Rough Crafts headman Winston Yeh is an auteur in today’s custom motorcycle scene. Whether he’s tricking out a Yamaha XSR 900 or reimagining a Royal Enfield Continental GT 650, common design elements such as vintage-inspired bodywork and matte black paint schemes unite Yeh’s body of work. When a customer rolled a new BMW R 18 into the Taipei, Taiwan, custom shop, Yeh gave the Bavarian Boxer the trademark Rough Crafts treatment.
Drawing inspiration from BMW’s first-ever motorcycle, the R32, Yeh set out to accentuate the line from the headstock to the rear axle. To achieve the underslung tank look, the build team trimmed the original unit before shaping the sloping new tank. Yeh originally wanted to make the new fuel cell much slimmer, but the silver graphics and aluminum tank trim add a new level of refinement.
Gallery: Berlin Barnstormer: BMW R 18
While the new gas tank immediately changes the R 18’s silhouette, new fork springs and monoshock adjustments lower the big-bore cruiser’s stance. The 21-inch front and 18-inch rear wheel give the R 18 a more modern look, but the Arlen Ness Y-spoke rims capture the wire-spoke pattern of yore. Yeh may prefer retro-leaning aesthetics, but the Beringer braking system provided top-notch stopping power with a six-piston caliper at the front and a four-pot clamper in the rear.
The signature combination of old and new is most evident in the solo floating seat with a carbon fiber seat pan and the strut-mounted carbon fiber rear fender. Yeh continues that motif with Motogadget mo.blaze blinkers integrated into the handlebars and Rough Crafts ION 3-into-1 indicators installed in the rear mudguard. The brand will also offer the build’s carbon fiber and stainless steel radiator shrouds on its website and the Rough Crafts’ R 18 exhaust silencer will follow close behind.
Of course, the Berlin Barnstomer receives an all-black paint job in the Rough Crafts vein, but pinstripes link the build back to BMW’s heritage. With his latest project, Winston Yeh may lean on the Bavarian brand’s lineage, but he also makes the R 18 his own.