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Jaw-Dropping Custom BMW R 80 Cafe Racer Is All About the Handmade Alloy Bodywork

When it comes to modifying an old-school airhead from BMW, there are a few well-defined recipes that most builders will stick to. Seeing countless reinterpretations of what are basically the same old blueprints can get pretty stale, though, which is part of the reason why the project we’re about to look at is so alluring. Hailing from Eastern Spirit Garage, this thing is unlike any other R-series custom we’ve seen so far.
Custom BMW R 80 Cafe Racer 35 photos
Photo: Mateusz Stankiewicz
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Sylwester Mateusiak describes it as the most challenging endeavor he’d ever been involved in, but this wasn’t just due to the technical difficulties it presented. The Polish craftsman was also dealing with some personal issues at the time, and they nearly caused the project to be canceled altogether. Still, Sylwester decided to press on, his perseverance eventually resulting in one of the raddest custom boxers out there.

The build was commissioned by Marcin, a client from Warsaw who’d provided a 1993 BMW R 80 as the basis for this transformation. It wasn’t exactly a complete bike, however, instead getting handed over to Sylwester as a collection of parts in separate boxes. Marcin sought a sporty cafe racer with removable fairings and two interchangeable tail units, but these were the only conditions he put forward.

Everything else was left up to Eastern Spirit, and Sylwester clearly went to town here. Of course, the most remarkable thing about this R 80 is the new bodywork, which was painstakingly manufactured from scratch using aluminum sheets. You might find this hard to believe, but the project’s author wasn’t very familiar with metalwork prior to this venture, so he had to learn the ropes as he went along.

For the motorcycle’s front end, he came up with a curvy three-piece fairing that looks absolutely majestic to say the least. It’s placed on handmade stainless-steel mounting hardware and can easily be removed in just a few minutes whenever Marcin pleases. Alternatively, he can also opt for a half-faired setup by only taking off the lower sections, but the full package looks the best if you ask me.

Custom BMW R 80 Cafe Racer
Photo: Mateusz Stankiewicz
Beneath the cafe-style fairing at the front, one may find a bespoke headlight housing equipped with a retro-looking lens. There’s a slim front fender installed lower down, perfectly following the line of the lower fairing and preventing road debris from going where it shouldn’t. Moving southward, we’re greeted by a sizeable fuel tank topped with a Monza-style filler cap, but it actually houses more than just gasoline.

Its rearmost section features a separate chamber for storing items like a lithium-ion battery and a fresh wiring harness. Sylwester got rid of the R 80’s stock subframe, replacing it with a much sexier custom alternative he’d fabricated in-house. Attached to it on the flanks are bright LED turn signals, and there’s some snazzy modular sorcery going on up top.

Marcin has the option of equipping either a flat bench seat with room for two or a cafe racer tail unit fronted by a solo saddle. The former would look out of place with the fairings on, but take them off and it all makes perfect sense. As for the other setup, it suits both the faired and naked versions of this motorcycle gracefully, giving the owner several different arrangements to choose from.

Custom BMW R 80 Cafe Racer
Photo: Mateusz Stankiewicz
To finally round out the new aluminum outfit, Sylwester added a svelte rear fender whose rearmost tip carries a discreet LED lighting strip. On the mechanical front, he performed a rejuvenating overhaul of the Beemer’s air-cooled 797cc boxer-twin engine. Youthful bearings and gaskets were installed in the process, while the factory Bing carbs have been swapped with Mikuni items that breathe through tailor-made velocity stacks.

The twin-cylinder powerplant exhales though bespoke stainless-steel pipework, which ends in slash-cut mufflers with internal baffles on the left. In terms of running gear, this ravishing R 80 employs the inverted forks and Tokico brake calipers of a 2002 Suzuki GSX-R1000 at the front. By contrast, the brake discs were transplanted from a 2009 Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade, and the BMW’s stock rear drum has been retained.

Suspension duties in that area are now assigned to a YSS monoshock. To take this project across the finish line, Eastern Spirit’s mastermind fitted an array of stylish accessories all throughout, including billet aluminum rearsets, clip-on handlebars, and a tiny aftermarket speedometer. It would’ve been a shame to hide Sylwester’s incredible handiwork beneath any paint and Marcin agreed, so raw alloy is the name of the game here.

You will, however, notice a pinch of gold paint on the original R 80 wheels, whose rims are clad in retro-looking Dunlop tires. That brings us to the end of this breathtaking transformation, and it should go without saying that an insane amount of work has been put into it! Sylwester Mateusiak’s undertakings never fail to impress, but he totally outdid himself with this one.
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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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