Home / Social media / News / Customised BMW R 18 - The Crown - celebrates 100 years of Motorrad


BMW Motorrad has an associated tagline for the imposing R18 cruiser that reads: “Soul is all that matters”. Well, that’s certainly the case with this stunner of a custom build that uses the BMW R18 as its base, but what you see here is so far gone from the showroom version that all that’s left from the original that all that remains is the soul. What you see here is called The Crown, a fully customised project by motorbike customiser, Dirk Oehlerking from Kingston Custom, built to mark 100 years of BMW Motorrad. Pretty cool way to celebrate! The Crown takes what the man did with his streamlined R 18 Spirit of Passion build even further. "I started with a new BMW R18 which I then stripped down. As always, I worked with hard foam and cardboard to create the shape, the lines and the design. The aim was for it to look powerful, elegant and fast combined with an innovative look," is how Oehlerking describes his design approach. "It is the essence of my creations to date," says Oehlerking. It does, of course, help that the man has been doing this in the Ruhr region for 30 years and has a great network and some stunning photo backdrops for his motorcycle shoots. As you can see the original version of the R18 is long gone, now featuring a self-designed body painstakingly crafted from aluminium sheet metal with custom front wheel suspension, a custom double-sided swing arm and a central suspension strut. The result is more art than bike, and that was the point really.

To get to what you see here, a completely new front wheel suspension had to be constructed but in a far move from the OEM setup, it's now in the form of a double-sided swinging arm with central suspension strut. The custom 8-litre fuel tank and the associated body parts were cut, bent and driven by hand out of 2 mm aluminium sheeting, a skill that’s hard to find these days. The leather-covered saddle was also created this way. The almost steampunk-esque styling looks great, but those lines won’t make for a pleasant ride, although this thing will likely only ever see low cruising speeds if it gets ridden at all. The bodywork was given a Champagne Platinum paint finish with a mother-of-pearl flip, with an added in BMW logo wearing a small crown. The stainless steel exhaust manifolds were also hand-made, but numerous standard components like the headlight, instrument cluster, switch units and footrest system have been integrated perfectly into the custom work to ensure there are some things to resemble the original bike. The clutch and handbrake fittings come from Magura, and the rear mudguard and brackets are from Wunderkind, and they fit into the build seamlessly. The rear suspension from the original R18 is still in play, as too is the 1.8-litre, twin-cylinder BMW boxer engine - thus retaining the soul.

Take a look at the YouTube video that sadly only shows off the base of this custom bike, the impressive BMW R18 cruiser. Looking at this video and the bike above, you'd never say that they have anything in common besides a BMW Motorrad powerplant and you'd be mostly right, but also not right either. The amount of work that's gone into this custom bike build to celebrate the centenary of BMW Motorrad is absolutely mind-blowing: The new BMW R 18 - Soul is all that matters | BMW Motorrad

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