BMW’s released the R18 cruiser platform, but seems intent on continuing its original promotional plan too, with one-off custom bikes showing the machine’s potential. Now, Dirk Oehlerking of Kingston Customs has tackled the R18, morphing the mega-cruiser into a weird art deco-styled roadster. It’s called the “Spirit of Passion.”
Oehlerking made no changes to the R18’s engine or other mechanical bits. “I left the technology as it is. The frame is 100 % original and so sophisticated that nothing should be changed here,” he says in BMW’s write-up of the project. He did modify the exhaust, though, as well as bolting on all that lovely bodywork.
As you can see in the video above, Oehlerking built the R18’s fiberglass bodywork by hand, not with computer-managed machinery. It’s an old-school process, but it matches the R18’s aesthetic.
Oehlerking has built several high-profile customized BMWs over the years. If you visit the Kingston Customs website, there are some stripped-down bobbers built off vintage Beemers, but in recent years, he’s been better known for a series of customs he built with gorgeous bodywork (check out the Black Phantom and White Phantom here, as well as the weird digger-style R75 Bobber). This time, it looks like he drew considerable inspiration from O. Ray Courtney’s famous 1930 Henderson KJ custom. That’s not a bad thing; Courtney’s bike is very famous, and it’s about time someone paid homage to it.
How many more of these customs will BMW commission? We’ve already seen R18 conversions from Revival, Roland Sands Design and Blechmann. There’s no doubt of BMW’s intentions to muscle into Harley-Davidson’s big-dollar cruiser market, and these customs are showing the potential of the R18 platform. Will sales follow? Stay tuned!