Rudy's Brat-style Beemer
By Anthony van Someren - 21 Jun 13
Seems like BMW/R Brats & Cafes are polarising the cafe/custom community with heaps of praise or bitter comments beginning with "fugly". It's a Marmite bike: People love them or hate them. But one thing is for sure; whatever the lovers or haters will say, more and more of these reliable Bavarian work-horses are being turned into cafes and brats - because they work. If you've ever spent more than 24 hours in Paris you'll have seen at least three on the streets, each one cooler than the last, and we saw dozens at Wheels & Waves in Biarritz, but no two were alike. The humble donor... Although this one is a Shed build by first-time bike-tinkerer, Rudy, it's a really nice example of the breed. Rudy actually asked us not to post it next to any of the builds by Kevils or Untitled in case they made his bike look crap, but this build deserves it's place anywhere on our pages because it just looks right. We all know the BMW components will do their job - so all we are left with is; have you made this agricultural beast desirable? ...and the answer is a big, fat, Yes. The bike is based on a 1974 R75/6 and was built entirely in Rudy's own garage, which he is keen to point is in no way a professional workspace. He reckons he spent more money on tools than parts or materials - but the up side is he can build more. He borrowed a friends welder and got a 15 minute crash course in how not to set yourself or your garage on fire, and along with his dremel and local hardware store Rudy had all he needed to get on with the job. "I wanted to stay as true to cafe roots as I knew how, so my one rule was; as much comes off as possible and nothing bigger or heavier goes on. She's a complete 180 from my Ducati Sport Classic which was mostly built by a local bike shop. Simply the satisfaction of doing everything yourself from scratch makes the trial and error, and the entire process, worthwhile." Everything electrical came off - all the gauges, turn signals, tail lights, etc. The only thing that remained was the headlight. Rudy has a bicycle GPS that he uses as speedo and odometer. The ignition was moved to the hole that previously housed the seat locking mechanism. The clip-ons are from woodcraft technologies. The only other real addition was the lightweight Lithium Ion Shorai battery, which is such a weight saving item it probably feels more like something else was thrown away. The frame was shortened 4 inches, while the seat and seat pan were both handmade by Rudy - all of which gave the biggest drop in weight, which is always the cheapest performance mod possible. In fact Rudy was able to complete the entire build for under US $500. Whether you're a fan or a flamer this simple flat-black Cafe/Brat hybrid is a really lovely build. A perfect example of home-built simple quality, defined by the things your throw away, the things you hide and the things you minimise, to leave you with just engine, wheels, tank, seat and controls. Here at the Bike Shed we also had the joys of owning both a Ducati Sport Classic 1000 and a BMW cafe racer at the same time, and whatever anyone says about performance, it was no less joy taking the beemer out for a ride than it was the Duc. Different maybe, but no less fun.