BMW’s mighty R 18 gets a makeover

BMW’s mighty R 18 gets a makeover

The Verona Motor Bike Expo was the perfect place to present two bespoke BMW R 18 motorcycles to Italian and European enthusiasts. The product of BMW Motorrad Italy, Italian magazine LowRide commissioned American Dreams to work on the R 18 M project, while the R 18 Aurora – developed by Garage 221 for BMW Motorrad Roma – is the first motorcycle to include a fiber frame of carbon.


BMW cars are designated by the letter M for sportier variants, but now it is used to designate four-wheeled and two-wheeled vehicles. The brand’s inspiration behind the BMW R 18 M project was the vintage BMW R 18 line. The aim was to give the BMW Cruiser a sleeker and sportier appearance without overdoing it.

Work has focused on the chassis, suspension setup, bodywork and accessories, leaving the mechanics and electronics unchanged like the natural strengths of the R 18. It has also been lightened and has a different driving position .

The R 18 M project was made possible by BMW Italia and the bike’s natural positioning – a powerful, lively cruiser with a big heart and endless torque. With some of the best Italian know-how and companies specialized in this sector, the task of making the sketches was entrusted to designer Oberdan Bezzi. He managed to make the R 18 M an exciting power cruiser without upsetting the essence of the bike. American Dreams took care of the assembly and coordinated the work; Elaboratorio specialized in prototyping and modeling and created the fiberglass tail, tip and windshield from scratch; and Carbon Italy took care of the carbon fiber headgear, intake ducts and other details.

The short exhaust pipe, designed to make the line more compact and allow greater angles of inclination, bears the signature of ER Exhaust Revolution and also gives more prominence to the splendid exposed nickel-plated axis, while the paint has was entrusted to Dox Art Factory.

BMW R 18 Aurora

Garage 221’s idea and desire to create a custom motorcycle based on the R 18 began when it was presented at EICMA 2019. The lines of the new BMW cruiser, innovative and at the same time traditional, deserved “complementary elements and more heritage spirit, from the soft lines of the tank to the characteristic boxer shape,” 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 new elements in a unique harmony of lines, which is inspired by the cruisers of the 1970s. The BMW R 18 Aurora from Garage 221 highlights the central area of ​​the bike.

The modifications that led to the R 18 Aurora stem from Garage 221’s experience in the BMW world and all the elements used from other BMW Motorrad models. The seat was taken from a 2005 1200 C and the Batwing brackets were made from the indicator brackets of a 1982 R 100 and part of the rear frame of a 1991 K 75. Even for the body color, the code for a 1983 RT 100 is taken as a reference with customization of the graphics in its nuances and intensity. The front and rear fender mounts, saddle mounts and license plate support arms are completely handmade. With help from Leo Vince, the exhausts were designed to make the sound even more full-bodied and alluring. The central component of the R 18 has been designed to give it a muscular and personal look. Natural wood grain was used in the grille of the R 18 Aurora oil cooler as a nod to BMW’s 1960s grille design.

“But the final effect is simply breathtaking,” said Pier Francesco. “Everything is painted to look like a single color, including our oil cooler grille and valve covers. This creates a stark contrast to the cylinder block and bevel gear.”

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