When BMW unveiled the R 18 in April, 2020, the design was clearly aimed at American V-twin customers. Drawing from BMW’s rich history with gloss black base paint, tasteful white pinstriping, and a massive air-cooled, 1,802cc boxer, the throwback cruiser heavily relied on nostalgia. BMW’s extensive accessories collection along with the introduction of the Classic, B, and Transcontinental variants only cement the R 18’s retro appeal.
Despite the Bavarians’ vintage inspirations and aspirations, Zillers Garage had a different vision when BMW turned the R 18 over to Moscow-based custom motorcycle shop. Commissioned to build a one-of-a-kind R 18, Zillers’ expert builder Mikhail Smolânovym turned to his signature style, wrapping the long and low cruiser in sculpted sheets of metal.
Gallery: Zillers Garage BMW R 18
Similar to Zillers Garage’s custom R NineT, Smolânovym wraps the Bavarian boxer in additional bodywork. From a new speedometer-integrated fuel tank cover to the beefy fork shrouds to the hefty side panels, the bespoke Beemer takes on a futuristic guise. However, Zillers makes sure the 1,802cc opposed-twin remains the crown jewel of the build, leaving the boxer visible behind the metal cladding.
To match the new Avant-Garde form, Smolânovym also fashioned a new subframe to support the floating saddle. He also incorporates the rear brake light into the seat’s new futuristic form. Further aft, the swingarm receives burly metal shrouding as well while a wrap-around license hanger suits the modern aesthetic. Though the wire-spoke wheels remain, Zillers covers them with disc-like inserts to streamline the build.
The final touches include yoke-integrated handlebars, bar-end mirrors, and twin exhaust silencers that peek out from behind the metal side panels. Zillers also fabricated multiple versions of the custom build, with various anodized finishes. Unfortunately, the custom garage recently unveiled the project, so studio images aren’t available just yet. As soon as they are, however, we will share the fully detailed photos. For now, head over to Zillers Garage’s Instagram page for more on the custom R 18 build.