It’s been a big week for BMW Motorrad, unveiling a pair of 200+bhp carbon-clad killers, the M1000R hyper naked and the WSBK-bound M1000RR. These are the latest motorcycles from the company to adopt the M branding from the car part of the business, and bring with them a rich heritage of racing and high performance. But as most motoring journalists have observed this week, the two new releases are fairly impractical for the road and BMW are yet to add any other M offerings to their motorcycle lineup. So, what do you do if you want a BMW M Cafe Racer, with all of the latest technology, you call South Africa’s Cytech Motorcycles. They have decades of experience with the Bavarian product and have crafted – for one very lucky owner – a BMW R nineT that is absolutely fitting of the M badge.
You don’t have to look at the new M1000RR for long to see that it is absolutely dripping in carbon fibre. From lightweight body panels to functional aerodynamic aids, as well as moving parts like the wheels, the materials use in such a way marks a similar change for the industry in the same manner that the shift from steel to aluminium once did. And it’s more than just good looks and lightweight, the fibre’s ability to flex makes it particularly useful in aero applications and the ability to lay the fibre in various ways enables engineers to build in just how stiff they want each part to be.
So for Cytech Motorcycles of Johannesburg, the use of the material made a whole lot of sense on their latest build. It came about when head honcho Donovan Muller was approached by a client who wanted to know if he could build him precisely what he was after. Donovan asked what that might be and “he replied, ‘the ultimate Café Racer in Black and Carbon’ and we both wanted it to look like it was built in the factory with best components available,” Donovan explains. Having been building, servicing and selling BMWs for decades and with the R nineT the perfect donor, Donovan was quickly on the phone to order parts from all four corners of the globe.
With the design to be a combination of carbon and black over the raw metal finishes, an absolute host of parts were pulled from the bike and given a fresh coat of the dark hue. Everything from the front forks and steering damper, to the bottom yoke, speedo cluster, entire swingarm and final drive, and even pulling the rear shock apart to make it all black was undertaken. Even a host of small mounting brackets and tabs got the treatment, with no part left untouched so as to ensure an absolutely cohesive appearance. To take it to the next level, a Highsider frame plug kit was deployed and all the way from the US of A, some RSD pivot plugs.
Now the carbon fibre could be unleashed and it is impossible to miss that stunning, ’70s inspired, front fairing. It’s featherweight but still provides plenty of wind protection for the rider and is completed with an LED Koso headlight and a tinted MRA screen. This piece has been covered in a clear coat to match the next round of carbon pieces, which include the HP front fender, full front engine cover and slick valve covers that offer some extra protection should you drop this gorgeous girl on her side. The fuel tank has been resprayed in black and then real carbon is used as the inlays, with satin knee pads and side covers.
A billet tail tidy is used at the rear end for an ultra neat finish and the LED taillight and indicators ensure there is nothing at all hanging off the back of the bike. Over the top, a handcrafted leather seat was designed and upholstered with the nineT logo laser etched into the hide. Donovan was pulling out all the tricks for his client who told him early on in the build that when it came to nice things, “I want all of it.” So a trip to the Rizoma parts catalogue was taken and netted some trick rearsets, side indicators for the front, and bar end mirrors and grips for the custom clip-ons.
To look after the boxer twin engine, a set of throttle body covers and a bash plate were CNC cut and given a hard-wearing black finish. And that underbody protection helps to protect more lightweight goodness in the form of a full titanium exhaust with carbon fibre end cans that were sourced for the job from Slovakia. On the intake side of things, the air is rammed home thanks to a carbon fibre HP snorkel, and filtered before entering the engine by a pair of DNA pods. Using their endless experience with BMW engines, Cytech added a programmable performance module and then flashed the ECU for maximum power.
“As we were almost complete with the build, I mentioned to Russell that I cannot build such an awesome custom and still have original wheels.” So, Donovan got on the phone with JoNich wheels in Italy to see what they could come up with. What they sent to Africa was a pair of incredible wheels, the hubs are machined and anodised aluminium with the rims themselves a mix of alloy and carbon fibre. The beefy spokes result in an amazing look that is all wrapped up in Michelin Power Cup rubber.
To further reduce the unsprung weight and boost braking performance, the build was finished with a set of new rotors from Wave in Germany. All involved are rightly thrilled with the result and Cytech is grateful to Russell for placing so much trust in them; now if BMW wants to add a retro-styled M bike to their line-up, they have the perfect muse.