Here’s a Mind-Blowing BMW K 100 Cafe Racer Built by a French Tattoo Artist

BMW K 100 Cafe Racer 21 photos
Photo: Joel Alba via Silodrome
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Frenchman Joel Alba is a talented tattoo artist known publicly as Dr. Joe, and you’ll come across some truly incredible portraits in his portfolio. However, it appears that Joel doesn’t just have a great eye for detail when it comes to ink, because you will occasionally find him indulging in motorcycle customization, too. As you can see below, the doctor’s bikes are just as cool as his tattoos!
Trading his studio at Les Ateliers du Dr. Joe for a garage workspace afterhours, he'd crafted this rad Bavarian cafe racer a few years back. The project’s starting point was a BMW K 100 – the Flying Brick platform often overlooked in favor of Motorrad’s boxer-twin R models. Interestingly enough, Joel’s transformation is a lot more interesting than what we’ve seen from many professional builders.

He did away with each and every piece of stock bodywork he could get his hands on, including the angular fuel tank that others prefer to retain. Items like the factory exhaust, subframe, and rear shock absorber followed suit, leaving him with a blank canvas awaiting customization. Vintage race bikes acted as Joel’s main source of inspiration visually, and the fruit of his labor is an incredible sight to behold.

Of course, the most notable change is the K 100’s new attire, which was meticulously built from scratch using a mixture of aluminum and fiberglass. Starting with the fuel tank placed center-stage, its inner cell is a boxy alloy item topped with a flip-up Monza filler cap. By contrast, the outer tank cover was shaped out of fiberglass, and a new fuel pump was required to make this whole setup fit seamlessly.

You’ll notice a pointy cafe-style tail section further back, supported by a bespoke subframe that’s been fabricated in-house. Up top, there is a two-piece leather saddle stitched with blue thread for contrast, but the real star of the show is the front fairing. It’s made of fiberglass just like the tail and tank cover, wearing a clear windshield and dripping with classic flavor.

BMW K 100 Cafe Racer
Photo: Joel Alba via Silodrome
As a very cool little touch, Joel embedded a pair of BMW Z4 turn signals into the fairing’s winglets near the back, doubling up as decorative roundels. The headlamp is perched on a shiny engine crash bar down on the left-hand side, and it comes with a yellow-tinted lens to keep things looking interesting. At the rear, the motorcycle carries a full suite of LED lighting components, all recessed into the subframe tubing.

Oh, and in case you’re looking for the license plate bracket, you’ll find it attached to the drivetrain right behind the left foot peg. When it came to the suspension, Joel decided to keep the K 100’s standard forks in play, but had them fitted with modern springs and fresh oil. The stanchions are now held in place by the repurposed triple clamps of an unidentified Laverda.

At the other end, the Beemer’s standard shock absorber was ditched in favor of a higher-spec alternative, which enabled the French artisan to get its posture just right. Although the OEM wheels are still present, they’ve been repainted and then cloaked in grippy Bridgestone rubber fore and aft. The outer edges of the spokes were polished to add some visual depth.

BMW K 100 Cafe Racer
Photo: Joel Alba via Silodrome
Take a look at the cockpit area, and you’ll spot a custom panel housing LED warning lights, all fronted by a digital aftermarket dial. Lower down, Joel installed a set of clip-on handlebars complete with bar-end mirrors and plain rubber grips. In terms of powertrain upgrades, this K 100 cafe racer boasts mesh-covered velocity stacks and a custom exhaust muffler made of stainless-steel.

Many of the engine covers got cleaned up and polished to look brand-new, while the frame and lower forks were painted black just like the wheels. On the other hand, just about every bodywork component has been finished in white, save for the aluminum gas tank. The front fairing and tail section wear graphics showcasing the number 52, which holds great personal significance for the project’s author.

It is a reference to the year of his father’s birth, as Dr. Joe felt the need to honor the person who go him into motorcycling many years ago. The digits are done in silver and encircled by black ovals with blue outlines, neatly echoing the color palette found elsewhere. With the paint job out of the way, Joel’s caffeinated Flying Brick was complete and ready to hit the road.

Apparently, Monsieur Alba is just as proficient with parts fabrication and intricate mods as he is with ink, so perhaps we'll someday see him taking these skills beyond a mere hobby. He’d already achieved great success with Les Atelier du Dr. Joe, and his occasional bike-modding endeavors show just as much potential! We honestly can’t wait to see what his next custom project will bring to the table.
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About the author: Silvian Secara
Silvian Secara profile photo

A bit of an artist himself, Silvian sees two- and four-wheeled machines as a form of art, especially restomods and custom rides. Oh, and if you come across a cafe racer article on our website, it’s most likely his doing.
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