Beautiful people are said to have good bones.
If that’s true, then the old (1982-84) BMW R bikes must be gorgeous, because they surely have good bones.
Tucked underneath a fairing of questionable aesthetic appeal (to my eye, anyway) are the makings of a sexy adaptation — that lumpy, mechanical Boxer engine, of course, and the essential simplicity of the design.
That’s what makes these bikes so popular for reimagining. A quickie internet search will deliver a bunch of examples.
Here’s a particularly striking one, recently profiled by RideApart.com. But it takes the idea of a conversion so far that it feels fair to ask — at what point is it no longer a BMW?
Dutch custom shop Moto Adonis did the standard stuff, like stripping off the bodywork and ditching the square headlight (adding a thoroughly retro-modern round LED lamp in its place.)
They also changed the tank — this one from a CB500. The seat’s new too, a low-profile replacement that dramatically changes the shape of the bike. Clipons have been added.
That red new SRAD fork is from a Suzuki GSX-R, although the original brake disc and calipers survive.
Black aluminum disc wheels take the old RT into new territory. And the exhaust has been reworked, with the tip now under the new seat.
At least the engine is unchanged, still the 797cc four-stroke puffing out 50 horsepower.
And that completes the transformation of the stodgy, short-lived BMW R 80 RT from a tourer into a retro café racer.
It’s striking; there’s no denying that. Just how much is it still a BMW? I guess it doesn’t matter. The artists at Moto Adonis have made it into a new beautiful thing.