The Revival "Birdcage" from Revival Cycles is a one-of-a-kind, drop-dead-gorgeous, out-of-this-world custom with a seemingly weightless frame, skimpy components, and a lithe silhouette, all floating around a relatively massive BMW boxer engine. That alone would be reason enough to gawk, but the backstory is that it's also the second custom bike built around this mysterious prototype BMW boxer engine. The Birdcage feels like it should be sitting in a museum somewhere, but BMW bigwigs have hinted at a target date of 2020 for a production model using this powerplant, for the cruiser segment.

Revival Cycles, out of Austin, Texas, knows a thing or two about building custom bikes of all kinds (and, yes, it’s churned out a couple of Beemers in its time). The custom shop rolled out its Revival Birdcage last week at the annual Handbuilt Show. The engine is courtesy of BMW, but the “Birdcage” frame is made of titanium and developed by Revival Cycles itself.

The Revival “Birdcage” BMW Custom bike displayed.
The “Birdcage” is the second custom built around the BMW Big Boxer prototype engine.BMW

The first was created by Japanese motorcycle customizer Custom Works Zon for the Hot Rod Custom Show in Yokohama, Japan, last December. Called “Departed,” that spectacular design won the Best of Show Motorcycle award, the highest decoration at the 2018 Mooneyes Show.

Right profile of the Revival “Birdcage” BMW Custom bike.
The Birdcage frame is all titanium, which by itself presented significant challenges, said the head of Revival Cycles, Alan Stulberg.BMW Motorrad

The design was inspired by Maserati’s “birdcage” race cars of the 1960s, which utilized a tubular space frame chassis. “Regardless, the frame came together very well in the end,” Stulberg said. “And we are pleased with the result as it accomplished the goal of being nearly transparent. We wanted to focus attention on the engine and that is precisely what we achieved with this completely unique frame we designed. You can easily view the engine and drivetrain from all angles.”

The Revival “Birdcage” BMW Custom
The wiry titanium frame, chosen for low weight and high strength, was a bear to work with, but the other parts were no easier.BMW Motorrad

Revival had to craft individually almost every single other part on the bike such as handlebars, footrests, shift lever, seat, and unique carbon suspension components, using a combination of CNC-machined aluminum and carbon-fiber tubing.

The Revival “Birdcage” BMW Custom right profile.
Stulberg’s team was inspired by Ernst Henne’s record-setting machines from the late 1920s and early 1930s.Revival Cycles

It took the Revival team around six months to develop the Birdcage motorcycle. “We had already dreamed about this bike for years and in December 2018 we received the engine [from BMW] and could finally get to work,” Stulberg said. Inspiration for the design came from Maserati’s ‘birdcage’ race cars of the 1960s, which utilized a space frame chassis. The bike was completed in five months, and just in time for The Handbuilt Show.

The Revival “Birdcage” BMW Custom engine.
BMW has some serious plans for this engine brewing in the background.BMW Motorrad

Tim Resch, vice president of sales and marketing, BMW Motorrad, has come out and said, “We will also be showing a BMW Motorrad-developed concept bike featuring this engine in the first half year of 2019. BMW Motorrad will present a series production motorcycle with the Big Boxer for the cruiser segment in the course of 2020.”

The Revival “Birdcage” BMW Custom
Yep, you heard right: BMW will be going back into the cruiser segment in a big way.BMW Motorrad

At The Handbuilt Show, Resch went on to say, “One step we will take to do so, certainly in the US market, is to enter the cruiser segment. BMW Motorrad is consistently pursuing its growth strategy with the clear aim of becoming the number one in the premium big bike segment.”

The Revival “Birdcage” BMW Custom air-cooled engine.
The engine is air-oil-cooled, with displacement rumored to be around the 1,800cc range.BMW Motorrad

There’s been a lot of speculation about the large-capacity prototype engine. This boxer’s exterior geometry as well as visible elements like the pushrods running in chrome-plated protection ducts are both reminiscent of the BMW Motorrad boxer engines built in the 1960s. It’s just that the opposed twin is much, much bigger in this form. Stulberg said, “I have always been a fan of the boxer engine, but the pure physical size and aesthetic appeal of this prototype really inspired us.”

The Revival “Birdcage” BMW Custom engine, gearbox, and rear differential drive.
The huge engine, gearbox, and rear differential drive BMW gave the shop was never seen before, said Stulberg.BMW Motorrad

The aluminum disc-covered rear wheel carries the theme from the Henne land-speed racer.