BMW’s K-series is legendary, but its legend was not made on racetracks or crossing deserts. No, the large block-shaped engines, lovingly known as ‘Flying Bricks,’ are shrouded in lore developed through millions of touring miles. There are stories of Ks reaching hundreds of thousands of miles without a rebuild, or even running without oil.
BMW stopped manufacturing these bulletproof engines in the mid-90s, but they’re still easy to find because, well, they just never die. And while reliability can make an engine an icon, 72 HKG Performance wanted to build a machine that begs a more visceral reaction.
“The best BMW K that can be manufactured,” as they put it. A stripped-down and aggressive BMW K75, with vintage superbike flare and no stone left unturned. This was to be 72 HKG’s ultimate K-model; “The K.”
72 HKG Performance is a collaboration between builders Antonio of 72 Cycles Performance and Jorge of Hell’s Kitchen Garage. Based in Burgos, Spain, the duo has only been working together under this title for a short time, but has managed to produce some incredible motorcycles. Engine performance and handling are clearly a priority with sporty angles, aggressive ergonomics, and high-end components showing through as a common thread.
To transform the relaxed, upright touring stance of the K75 into this sharp-handling café racer, all of the bodywork and the subframe was removed. A taller, narrower tail section was made out of tubular steel, cleaning up the bike’s lines and placing the rider higher up above the rear wheel. Aluminum Tarozzi clip-on handlebars and rear-set foot controls now have the rider leaning forward over the bike, balanced and easily capable of shifting their weight.
A set of beefy Öhlins forks from an Aprilia RSV4 Factory were fitted with Brembo Serie Oro radial calipers on 320mm rotors. These forks are shorter than stock, further contributing to the forward-leaning, aggressive stance, and a custom wind-deflecting front fender exaggerates that even more. By using the single-sided swingarm of a BMW R1100RS, and the shaft-drive system from an R850, the wheelbase was extended by 5 cm from stock.
A structure was built to mount the Öhlins monoshock in the most vertical orientation and optimize its function. The shock’s remote reservoir is mounted off of the subframe nearby, for on-the-fly adjustment. Spoked wheels, 18” in the front and 17” in the rear, were wrapped with Michelin Pilot tires.
A custom three-into-to-one exhaust system was fabricated, snaking up underneath the seat and coming out of the back like a rocket booster. That muffler at the tail goes through a cylinder housing internal LEDs, which serve as an auxiliary taillight—a subtle but incredibly dramatic detail. A louvered carbon fiber rear fender covers the exhaust and ties the livery together nicely.
The gas tank on a K75 has accommodation for the stock model’s radiator shroud, which can look awkward once removed. But 72 HKG built smaller carbon fiber panels that totally change the line of the front of the bike, while still covering the intake and sides of the radiator.
Stock wiring and electronics were almost entirely removed and replaced. A Motogadget mo.unit serves as the brain of the bike’s electrical system, with a Motoscope Pro speedo from the German brand serving as the instrumentation. A minimal license plate mount extends from the rear axle, to which small three-in-one LED lights are mounted.
The team at 72 HKG went all-out with the modern feel, too, installing a full range of monitoring systems to work with the Motogadget controller. A keyless system, an alarm; there are even LED lights worked into the custom solo seat (masterfully upholstered by Senen Leather Works), controllable through the rider’s smartphone.
To finish it all off, the build was painted in a deep candy green with a sharp orange stripe across the gas tank, down the carbon fiber side panels, and onto the belly pan. The end result is a bike with stunning details and clean lines. The stock geometry has been refined, suspension and braking systems are radically improved, and it’s all built around an iconically reliable and consistent engine.
All that’s left now is for its new owner, a top sushi chef based near Madrid, to enjoy it. “He has boundless creativity,” Antonio tells us. “He is a guy who is always looking for the best for his customers, who enjoys watching from his kitchen how each dish provokes a reaction in his diners.”
“When he told me he wanted a motorcycle from us, it was clear to me that we had to build something excellent.”
Considering the short time that the 72 HKG Performance collaboration has existed, and the caliber of motorcycles the brand has produced, we can only hope the duo continues—because they’re onto something great.
72 Cycles Performance | Hell’s Kitchen Garage