It seems like we’ve seen the BMW R 18 transform into every style of motorcycle in the last few years. From café racers to choppers, from rat bikes to visions of futuristic design, the big-bore cruiser has proven its potential as a custom platform. Apparently, BMW still thinks the R 18 has more to give on that front, though, and the Magnifica is a testament to the model’s shapeshifting ability.

Commissioned by Officine Riunite Milanesi owner Raffaello Polchi, the project is the brainchild of Radikal Chopper builder Andrea Radaelli. BMW may have looked to its 1936 R5 to inform on the R 18’s styling, but Radaelli broadened that scope to vintage motorbikes of the 1920s, ‘30s, and ‘40s, particularly, the BMW R 37. The Milan-based builder turned to materials such as brass and wood to capture the era, and the simple, straightforward design process followed suit.

Gallery: BMW R 18 Magnifica

Working from a sketch, Radaelli built nearly everything by hand. The only exception to that rule were the billet machined wheels designed by Radikal Choppers. BMW notes that the custom brake discs and calipers were also custom-built, but the hand-made mahogany and polished stainless steel tail section upstages those additions. However, the Magnifica is more addition by subtraction, with Radaelli removing both fenders and side panels and downsizing the gas tank to a new sleek shape.

"The bike has to be my own creation, I don't feel like dredging up or modifying a concept already set up and done very well by others,” explained Radaelli. To achieve that goal, he utilized materials that “have an incredible charm that even today many modern motorbikes cannot replicate"

The front end sports a girder-style fork, but a mounted monoshock provides the support of modern suspension. Similarly, the electronics suite remains intact, preserving the convenience of electric start and fuel injection. Despite a heavy reliance on metal, comes in 220 pounds lighter than a stock R 18.

Living up to its ambitions of grandeur, the Magnifica debuted at the Top Marques show in Monaco on June 8, 2022. We may have seen our fair share of BMW R 18 customs, but there are none quite like Radikal Chopper’s Magnifica.

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