Ahead of the R 18’s release, BMW looked to two custom shops to provide the public’s first view of the engine. As Custom Works Zon’s Departed and Revival Cycles’ Birdcage stirred our imaginations, these master makers also provided feedback, allowing for a more easily customized motorcycle. By showing unique models of the R 18 prior to the final product, BMW let the consumer envision what the bike could be before the company defined it.
The 2021 R 18 debuted with a unique consideration of home customization. An easily removed subframe and entirely steel bodywork lay the base for serious modification, while universal fitments on things like foot controls and handlebars allow for quick minor changes. Robot-painted pinstripes and an exposed nickel-plated drive shaft evoke the 1936 R5, simultaneously representing tradition and modern manufacturing in a wholly new machine.
With the production model unveiled, two more builders were commissioned to work with the new Bavarian cruiser. Roland Sands Design and Austrian builder Blechmann were each supplied with a complete motorcycle and given a brief to highlight BMW’s design language while demonstrating the platform’s aesthetic potential through their own visions.
BMW has designed customization into the R 18, and the tools of these four builders demonstrated that beautifully as the company prepared and launched this new motor cycle. Other production motor cycles have grown into custom icons. BMW is using these builders to create one.
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