BMW has touted the R 18’s custom potential since the big-bore cruiser broke cover in April, 2020. Since then, we’ve seen countless takes on the Bavarian boxer, with French, Italian, Japanese, Taiwanese, Swedish, and German custom builders delivering vastly different takes on the platform.
Now, BMW Motorrad Canada gives three Canucks a crack at customizing the R 18 in their own unique way. To put the R 18’s versatility on full display, the Bavarian brand tapped British Columbia’s Jay Donovan and Konquer Motorcycles along with Ontario’s Augment Motorworks to shape the stripped-down cruiser in their signature style.
Gallery: BMW Motorrad Canada R 18 Customs
Starting with Jay Donavan’s Future Café R 18, the massive 1,802cc opposed-twin still remains the centerpiece, but the young builder drapes café racer-style bodywork around the base package. Clip-on handlebars make for an aggressive riding position while the chopped front and rear fenders further streamline the silhouette. However, the Future Café's piece de resistance is the rerouted exhaust system, which snakes upward and terminates at the tail section.
Konquer Motorcycles takes an entirely different approach with its R 18 Diamond Custom build. Lead builder Rob Thiessen and team stick to the cruiser playbook, but steals a page from the custom dragster scene with a low-and-lean stance and trick metallic bronze paint job. The wrap-around fenders maintain the sleek aesthetic while the chin spoiler leans into the custom scene.
While Jay Donavan favors the café style and Rob Thiessen counters with a stretched-out custom, Nick Acosta of Augment Motorworks opts for an alternative route R 18 Tattooed Chopper. The Canadian champions the classic American chopper style and nicknames the project “El Boxeador” for a patently NAFTA flair. Of course, ape-hanger handlebars, swingarm-mounted rear fender, sissy bar, stacked headlights, and a tattoo-inspired livery lives up to chopper conventions.
“We wanted to demonstrate the potential of the R 18 and designed a project to do just that,” revealed BMW Motorrad Canada Director Johann von Balluseck. “We chose builders that would approach this project in different ways in hopes they would give us three very different styles – and that’s exactly what we got.”