BMW Motorrad Canada Rolls Out Three R 18 Customs

Even before its official debut in 2020, BMW’s R 18 cruiser had already made its way to a slew of customizers from the US as well as from around the world, with the marque itself commissioning a prototype and several concept versions of the Big Boxer–engined, custom-styled machine well before the public ever saw it on a dealer’s floor. It seems that the BMW’s Motorrad offshoot in Canada wanted in on the action too, and although they’re a bit late to the game, this trio of slick R 18–based customs released earlier this year are still worth a closer look.

For its first-ever motorcycle customization project, BMW Motorrad Canada partnered with three talented builders—all working in different styles—from across the country, giving each of the customizers a new stock BMW R 18 to modify as they pleased. But this being a company-commissioned deal, we can also assume BMW wanted to present the R 18′s customizing potential in its best light, and it’s a safe bet this trio was chosen for their craftsmanship and attention to detail.

With his so-called “R 18 Future Cafe” bike, Jay Donovan from British Columbia approached the build with one main goal: to reroute the R 18′s chunky exhaust up and over the cylinder head and straight back to an exit under the seat, lessening its visual bulk along the way. Although BMW likes to tout the cruiser’s 1,802cc, twin-cylinder Big Boxer engine, Donovan’s vision sought instead to minimize its profile, which meant a good deal of metal shaping would make its way into the build.

With Donovan’s impressive metal fabrication skills on full display, the Future Cafe also features a fully redesigned tank, saddle, and the bike’s upper section in bare, polished aluminum, with severely chopped front and rear fenders in contrasting black to emphasize the long, sleek, and yes, futuristic, look.

Naturally there was going to be a chopper version of the R 18, and the person doing the hacking in this case was Nick Acosta from Augment Motorworks, based in Toronto.  Acosta went for the classic American chopper style on the big German boxer, which he has nicknamed “El Boxeador.” Along with the requisite mini apehanger bars, custom solo seat, hand-carved headlight mount, and cocktail shaker exhaust, we also get an old-school sissy bar, and a punchy tattoo-themed paint job on the tank and side panels, giving this R 18 an instantly classic ‘70s style.

Also on hand to inspect the new creations was Roland Stocker, BMW Motorrad project leader for the Heritage models and one of the guiding minds in the development of the R 18. Stocker said he was impressed not only with the completed bikes, but also by the builders themselves. “The vision, craftsmanship, and quality of work is very impressive, especially considering how young some of the builders are,” he said.

So yeah, it’s been two years since the R 18 was officially introduced, but it looks like the big cruiser’s custom potential is still being realized.

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