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When you hear “Paul Yaffe” and “custom motorcycle” uttered in the same breath, expectations soar. Well, BMW didn’t pass up the opportunity to get Yaffe on a custom motorcycle build, and the result is spectacular. Of course, the new BMW R 18 One Eight “C” might perform better as an art installation than a weekend corner carver.  

Paul Yaffe and BMW unveiled the BMW R 18 One Eight ‘C’ as a big-wheel bagger with Beemer underpinnings

The BMW R 18 One Eight "C" shows off its custom bags and fender.
The BMW R 18 One Eight “C” | BMW

Taking a BMW R 18 Transcontinental as a canvas, veteran bike builder Paul Yaffe and his team set out to create something unique. Yaffe is no stranger to the R 18 Transcontinental. He’s logged thousands of miles on the BMW R 18 Transcontinental to get acquainted with the touring motorcycle. Well, the finished product does not disappoint. 

Of course, Yaffe didn’t just slap custom parts on an existing bike and call it a day. “He commissioned a 26” x 5.5” front wheel cut from a 400lb block of solid aluminum, which holds a handmade 180mm wide front tire.” BMW’s media team reports that the R 18 One Eight “C” takes inspiration from the late 1940s and early 1950s Mercury Lead Sleds of custom car culture.

Beyond the big wheel, the BMW R 18 One Eight “C” features bespoke parts from Yaffe’s team. For instance, the team crafted the front fender, chin spoiler, and bag skins specifically for the One Eight “C.” Guys Upholstery contributed a custom saddle and console with paint matching for the front brake calipers. The longer you look at Yaffe’s work, the more intricate it becomes. 

Despite its eye-popping presence, the One Eight ‘C’ is a compromised bike

The BMW R 18 One Eight "C" shows off its big front wheel.
The BMW R 18 One Eight “C” | BMW

Yaffe’s bike is a stretched big-wheel bagger. While the big wheel bikes are rolling art installations, they aren’t exactly Club Style canyon carvers. 

Self-proclaimed bike-building experts tout the “build it right” excuse. As in if you build it right, it will handle better than the stock underpinnings. However, lowering, stretching, and adding a larger front wheel changes the dynamics of a motorcycle. What’s more, a lower-slung set of hard bags will cut into the bike’s available lean angle. No amount of “build it right” will stop that bag from a high-speed shave on the pavement. 

BMW Media goes as far as to include a disclaimer on the custom motorcycle’s press kit page. “Modification of series production vehicles (including the fitting and use of third-party and self-made parts) can impair riding characteristics! Riding our vehicles in modified condition is at your own risk.” 

Of course, Yaffe knows, and big-wheel bagger fans know the “why” behind the “what.” Not unlike the aforementioned Lead Sleds and the newly-liberated Low Rider scene in Southern California, Yaffe’s BMW R 18 One Eight “C” isn’t a corner-clipping apex eater or a drag racer. No, the One Eight “C” is a boulevard cruiser and the artistic expression of Yaffe’s team. Low, slow, and looking good. 

BMW and Paul Yaffe will unveil the custom bike at the MBE Show in Verona, Italy.

Source: BMW Newsroom