Just last week, BMW Motorrad showcased the custom R 18 M at the Verona Motor Bike Expo in Italy. 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.
Alongside the R 18 M, BMW also showcased another custom creation for the brand’s biggest boxer, this time, tapping Garage 221 to create the R 18 Aurora – infusing elements of past BMW motorcycles to this modern masterpiece.
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," says 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
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 the BMW 1200 C from 2005, the Batwing supports were made using the supports for indicators of a BMW R 100 from 1982 and a part of the rear frame of a BMW K 75 from 1991.
As for the color, Garage 21 used the color code of the 1983 BMW RT 100 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 – a 68-year-old Italian company that specializes in exhaust systems – 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.”
Ever since its introduction as a concept bike (designed by Bart Janssen Groesbeek) at the 2019 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, the BMW R18 motorcycle has been intended to be a blank piece of canvass, ready for customization by bike builders, as well as the R18 owners themselves.
Even before the R 18 was launched here in the country, several custom R 18 motorcycles were featured by BMW: the R 18 Blechmann by Bernhard Naumann, the R 18 Dragster by none other than Roland Sands himself, and the art deco-inspired Spirit of Passion R 18 by Dirk Oehlerking, of Kingston Custom.