The 2021 R 18 is BMW’s take on the retro-style cruiser, complete with Bavarian flair. And some of its design elements harken back to the German brand’s classic models. Naturally, though, some tuners and customizers are always willing to take BMW’s bikes further in terms of performance and style. For example, Kinston Custom, the shop behind the most recent custom BMW R 18.
How Kingston Custom turned a 2021 BMW R 18 into the “Spirit of Passion”
Germany-based Kingston Custom doesn’t just work on BMW motorcycles. The shop’s past works include customized Hondas, Yamahas, and even a few Harley-Davidsons. However, Kingston Custom’s bread-and-butter builds nowadays are based on the German brand’s bikes. And its newest project, the “Spirit of Passion,” is built on a 2021 BMW R 18.
Naturally, the biggest departure from the standard BMW R 18 is the Spirit of Passion’s prominent fairing. It’s a one-off design first displayed on one of Kingston Custom’s earlier bikes, The Drive reports.
Shop owner Dirk Oehlerking knew the R 18 draws influence from pre-war models, so he decided to further emphasize it, Hagerty reports. It completely covers the front wheel and fork and comes with an integrated LED headlight and windscreen.
Besides the custom fairing, the Spirit of Passion’s handlebar, exhaust, hand grips, and saddle are all Kingston Custom’s own designs, Autoblog reports. And while it’s not as large as the front fairing, the custom BMW bike’s rear wheel gets its own cover, too. The new indicators, though, are from Kellermann.
However, underneath the pinstriped Art-Deco-style bodywork, the Spirit of Passion is a stock 2021 BMW R 18. That means an 1802cc boxer-twin engine with 91 hp and 116 lb-ft, linked to the rear wheel via a 6-speed transmission and shaft drive. Even the frame is “’ 100% original,’” Cycle World reports.
This isn’t the first BMW R 18 custom project
As striking as Kingston Custom’s Spirit of Passion is, the German shop isn’t the first one to create a custom BMW R 18.
For one, it’s actually the second in BMW’s ‘SoulFuel series’ of custom bikes. The first project in the series was revealed in August 2020, Cycle World reports. It’s the creation of Austrian designer Bernhard Naumann, aka ‘Blechmann’ (German for ‘tin man’). Blechmann’s bike, like the Spirit of Passion, retains the stock powertrain. However, its list of modifications is a bit more extensive.
The Blechmann-customized BMW R 18 has a new fairing, a new headlight, a new fuel tank with custom cutouts, and a brown-leather solo saddle, RideApart reports. And instead of a rear fairing, the rear wheel is fully-exposed. Plus, rather than the standard handlebar and grips, Blechmann’s bike has custom clip-on bars.
Famed American racer/designer/customizer Roland Sands has also released a custom BMW R 18. Only instead of being a road-going cruiser, Sand’s bike is built for the dragstrip.
The Sands R 18 Dragster has an upside-down fork from the BMW R nineT and the Brembo brakes from the S 1000 RR superbike, Cycle World reports. And instead of the standard rear shock is a hardtail structure. Plus, the R 18 Dragster has custom wheels and a rear drag radial tire. And while Sands didn’t modify the engine directly, the drag bike does have custom exhausts and a bottle of nitrous oxide.
But these aren’t the only custom BMW R 18s, though. Texas-based Revival Cycles created the Birdcage, which has an R 18 drivetrain stuffed inside a custom-built titanium frame, Cycle World reports. The front suspension is also made of titanium. The board-track-style handlebars, though, are carbon-fiber. And even before BMW officially launched the R 18, Japanese shop Custom Works Zon created a custom version, the “Departed,” Cruiser reports, with milled-aluminum wheels and an aluminum girder fork.
Will there be a production version?
Unfortunately, the Kingston Custom BMW R 18 is a one-off design. However, the German shop is open to offers, Autoblog reports.
However, if you want a BMW motorcycle that looks like it drove off the set of Big O, Florida-based NMoto has something for you. Actually, it has two things—specifically, two body kits.
The Nostalgia kit, based on an earlier custom bike the shop produced, turns an R nineT into a modern-day copy of the 1934 R7, The Drive reports. It starts at $6950 and is available from NMoto directly or through select BMW dealerships.
NMoto also has a body kit, the ‘Golden Age,’ for a BMW scooter, the C400x. It contains bolt-on fenders, a quilted leather saddle, and a new headlight and windshield, BMWBlog reports. The kit starts at $7900, but you’ll have to act fast, as NMoto plans to only make 100.
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