It’s safe to say that the BMW R 18 has left its mark on the cruiser market. And like its American rivals, the big BMW bike is becoming a popular base for custom builds. But these modified motorcycles aren’t solely sticking to the retro cruiser formula. For example, Rolands Sands turned the R 18 into a dragster. And now, a Russian shop has built a custom BMW R 18 that wouldn’t look out of place in a Batman movie.
Zillers Garage’s BMW R 18 cruiser is the latest in a series of wild custom BMW motorcycles
Russian shop Zillers Garage doesn’t only work on BMW bikes. The shop won the 2018 AMD World Championship of Custom Bike Building with a Yamaha, for example. However, it has been on something of a tear recently with custom BMW motorcycles.
In 2020, for instance, the shop created the 801, a slammed BMW R nineT that looks like something from a sci-fi steampunk anime. And Zillers Garage released another R nineT earlier this year. Dubbed the 301, it’s less extreme than the 801, though it shares a few design elements with the earlier build. And while the 801 only has the R nineT’s engine, final drive arm, and part of the frame, Bike Exif notes, the 301 is more of a bolt-on custom.
With its latest custom BMW motorcycle project, Zillers Garage is going more 801 than 301. In a way, that was part of the shop’s design brief, Bike Exif muses. BMW Motorrad Russia commissioned the earlier 801. And when it approached Zillers Garage for a BMW R 18 build, it asked the company to make something similar.
So, consider that mission accomplished.
Quick, to the Bat-cruiser: Zillers Garage’s BMW R 18 goes from retro to near-cyberpunk
As with the 801, Zillers Garage didn’t touch the BMW R 18’s powertrain when making this custom motorcycle. So, the cruiser’s 1802cc air/oil-cooled boxer-twin still makes 91 hp and 116 lb-ft of torque. And it still has a six-speed manual and shaft drive. But the shop modified or replaced basically everything else.
For one, this custom BMW R 18 now wears a carbon-fiber suit and rides on CNC-milled forged aluminum wheels. But the carbon-fiber covers aren’t limited to the main body of the motorcycle. The swingarm and forks are covered, too. Also, those wheels are larger than the standard BMW R 18 ones, Cruiser notes. The stock cruiser has a 19” front wheel and a 16” rear wheel; Zillers Garage’s build’s wheels are 21” and 19”, respectively.
In addition to the carbon-fiber panels, Zillers Garage also gave the BMW R 18 a larger custom fuel tank. Incidentally, the bike’s speedometer is integrated into that tank. And while the boxer engine is untouched, it now has CNC-machined covers and a custom titanium exhaust. Plus, although the brakes are stock, Zillers Garage installed new rotors and brake lines. Also, the cruiser has a new seat, radiator, LED headlight and taillight, CNC-machined handlebars and fork triple clamps, and bar-end mirrors.
However, there’s one thing that Zillers Garage’s custom BMW R 18 lacks: a side stand. But that’s because it doesn’t need one. Like the 801, this R 18 rides on the shop’s custom air suspension system. So, when it’s parked, it rests on some metal spikes embedded in the skid plate, Cruiser explains. And when it’s time to get going, the cruiser rises up to the proper ride height.
Thanks to NMoto, you can own one of these custom cruisers or build one yourself
Although BMW Motorrad Russia commissioned the custom R 18, Zillers Garage isn’t building just one of these motorcycles. And it hasn’t just made the one 801 or 301, either.
Remember NMoto, the Florida shop behind those Art Deco R nineT kits? Zillers Garage is partnering with them to supply turn-key and kit versions of the custom R 18, 801, and 301. Plus, if you want a more stripped-down, café racer bike with Zillers’ air suspension, there’s the Bomber.
Whether you go turn-key or DIY for these custom BMW motorcycles, you’ll have to act fast. At least for the R 18 and 801 versions. While NMoto and Zillers Garage will make as many 301 kits and Bombers as possible, they’re only making 13 examples of the R 18 and 801. And while buying one of these bikes doesn’t require Bruce Wayne’s fortune, they’re not exactly cheap.
If you want the R 18 kit, it starts at $44,900 before custom options and the donor bike cost. As for the 801, the kit starts at $49,900 while the turn-key version starts at $69,900. The other custom BMW R nineT motorcycle builds are relative bargains, though. A 301 kit starts at $8999 while a turn-key bike costs $35,000 with the cost of the donor R nineT. The Bomber is only available as a build; it starts at $34,900.
Still, at least buying a motorcycle fit for Batman isn’t as expensive as getting his car.
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