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.

1983 BMW R 80 RT — image courtesy of thetwowheelcentre

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 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.)

Custom BMW R 80 RT — photo courtesy of

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.

Custom BMW R 80 RT — photo courtesy of

That red new SRAD fork is from a Suzuki GSX-R, although the original brake disc and calipers survive.

Custom BMW R 80 RT — photo courtesy of

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.

Custom BMW R 80 RT — photo courtesy of

At least the engine is unchanged, still the 797cc four-stroke puffing out 50 horsepower.

Custom BMW R 80 RT — photo courtesy of

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.

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