When it comes to tackling the harshest environments known to man and needing a certain vehicle that just won’t let you down, only a handful of two and four-wheeled offerings have become relied upon the world over. The Landcruiser is the vehicle of choice in the Australian outback and the Toyota Hilux is so popular amongst terrorist groups that the US Government launched an investigation. But when it comes to motorcycles, BMW stands alone, Dakar wins and Ewan McGregor docos aside, our friends at Cytech South Africa have proven for decades how Bavaria’s best stand up to their continent’s rigours. So, even when a client comes calling for a radical, sci-fi-esque carbon cafe racer, the choice is still a product packing the famed BMW Boxer engine.
Thankfully with the release of the BMW R nineT, the company had a retro-inspired offering that meant not one more classic BMW R would need to be cut up for a new custom to be made. Ok, so that part didn’t work out, but what the nineT offers is a truly versatile platform on which a builder can base almost any kind of machine, while still packing the Boxer engine that has powered the GS line-up to billions of miles covering every single corner of the globe.
Having previously seen the work that Donovan Muller and his team at Cytech can achieve with the BMW base product, the client made their way to the company’s Johannesburg-based HQ. It’s a seriously impressive facility, with a showroom, full workshop, endless aftermarket parts and a full lineup of custom bikes in all shapes and sizes. But the build request was for something a little different to the machines parked up, and they wanted a whip even wilder than Cytech’s last full carbon nineT cafe racer. A 2015 model was sourced and then it was time to pull the whole thing to pieces to begin the process of crafting this kick-ass machine.
Although the nineT’s modular design has proven capable of all kinds of transformations, even the removable subframe would have to go to get the look the client was after. A tiny u-shaped subframe has been fabricated and is welded to the middle part of the frame, while the rest of the seat support runs up the back of the tank and is neatly covered in carbon fibre to conceal its appearance. On top of all of this newly fabricated metal work sits a bobber-style solo seat that has been beautifully diamond stitched and features black leather.
This single change alone makes an incredible difference to the appearance of the BMW, and the minimalist styling continues up front. Held in place by a set of Max Inc billet headlight brackets, is a carbon mask front end, that gives the bike an evil-eyed appearance.
The twin stack headlights form part of the look, with a tiny smoked-out screen and carbon fibre inlay, which is given a clear coat for protection. The tank obviously couldn’t stay stock standard when sandwiched between two such radical designs and so it’s been layered with carbon fibre and then clear coated by Ryan at Custom Creations.
One of the things Cytech pride itself in is being able to offer its African clients access to the world’s best parts and the rolling stock is as good as it gets! “The wheels were imported PVM alloy billet from AC Schnitzer which were raw machined, which were painted gloss black with machined silver accents,” Donovan explains.
And not only do they look amazing, they nearly halve the unsprung mass and are completed with sticky Michelin Power Cup 2 tyres. To ensure even more weight saving, the factory Brembo calipers now clamp Wave discs front and rear from Wunderlich in Germany.
Of course, at the heart of the beast is the brilliant BMW Boxer twin, and to give it an aggressive look to match the bike’s style, the first step in its transformation was a visual makeover. To achieve this a billet and blacked-out front timing cover is the perfect match for the machined RSD valve covers.
More billet black plays a role in covering up the oil cooler and protecting it from stone attack, while even functional parts like the twin trumpet inlets get the blacked-out treatment. But it’s the full stainless exhaust system that really makes it all sing, with a perfectly crafted x-pipe leading to a pair of short-tip mufflers.
The small touches haven’t been ignored either, with painstaking time taken to blackout the rear drive and swingarm. The front fender has been cut down into fork protectors, a billet Monza cap gives the tank an extra edge and an AC Schnitzer billet brake fluid reservoir keeps the theme flowing.
The forks and steering damper have also been finished in black and the Le Motographe triple tree, with integrated dash mount and clip-ons is a work of art. The controls are finished out with custom LSL rear sets, and a host of tiny LED lights takes care of things without disturbing the lines of this angry beast.
Sure, she won’t cross the Sahara anytime soon, but when the Jo’burg black top passes 50 degrees, this Cytech cyborg will still be performing at its brilliant BMW best.