The Beard Juice Cafe Racer 2017
At the ripe old age of 43, I have never owned a motorbike. I could say that I have always been a petrol head and I do love cars, and when in my early teens you were either in the get a bike when your 16 group, or save up for a car when your 17 group. I got a car, browny orange Mark 5 Ford Cortina GLS no less. It never left the driveway as it was a rust bucket. My proper first car was a Mark 1 Golf GTi (great days). Anyway, looking back I know very well why I was in the car gang and have been until this day. 6 words that my late great Dad firmly spoke to my brother and I when we were nippers….
“You’re never having a F***ing motorbike”
Without going into the details my Dad had a bad accident when he was a teenager, and he didn’t want to see me or my brother have the same fate, and those words certainly didn’t fall on deaf ears, well until now. In my defense this beauty is not intended as a daily rider, this is about business mixed with a little pleasure perhaps.
So why a bike?
2016 saw the start of something very special. The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride which took place across the Globe including several locations across the UK including London. I was lucky enough to be there outside the Ritz as the Gents cruised by along the Strand. Right there and then I said, “I’m going to that next year”. And there the quest began.
After many many minutes research on tin-ternet I soon choose the bike. It had to be a biggish engine, something old and fairly easy to convert into a Cafe Racer. Do an image search online for K100 Cafe Racer and you can see there are a lot. So I was lucky enough to get a second chance on the bike which I forgot I had bid on. Fortunately for me, the winning bidder was a no-show, so his loss is my gain. If I hadn’t have bought the bike the owner was going to break it for spares, so I am saying that I have saved this little German Beauty.
Not having much experience with bikes or any major mechanical experience other than tinkering with my own cars, this is going to be a learn as I go approach, with as much help from members of bike forums, which so far I am pleased to say are extremely helpful.
- Strip the bike down to frame.
- Complete respray of all engine parts in Beard Juice colours (black and gold)
- Cut the rear end of the frame off the fit a small Cafe Racer style seat
- Send the frame out for sand blasting and powder coating
- Rebuild the bike with all new pipes, tubing, discs, pads basically anything that is perishable, the bike is 32 years old after all.
- Pass my bike test!
- Do all of this before 24th September for the Distinguished Gentlemans Ride
I will be updating the progress of the build on this post so keep coming back to see more photos.
The Beard Juice Cafe Racer. Weekend 4
So it’s now time to get down to the nitty-gritty. It’s time to bring out the safety goggles and angle grinder. Yes, its the measure once cut twice time!!
The seat, in my opinion, makes the bike. it’s the difference between a good looking bike and a great looking bike. Obviously budget plays a big part in this, as the one-off custom fabricated seats can look amazing. There are so many styles to choose from, along with doing your own thing, and I’m still not 100% decided on what route to take.
I have started with the original seat to use as a base and see if it would work, once I cut it down to my desired shape and size. The trouble, I very quickly found is that it would require a bucket load of fabricating to get the desired look. So that idea is on hold while I look at the other options. The next choice is the fiberglass base which I guess is the more traditional cafe racer look. I do like this look but I’m still undecided.
The final option is an off the shelf seat. There are plenty to choose from but my favourite is again with the humped back. This seat can mount straight onto the frame as is but doesn’t give a great look as the frame doesn’t run flat with the seat. The other option is to have an extra beam welded onto the frame giving a more natural look.
The Beard Juice Cafe Racer. Weekend 5
Weekend 4 quickly turned into weekend 5, as I spent most of my time conjuring new recipes for the new Beard Juice range of UK Beard Oils. So a week on I finally got round to chopping the frame.
A fairly daunting task to be honest, as I don’t want to go down the routes of having it repaired if I screw up. So I measured up and let the grinder do its worst. All went well and the frame looks good.
The next job was to try and remove the forks from the Yokes, which I knew would be a problem, as 2 of the bolts had been rounded off, from where a previous owner had attempted to remove them. With much fiddling and banging and swearing I managed to get one off, but the final screw must have been threaded, and after a look online a replacement yoke was only a few quid so I decided to cut the Yoke and save myself a lot of time.
The Beard Juice Cafe Racer. Weekend 6
Big Weekend this one, lots to do.
First job prep and ready the seat pan for the fabricator. Being 30+ years old the seat pan is quite badly rusted, so I purchased a little fiberglass repair kit and patched up as best I could just to give a little more strength to the thinning metal. I then sanded down and gave the seat a few coats of paint just to make it a little more presentable and give it some protection from rust.
Then onto the frame. I have arranged for the very talented Beard Juice Ambassador Tom Hindley to weld seat mounts to the frame. He also added some extra weld to a part of the frame as I had cut a bit too much meat from a part of the frame.
