Two custom cafe racers from the imaginatively named Retro Prestige Motorcycles.The first,BMW R65 'Le Coquin' is RPM's first commissioned build since moving to their new premises in Paarden Island,a semi-industrial neighbourhood just outside Cape Town's city center.The second is the owner,David's bike…a BMW R100RS which took him about 2 years to build and foreshadowed the creation of RPM.
Le Coquin was commissioned by a client who liked the look of David's R100RS.The colours (matt white – glossy frame & detail) have been a controversial subject since breaking cover early, on painter Burt Upton's feed.Whatever your thoughts,the colour is a corporate identity thing.My opinion?…pleasingly different.BMW's of this era (also known as 'airheads' for their air cooling) are very popular in the custom scene for obvious reasons.They're beautiful,reliable and easy to maintain.In many cases they were also excellent handling bikes which is why David stuck with the original steering geometry while doing away with the sub-frame in favour of his own design with a graceful curve mirroring the rear wheel and rear section of the frame.Obviously there's a huge amount of work gone into this,not least of which is hiding all the electrics to obtain this clean and minimalist look,a look further enhanced by the gorgeous black shaft drive unit,engine and single disc front brake,allowing the aluminium spoke wheel to stand proud.Lean,sporty and just a touch of the feminine,a difficult recipe. Uh-oh…i'm starting to gush,better crack on..
…to David's own bike.The R100RS Cafe Racer.Jason Cormier of Oddbikes recently wrote an interesting article on authenticity and without delving too deeply into shades of meaning i can say that this is the most authentic looking bike i've seen in a long time.The look of something that was built a long time ago….or something i saw in a motorcycle encyclopaedia.
Again the geometry is standard but this time the heavy sub-frame was cut away entirely and replaced with a lightweight strut type(effecting a huge weight saving),with the tailpiece and tank mounted at a rakish angle.The all important small details include bespoke aluminium foot gear,fuel filler cap,engine cover plate,bar end mirrors and clock shrouds and the bike is finished in gunmetal with blue frame and classic pinstripe detail.The only nod to visual modernity is the perfectly nestled LED taillight glowing snugly in it's recess.For those who don't know,the BMW R100RS was one of the finest handling machines of it's day and with 70hp it packed a fair punch.David started her up and took a little burn up & down the road….smooth as silk with that classic boxer twin sound….and yes,really quite loud.
To look at these two bikes,one might think that RPM's sticking to a recipe but no…something completely different is already on the cards (and in the background in the pics above).A Honda CBX750,the design of which is still a secret but if these two are any indication,it'll be something quite special.Also look out for the Bison flat tracker,now nearing completion and an updated take on a classic BSA Lightning.