BMW said its R18 was “predestined for customizing” and now it’s proving it. The German marque is allowing a handful of renowned customizers to run riot on its no-frills cruising motorcycle, and the latest riff by Kingston Custom is nothing short of an Art Deco beauty.
The new design, known as the Spirit of Passion, is the brainchild of motorbike racer, designer and craftsman Dirk Oehlerking, who helms Kingston Customs. While the German tinkerer is no stranger to modifying BMWs—he’s built around 17 one-of-a-kind beemers in his lifetime—redesigning the R18 proved to be one helluva undertaking.
“This project is probably the most impressive of my entire career,” Oehlerking said in a press release. “It means a lot to me—if not everything at this moment.”
Oehlerking took the stripped-down, raked-out bike and turned it into a sculptural two-wheeler inspired by classic Art Deco style. Unlike his previous custom designs, he decided to keep the original bike’s frame and tech to instead focus on that eye-catching fairing.
“The BMW R18 is so perfect that I left the technology as it is,” Oehlerking adds. “The frame is 100 percent original and so sophisticated that nothing should be changed here.”
The same cannot be said for the bike’s body, handlebars and mudguard, which were entirely reworked and painstakingly finished by hand. The exhaust was modified in the “Kingston Roadster” style, while the front LED headlight was integrated into the dramatic fairing. The turn indicators were also replaced with Kellermann alternatives.
Oehlerking did opt to keep the original saddle, fuel tank and wheel suspension, along with the same exact colorway. The original paintwork and lines were carried across to the new fairing and wing yet include a few minute Kingston details, including the addition of “Spirit of Passion” in cursive.
Though it’s not specified, the R18’s “big boxer” likely remains. This hulking 1,802 cc two-cylinder engine is the highest displacement boxer that BMW has ever built. It delivers a maximum torque of 116 ft lbs and 91 hp.
Oehlerking’s bespoke R18 is the third to come out of the “SoulFuel” series, a collab between BMW and selected customizers. The initial two designs—both unveiled in August last year—were the handiwork of Roland Sands Designs and Bernhard Naumann. Roland turned the R18 into a drag bike, while Naumann delivered a sportier take. Can we get a steampunk rendition next?
Check out more photos of the bike below: