This BMW K100 cafe racer is unlike any you’ve ever seen, it’s fitted with a bespoke CVT automatic transmission to allow its partially disabled owner to ride it.
Many people with disabilities are restricted to either not riding motorcycles at all, or to riding three-wheeled bikes like Can Ams, Ural sidecar motorcycles, and the Piaggio MP3.
If you’re more of a cafe racer person you’re generally out of luck.
Retro Rides + Amigos do Bem
The team at Retro Rides in Brazil led by Gustavo Lourenco developed a system for building world class BMW K100-based cafe racers and created an ebook to be used by others wanting to do the same conversion – but keep the standard BMW 5-speed transmission.
The revenue from the sales of the ebook go to Amigos do Bem, a charitable organisation that helps over 75,000 people in the semi-arid North Eastern region of Brazil through self-sustaining commerce and education-focussed projects.
An Automatic BMW K100 Cafe Racer
The stand-out feature of this motorcycle is its transmission, although many motorcycle manufacturers have experimented with automatic motorcycles over the years they’ve generally proven to complex or not quite good enough to be popular.
This stands in stark contrast with automobiles, the overwhelming majority of which are automatics.
The fact that Gustavo and his team were able to get a custom built CVT transmission fitted to a K100 and get it working perfectly is astonishing.
In his own words:
“This automatic BMW K100 cafe racer was built to enable a person who has a physical problem in the left leg to realize the dream of having a cafe racer. He is unable to ride bikes due to his physical condition and inability to use his left leg, but his love for bikes has never diminished.
We decided to meet this challenge and realize this customer’s dream. After months of drawings and drafts we decided that the best way to turn the bike into automatic would be to build a CVT transmission starting from zero
It took 4 months for the first prototype to be installed on the bike and to be tested, we had to do so many math calculations and I almost went crazy.
We tested the bike and it was fantastic and with a performance that surprised me.
The bike was very easy to ride and when the customer rides for the first time the bike, he cried, and made everyone in the workshop cry too, it was really exciting and I will never forget that moment.”
The build includes that remarkable CVT transmission as well as a bespoke adjustable monoshock at the rear mounted to a horizontal strut, modern upside down forks up front, a new billet subframe, am LED headlight, custom brake discs, a new leather seat, and a slew of other mods to get the bike to this level.
If you’d like to see more from Retro Rides you can click here to visit their website and read more about what they do.
Ben has had his work featured on CNN, Popular Mechanics, Smithsonian Magazine, Road & Track Magazine, the official Pinterest blog, the official eBay Motors blog, BuzzFeed, and many more.
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