobeus BMW.

    • It’s a jacket, and it’s advisable to wear one on a bike 🙂

      And it’s not that we buy new clothes every time we photograph one of his bikes hahaha

      • guvnor67

        Ha ha! Wasn’t having a dig, I have a fave jacket that’s older than Everest, but wouldn’t be seen on a bike without it.

  • Mike Nelson

    “Anne Frank’d” as a clever phrase?….

    Out and un-bookmarked as of now.

    • Marlon


      • Charlie Allnut

        Such crass buffoonery lipsticked as clever,out-there, banter. Breath that will always stink.

      • lennard schuurmans

        Marlon, did you quote Moto Adonis or did you write that? Was that supposed to be funny, wtf?

  • Hugo Esqui

    The best ever on an modern R, I will try to do my personal project with my 2004 R1150R following your beautiful cafe, use to be my daily commute until a car crash over me, broken tibia and fibula on my righ leg, and my R get a broken rear arm, several damage on the back but front and engine are ok… this is a healing time but after I been okey I will like to copy cat if you don’t mind this cafe racer, I’m not a pro but looking this beautiful bike it inspire me to modify my R into a CR.
    You rock dudes, it make my healing days feel better…😃

  • BoxerFanatic

    “The R1100S is not a cool bike in stock trim. They’re mostly admired by very middle-aged, very clinical riders with names like ‘Herbert’ and ‘Doug’.”

    I guess I can add my name to that list… I really like the R1100S, and aside from a bit of oddity in the “face” of the front fairing, and a bit of vinyl to black out the bits of plastic on the bodywork that cover the airbox below the style line, I think it is a very cohesive design, with a very cool under-tail exhaust treatment. If only the new R1200RS water-cooled bike were so cohesively designed, instead of looking like a Michael Bay Decepticon.

    More than a cafe racer, I would love to have an R1200R hex head or water-cooled bike, converted to a modernized version of the R1100S half-faired flowing bodywork, with LED or laser lean-steering headlight, Hossack/Duolever SLA suspension on the front, Paralever Evo dual link suspension on the back, forged aluminum or carbon wheels, sport touring ergos, current-decade tech, and stylish aesthetic grace. Really what R1200RS should have been, if they hadn’t given up on styling or suspension geometry.

    ‘Clinical’ usually doesn’t appreciate aesthetics, and R1100S is one of BMW’s most timeless, aesthetically enduring bikes, when others have been not so visually pleasing, like R1150 Rockster, R1200C, R1200ST, and others.