BMW’s motorcycle manufacturing department is offering a few lucky customizers the opportunity to manufacture R18. After cooperating with Roland Sands and Dirk Oehlerking, it allowed Japanese builder Shinya Kimura to give bicycles a new look, bordering the steampunk realm.
Kimura explained that before starting the project, he rode the R18 hundreds of miles in California to feel it. He usually works on old motorcycles, although he has recently turned his attention to new models, and his method of customization is unusual because he does not use sketches, drawings or blueprints-he knows exactly what he wants to build and How to achieve it.
His first modification was to change the riding position, which he achieved by narrowing the handlebars by 8 inches and installing them 6 inches lower. He also moved the seat back, designed a new cushion for it, and repositioned the footrest. In a way, this project is easier than the other projects he has worked on: he built the bicycle for himself, so he doesn’t have to think about the size and riding style of the client.
With ergonomics in mind, Kimura redesigned the body panels and used a hammer to give them texture. He installed a pair of asymmetrical headlights at the front end and a grille with vertical slats inspired by whales. His R18 was named The Wal, which means “whale” in German. “Thanks to its powerful engine, this bike is wild and has almost inexhaustible power, but on the other hand, it is completely kind. It’s like a whale,” the builder explained. Bronze paint with lighter tones adds a finishing touch to the design.
The frame, wheels, tires, suspension components and braking system have not been modified. It sounds like Kimura has not made major mechanical changes, which means that the power comes from BMW’s large 1.8-liter air-cooled two-cylinder engine. Appropriately called the Big Boxer, it produces 91 horsepower and 116 pound-feet of torque when left in stock, and rotates the rear wheels via an external drive shaft. Moving the seat back allows Kimura to install a larger fuel tank, so he gets an extra gallon of gasoline (which is a lot for bicycles) for long trips.
“Substantially changing the seat position and adding my own style and taste is a big challenge for my interpretation of BMW Heritage. In addition, all these computerized systems and wiring are completely new to me, and I have learned a lot. “Kimura concluded.
Sands and Oehlerking took the R18 in a completely different direction; the former transformed it into a racing car, while the latter gave it a 1930s vibe, featuring a full front fairing with a pair of kidney-shaped grilles. Some customizers did not wait for BMW to knock on the door through cooperation offers. Zillers Garage, headquartered in Russia, has carried out a comprehensive renovation and air suspension system for the R18, as well as other changes.