Two new custom bike projects based on the R 18

MOBILITY/MOTORBIKES: BMW Motorrad presents the R 18 M and R 18 Aurora at the Verona Motor Bike Expo.

Munich/Verona. Two exclusive custom bike projects based on the iconic BMW R 18 will be presented at the Verona Motor Bike Expo from 13 to 16 January 2022.

They are the result of the collaboration between BMW Motorrad Italy and its BMW Motorrad dealer network with two renowned customizer greats of this world. The R 18 M is a project developed by the editorial team of the Italian magazine LowRide and realised by American Dreams. The R 18 Aurora, on the other hand, was developed by Garage 221 on behalf of BMW Motorrad Roma.



BMW R 18 M.
M is the letter that distinguishes the sports versions of BMW automobiles and today also includes motorbikes. The source of inspiration for the LowRide editorial team for the R 18 M project: the BMW Motorrad Cruiser was to have a more streamlined and sporty appearance, avoid exaggeration and, above all, still make reference to the classic lines of the BMW R 18.

„The stability, long wheelbase and acceleration of the 1800 cc big boxer make for lightning-like starts and, in our opinion, deserve a sporty retro look. In the design of the R 18 M, we find inspiration from the BMW Motorrad tradition and borrowings from automobiles: M stands for motorsport,“ is how Giuseppe Roncen, director of LowRide and expert in the field of special conversions, describes the BMW R 18 M project.

The focus of the work was on the chassis, suspension tuning, bodywork and accessories. Mechanics and electronics, however, remained unchanged from the R 18. Lighter and with a modified seating position, the BMW R 18 M promises even more riding pleasure: „We are excited to experience this potential. The motorbike should be even easier to control, not least due to its more compact and forward riding position, but without exaggerating.“


Built by many hands – from the designer to the experienced craftsman.
The R 18 M project, made possible by BMW Italy, was born from the emotions that this motorbike can convey: a cruiser for a lot of riding fun, powerful and lively, with a big heart and infinite torque. LowRide involved some of the best Italian craftsmen and companies specialised in this field. The realisation of the sketches was entrusted to the designer Oberdan Bezzi, who has already been a partner of LowRide in the past. He managed to turn it into an exciting power cruiser without sacrificing the essence of the BMW R 18.

American Dreams took over the assembly and coordinated the work. Elaboratorio, specialised in prototyping and modelling, created new components from scratch, such as the rear, front and the fibreglass windshield. Carbon Italy took care of the cylinder head covers, intake ducts and other details in carbon fibre. The short exhaust pipe, which provides a more compact line and allows greater lean angles, bears the signature of ER Exhaust Revolution. The short exhaust pipes also highlight the magnificent open-running shaft drive – an evocative detail that deserves to be emphasised. L. R. Leder covered the seat in leather, while the paintwork was transferred to the Dox Art Factory. In keeping with the bike’s character, Rizoma supplied accessory components such as mirrors, handlebar grips and indicator lights.


BMW R 18 Aurora.
The idea and desire of Garage 221 to create a custom bike based on the BMW R 18 found its origin some time ago during the presentation of the motorbike at EICMA 2019. According to Pier Francesco Marchio of Garage 221, the innovative and at the same time traditional lines of the new BMW Cruiser „deserved complementary elements and an even more emphasised heritage spirit, starting from the soft lines of the tank to the characteristic shapes of the boxer.“

The project initially focused on the study of the motorbike’s various assemblies, taking into account the need to combine the new elements in a unique harmony of lines. Inspired by the cruisers of the 1970s, which have always particularly captivated Pier Francesco with their impressive aesthetic flow. Distinctive elements of the BMW R 18 Aurora created by Garage 221 are the „batwing“ mudguards that run around and adhere to the wheel like bat wings, thus highlighting the central area of the bike.

Customizing mit der BMW Tradition als Mittelpunkt.


The modifications that ultimately led to the R 18 Aurora stem from Garage 221’s experience with the BMW Motorrad world, and so all the elements used come from other BMW Motorrad models. For example, the seat was taken from a BMW R 1200 C from 2005, while the „Batwing“ brackets were made from the indicator brackets of a BMW R 100 from 1982 and part of the rear frame of a BMW K 75 from 1991. For the paintwork of the body parts, the colour code of a 1983 BMW R 100 RT was used and the graphics were adapted in colour tones and intensity. The front and rear wing struts, saddle supports and licence plate holders, on the other hand, are completely handmade.

The exhaust system was produced in collaboration with Leo Vince with special attention to the sound to make it even more voluminous and captivating. Its design was specially developed to give the R 18’s midsection a very personal and muscular line.


Inspired by the radiator grilles of 1960s BMW cars, the oil radiator grille on the R 18 Aurora gives it a classy, natural touch. „It was a lot of hard work,“ says Pier Francesco, „but the result is really stunning. The textured paint on the cylinder head covers, the injection housings, the crankcase and our oil cooler grille make everything look homogeneous and, together with the cylinder block and the gimbal, create a unique effect.“


virtualdesignmagazine Michael Hiller


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