The South Garage Rafale Café Racer brings to mind the bike Steve McQueen rode in the movie The Great Escape. Granted, the bikes used in the movie were actually Triumph TR6 Trophy that had been disguised to look like BMW R75s, and that’s where South Garage’s Rafale comes in. The Rafale uses a BMW R80 as its base, then strips it back to a more nostalgic look and feel.
The most eye-catching quality of the Rafale is its color scheme. The scheme is simple, with the olive green tank and the natural brown leather seat standing out the most. The colors create that World War 2 feel—especially with BMW motorcycles being so prolific in Germany at the time, especially in the German military. The Rafale also removes the modern style headlight and fenders to give the bike a more retro feel, which also makes it appear to be more rugged and durable. Additionally, the removal of plastic panels reveals the engine, toughening up the effect overall.
Just because South Garage stripped away the modern doesn’t mean they sacrificed performance. Underneath the exterior modifications still lies the BMW R80, so you’re still getting top of the line performance and handling. There’s a reason BMW is synonymous with quality, and riders of this bike won’t be disappointed. While it may not be recommended to try to jump barb-wire fences with the Rafale, you can be assured that unlike McQueen, you’ll probably make your escape good by clearing the line.