The jewel in the crown: Radical BMW R18 custom unveiled in Berlin

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In the hundred years that BMW has been producing motorcycles, nothing has yet been made that comes close to replicating the latest creation from custom builder Dirk Oehlerking – the BMW R18 The Crown.

“It is the essence of my creations to date,” says Oehlerking, founder of Kingston Custom located east of Assen. He continued: “I started with a new BMW R18 which I then stripped down. As always, I worked with hard foam and cardboard to create the shape, the lines and the design. The aim was for it to look powerful, elegant and fast combined with an innovative look.”

To the naked eye very little of the original R18 remains as Oehlerking designed the streamlined body from aluminium sheet metal. He also redesigned the front suspension with a double-sided swinging arm and central suspension strut.

BMW R18 The Crown right side

Other bespoke components include the 8-litre fuel tank and body panels, which were hand made from 2mm thick aluminium sheet metal.

Clutch and handbrake fittings are from Magura and a rear mudguard and brackets from Wunderkind plus a saddle also made from 2mm thick aluminium sheet metal and covered with genuine leather are also unique features.

There are, however, original parts still integrated into The Crown as the engine, rear suspension, headlight, instrument panel, switch units and footrest system remain standard. To allow the 1800cc engine to breathe, there are two stainless steel exhaust manifolds which have been made by hand.

BMW R18 The Crown cockpit

Finally, Oehlerking gave the R18 The Crown a Champagne Platinum paint finish with mother-of-pearl, complemented by the BMW brand emblem adorned with a small crown.

The unveiling of the custom took place during the BMW Motorrad Days, celebrating the company’s centenary, held in Berlin between July 7 and 9.