My original plan was to have the frame sandblasted and powder coated, as its a quick and relatively cheap process. But I want to be involved in the build as much as possible, so I decided to have a go at sanding it down myself, and take it from there.
It took the best part of a day to have the frame rust and crud-free, and there was a lot more surface rust on the frame than I originally thought. I then covered the frame with an anti-rust liquid, just to kill off anything I might have missed.
There are parts of the frame where the petrol tank sits that are very hard to get at with the sander, so I covered that area with some Hammerite that I had lying around, and I was quite impressed with the look, so before you know it I had hand painted the entire frame.
It was definitely not my original intention, and I am regretting it a little bit at the moment. Standard Hammerite has that lumpy look that works well on certain applications, and I am not sure this is one of those. Although the majority of the frame will be covered in various bike parts, the exposed frame areas need to look the part, so I am going to wait until I can get the frame back on the bike and see what it looks like.
Worst case scenario I can just send it off to the sandblaster and get it blasted and powder coated, or I could give it a light wet and dry and go over it with another few layers of paint.
A Quick Look Back
Although it’s only been a few weeks since I purchased the bike, when I look over the photos it’s clear how far the bike has come, and to be honest what a state it was in when I bought it.
Here’s a few photos showing the poor condition of the old girl.
The Beard Juice Cafe Racer. Weekend 7
Didn’t get that much done this weekend, other than spraying the forks and wheels. After spraying the frame I discovered that Hammerite do a smooth version, which shows it pays to do your research first! I got in touch with Hammerite to ask if the smooth version could be sprayed over the standard version I used on the frame, and their prompt reply says it can. So, when the frame comes back from the seat fabricator, I will key the frame and give it a couple of coats of the smooth, as the wheels have come out a treat using the Hammerite smooth.
I used the same gold paint as I have used on other parts of the engine. Although it is designed for high temperature engine parts I don’t see any issues with it being on the forks. I have to point out, I have intentionally sprayed the wheels the lazy way by leaving the tyres on. I have new tyres coming soon so the current tyres are no good, so no harm in leaving them on.
The Beard Juice Cafe Racer. Weekend 8
As its April already I’m starting to get concerned that time is running out, therefore I’m making an executive decision and taking Fridays afternoons of work so I can spend more time on the build.
I think I am nearing the end of the endless spraying, or at least the bulk of it is done. Today I keyed the frame and gave it a new cost of Hammerite smooth from a rattle can. It is a very forgiving paint, but is only as good as the preparation and surface it’s going on. So the frame is ok, but not going to win any awards, but most importantly I am happy with it. I cut down the front mudguard, and have put on some fiberglass to an area that was broken. I will finish this off when I spray the fuel tank.
The new tyres have been ordered and will be here next week hopefully. Its been a bit of a nightmare with the tyres as apparently the size of the K100 front wheel is a bit unusual, so I am limited to what tyre I can have. There are some nice tyres but many of them will have an inner tube, and I am told that’s not the best route to take, especially if you get a flat on a motorway. So I have decided on the Pirelli Scorpion MT90. These are a compromise as I was wanting the ‘knobbly’ look to match the style of the bike, but safety comes first. These tyres are rated to a max speed of 98mph, which to be honest is good, as I have zero intentions of doing 58mph on it, let alone 98!
I have started on the brakes and cleaned up the rear brake caliper, and have given it a couple of coats of VHT gold, and am going to get the new pads fitted as soon as I can work out how to get the brake piston pushed back in! I have also cleaned up the shock absorber and sprayed over the brake fluid reservoir, as the white plastic holder stood out like a sore thumb on the black & gold styling of the bike.
What with taking the frame off time and time again, plus general tinkering, a few chips, and marks have appeared on the engine, so once I get all the big jobs out the way, I am going to tidy up the chips and marks, before the full rebuild starts.
The highlight of the week by far was picking up the custom seat. the boys at Viking Motorcycle Seats have done an AMAZING job, and I could not be happier. The quality is amazing and they produced exactly what I asked for. We have a Bentley stitching on faux suede, with a dark brown leatherette surround, and of course the Beard Juice Logo in gold stitch.
The Beard Juice Cafe Racer. Weekend 9 & 10
As per ‘life’ getting in the way I haven’t got that much completed on the bike, so I will combine the past 2 weekends into one.
The best thing to happen was the new ‘nobbly’ tyres arrived and I was up to the tyre centre in a flash to get them fitted. Due to the unique size of the front wheel I was fairly limited to safe tyre choice so I went with the Pirelli Scorpions. There were a few nice tyres available but they used an inner tube, and all I spoke to said that’s a really bad idea, especially if using the bike on a motorway.
