The Verona Motor Bike Expo has been the perfect stage to bring two exclusive motorcycle customization projects based on the iconic BMW R 18. These are the result of the collaboration of BMW Motorrad Italy and its dealer network with some of the historical players of this world. The R 18 M is a project developed by Italian Magazine LowRide and created by American Dreams. The R 18 Aurora, was created by Garage 221 that was engaged by BMW Motorrad Roma.
BMW R 18 M
M is the letter that distinguished the sport versions of BMW four-wheeled models, and today it also includes two-wheeled vehicles. The source of inspiration for the BMW R 18 M project by the editorial staff of LowRide is the following: the idea is to give the BMW Cruiser a more streamlined and sportier look, avoiding exaggerations and especially without forgetting the reference to the BMW R 18 retro lines.
“Stability, long wheelbase and readiness of the 1800 cc big boxer instigate lightning starts and deserve, in our opinion, a sporty and retro look. In the R 18 M design, we find suggestions from BMW Motorrad tradition and cues from the four-wheelers: M stands for Motorsport” as Giuseppe Roncen, director of LowRide and a great expert of the world of specials, described the BMW R 18 M project.
The work has focused on chassis, suspension set-up, bodywork, and accessories, leaving mechanics and electronics unchanged as the natural strengths of the R 18. Lightened and with a different riding position, the BMW R 18 M promises to be even more fun to ride: “We remain curious to experience its potential. Significantly lightened, the bike should also be easy to handle due to its riding position, which is more compact and forward loaded, without exaggeration.”
The R 18 M project was made possible by BMW Italia and was born in the wake of the emotions that this bike can give: a fun cruiser, powerful and lively, with a big heart and an infinite torque. LowRide has involved some of the best Italian craftsmanship and companies specialized in the sector. The realization of the sketches was entrusted to designer Oberdan Bezzi, already a partner of LowRide in the past. He has managed to make it an exciting power cruiser without upsetting the essence of the BMW R 18. American Dreams handled the assembly and coordinated the work; Elaboratorio, specializing in prototyping and modeling, created tail, tip and fiberglass windshield from scratch. Carbon Italy handled the head covers, intake ducts, and other carbon fiber details. The short exhaust pipe, designed to make the line more compact and allow greater lean angles, bears the signature of ER Exhaust Revolution. The short exhaust pipes also give greater prominence to the splendid uncovered nickel-plated shaft, an evocative detail that deserves to be highlighted. L.R. Leather covered the saddle in leather, while the paintwork was entrusted to Dox Art Factory. Rizoma provided mirrors, grips, and universal indicators for the accessories, perfectly in line with the bike’s character.
BMW R 18 Aurora
The idea and desire of Garage 221 to create a custom bike based on the BMW R 18 found its origins a while ago, at the presentation of the bike at EICMA 2019. The lines of the new BMW cruiser, innovative and at the same time faithfully traditional, deserved “complementary elements and an even more Heritage spirit, starting from the soft lines of the tank to the characteristic shapes of the boxer,” in the opinion of Pier Francesco Marchio of Garage 221.
The project initially focused on the study of the different sections of the bike, keeping in mind the need to connect the new elements in a unique harmony of lines, taking inspiration from the cruisers of the 1970s, which have always particularly involved Pier Francesco “for their impressive aesthetic fluidity.” Distinctive elements of the
BMW R 18 Aurora by Garage 221 are the wraparound fenders and adherent to the wheel, like the “batwing”, to leave space and thus highlight the central area of the bike.
A Custom with the BMW tradition at its core
The modifications that led to the R 18 Aurora stem from Garage 221’s experience in the BMW world and indeed all used elements come from other models of BMW Motorrad. The saddle was borrowed in its entirety from a BMW 1200 C of 2005, the Batwing supports were made using the supports for indicators of a BMW R 100 of 1982 and a part of the rear frame of a BMW K 75 of 1991. Even for the color of the body, the code of a 1983 BMW RT 100 was taken as a reference, customizing the graphics in its shades and intensity. The front and rear fender supports, saddle supports, and license plate holder arms are entirely handmade.
The exhaust pipes were made in collaboration with Leo Vince, taking particular care of the sound, to make it even more full-bodied and captivating. Their design has been specifically studied to give a very personal and muscular line to the central part of the R 18. The R 18 Aurora’s oil cooler grille gives a classy natural touch, inspired by the grille of BMW’s cars from the 1960s. “It was a lot of hard work,” said Pier Francesco, “but the result is truly stunning. The textured paintwork of the cylinder head covers, the injection housings, the central crankcase and our oil cooler grille make everything look homogeneous, creating a unique effect with the cylinder block and the bevel gear.”