So with the wheels complete, frame sprayed, it’s now a case of starting to put the old girl back together. As the bike was a ‘boxer’, in that much of the bike came in a big box, there are a few parts missing, lots of parts that need replacing, and some parts no longer required. But as I am starting the rebuild I know there will be areas that I don’t really know what should go where so its’ going to get a bit tricky from here in.
I ordered a service pack so I can change the oil filter, fuel filter, O rings and spark plugs, which will allow me to finally bolt up and tighten the engine.
I have also ordered a wider style handlebar which will hopefully produce the look I am trying to accomplish, although this could cause me more problems as it will probably make the clutch and accelerator cables to short, so I’ll have to wait and see.
A new set of handlebar grips are on the way, along with some rear indicators which will hopefully fit nicely into the tube ends of the bike frame.
While trying to change the oil filter I ran into problems with a few of the bolts holding the oil filter cover, so after lots of swearing and grazed knuckles, the amazing guys on the K100 Facebook group came to the rescue giving me advice on how to remove them. I got a couple out myself but an amazing guy called Frank came over to help me remove a couple of bolts, which had sheered off into the oil sump pan. I was ready to buy a replacement one, so he saved me a few quid, and I am very grateful for his help.
The Beard Juice Cafe Racer. Weekend 11,12 & 13
So we are now getting into the more tricky parts of the build, well at least they are tricky for me.
The first part was fitting the new ‘bobber’ style handlebars. Now, like most things in life, everything has to be labeled or categorized. The bike is being called a cafe racer, and personally, I don’t think it is. It’s just a bike that I am building to look how I want it to. Its got bits that are cafe racer, and bits that are bobber, like the handlebars. I prefer the more upright position on a bike, it looks more.. well sophisticated, and I am sure will be more comfortable than leaning over, so these are the bars I have gone for, and it gives the bike a great look. But as they are wider the original bars, the brake lines are now too short, so I am going to have to make some new ones, and to be honest it needed them anyway as the rubber lines are 30+ years old and these are very important so best not take any chances.
Next job was the rear sets or the foot bars. The set on the bike are actually quite rare as she’s an old girl, and they were replaced with better-looking ones in later models. Being quite rare they are hard to come by and therefore quite expensive, so I really didn’t want to start messing about with them, but looking at the prices of aftermarket ones, the cost was ridiculous, therefore I had no choice but to cut them down. I had to do this as they were sticking out too far and they were designed for 2 people and the bike is now a single rider so it had to be done. After cutting them down and respraying they look ok, so probably in the future I will get an aftermarket set that look more appealing.
I’ve had a complete nightmare with the front forks, as I have scratched the hell out of the paintwork trying to get the wheel on with the brake discs fitted. When I finally got the wheel on, it wasn’t central. After much head scratching and swearing it turns out I had the forks on the wrong way, so I had to take them off and start again, we will put it down to a newbie error. So the forks will need respraying at some stage, but for the moment I want to concentrate on getting it fully built.
There are lots of little jobs that I have completed, including getting the bikes electrics and cables almost 100% reconnected. All that remains is to get the wiring tidied up, wire up the new indicators and horn, and then connect the new aftermarket speedometer coupled with a ‘BEP 3.0’, which is a magical box that allows everything to communicate with aftermarket speedos without the need for cutting wires everywhere.
The new exhaust arrived, and as expected the quality isn’t great but you get what you pay for and it was only £25 so I am not complaining. Again, sometime in the future, an upgrade will be required. But it fits and I have covered the pipes with some heat wrap.
The side stand has also been fitted, as this was one of the many parts that were not fitted to the bike when I purchased it.
So I am almost reaching the end of the build and the list of things to complete is small.
The Final List…
- Modify fuel filter and fit.
- Fit front brake lines, pads and bleed the system
- Bleed rear brake.
- Fit headlight, horn, and indicators.
- Fit Speedo and BEP 3.0
- Fit HT leads
- Fit mirrors.
- Respray forks.
- Spray tank, mudguard, and fit.
- Fit seat
- Check everything, check again and go for launch
I have placed orders for almost everything I need, so am hopeful that I might be able to do a test start this weekend, fingers crossed.
The Beard Juice Cafe Racer. A whole bunch of weekends!!
I have to apologize for not updating the blog for a few weeks. Life, work, blah blah, the usual stuff has gotten in the way. But the bike build has continued and I have made much much progress and I can almost taste the bugs in my mouth!
So, I have fitted the new front brake lines and also bled the brakes with a £3.00 vacuum device from eBay. The best part of building this bike is that I am learning so much and performing tasks that I have never done, and It gives me huge satisfaction in completing every stage. I was quite nervous about fitting the brake lines and bleeding the system, but after a bit of head scratching, it was very easy. The opposite could be said for the rear brake. I have had several weeks of frustration trying to bleed the brake. I have to completely disassemble the caliper and main piston, as endless pumping the brake the system would not fill with fluid.It wasn’t until by chance I looked into the reservoir that I noticed that the rubber accordion was underneath the brake fluid, meaning the brake oil was not able to enter the system!!! Perhaps if I had taken a look in the manual I would have saved myself a couple of weekends!!! Anyway the brakes both front and back are working like a charm.
I haven’t had any luck with the speedometer and the BEP 3.0. Unfortunately, the saying ‘you get what you pay for’ could not be truer regarding the budget speedometer purchased from eBay for a mere £25. The main problem being that the multitude of colour coded wires does not correspond with the instructions, and to add to that the colour of the cables are different to the instruction manual as well. So after much-guessing nothing worked so I have done what I should have done from the start and bought an approved speedometer that is guaranteed to work with the BEP 3.0.
I also had my first crack at welding and after zero practice I can proudly say that my welding skills are awful. ‘Bird Sh*t’ is the appropriate term, I am reliably informed after posting a picture of it online. But the weld holds and after a lot of sanding, I am more than happy with it. The weld was for a custom license plate holder I made that hangs over the rear tyre. I also made a set of LED license plate lights which I am hoping will be ok for the MOT. I have completed all of the other electrical issues that the bike had, mainly the front and rear indicators. We had fun and games trying to sort the indicators, and after a lot of testing it turns out the previous owner had hooked up one of the indicator wires to one of the horns!
Bits and Bobs
There is not much left to do truth be told. Lots of tidying and cleaning, as there are a few scuffs and scratches. I am waiting on some new orange LED’s, as I am going to convert a pair that I have but don’t have bright enough bulbs. The main jobs remaining are fitting the new speedometer, which should arrive in a few days, and then the petrol tank… ooooohh the petrol tank. I have had 3 attempts at spraying the tank.
The first and second attempts were a disaster and less said about that the better. The third attempt was almost perfect up until the point when I used the wrong lacquer / clear coat. As I used a VHT clear coat I didn’t take into account that VHT needs heat to activate and make it hard, so after 4 days it was still wet and I had put my mucky pores on it leaving fingerprints. There probably could have been a chance to mop it down and give it another coat, but I took it to a professional spray shop and they advised that it wouldn’t be a great finish. So yet again I am doing what I should have done from the start and letting the pros do it. The tank is one of the focal points of the bike and I want it to be perfect. So next time I update this blog, the bike should be finished (fingers crossed)
The Beard Juice BMW K100 Cafe Racer is FINISHED!
FRIDAY 1st September 2017 marks the completion of the Beard Juice Cafe Racer. Its’ finished at last. 8 months in the making, bundles of sweat, blood, tears, and cash, but I am one happy chap. The bike sailed through its MOT without a single advisory, even the guy doing the MOT loved it!
So I know I have missed quite a few weekends, and consequently missing out a lot of information and parts of the build, so I do apologise, but as the original purpose of the build was to take part in the gentlemans Ride on the 24th of September its been a rush to get the bike ready, along with studying for my theroy motorbike test, which I passed, then my CBT (Compulsary Bike Test) which I also passed, and currently I am preparing to take the last and most difficult, the practical test, which will be less than 2 weeks before the Gentlemans Ride.
Running Late but Looking Great
So yes I have left it late, and I am putting a lot of pressure on myself, as I have raised a tidy amount in sponsorship. So here are some images of the bike in all her glory. From day one I have called her a Cafe Racer, but as there was no set design, it has kind of ended up in a kind of Cafe Racer / Scrambler, as It has the Cafe Racer rear end and more of a Scrambler front end. Either way, there are no rules when styling your own bike and I am more than happy with the result.
More to Come
One day I would like to get spoked wheels and make a few more changes here and there, but I am also looking at working on the next project, as I would really like a British bike, so maybe a Norton or Triumph. Who knows… Huge Thanks to all that have helped me throughout the build. I went into this with zero knowledge of bikes, and without the web, I would have seriously struggled. The specialist groups on Facebook have been my biggest source of knowledge, mainly the K100 dedicated groups mainly BMW K75 K100 OWNERS / LOVERS and BMW K75 K100 K-Bikes Modified. Big thanks to Frank Miles, a global powerhouse of knowledge on the BMW K series. I’m fortunate enough to live close to Frank who has been more than helpful and been round a few times to help out. There is nothing he does not know about the K and I thank him for all his support and knowledge. Thanks to BSK Speedworks for assisting on the electrical issues I had with the speedo setup. Great service and also knowledge