Renowned custom builder Fred Kodlin is a living legend in cruiser circles. The German customizer became the first non-US citizen to be inducted into the Sturgis Hall of Fame in 2021. Kodlin Motorcycles goes back to 1984, though, with Fred Kodlin pumping out show-stopping custom builds and show-worthy aftermarket parts for nearly 40 years.
Inevitably, all visionaries have to look beyond their time, and Kodlin called upon his son Len to lend a hand on his latest build—the BMW R 18-based Heavy Duty. Commissioned by the Munich house for the 2023 Daytona Bike Week, the duo set out to deck out the Bavarian bagger in an ostentatious American aesthetic.
"The R 18 B Heavy Duty was a real father-son project,” revealed Kodlin. “There was a lot of creative input from Len which also goes to show that the next generation at Kodlin Bikes is already in the starting blocks.”
Gallery: Heavy Duty: BMW R 18 B
The R 18 B may shine as a mile-munching tourer, but the Kodlins had more boulevard cruising in mind. To suit their purposes, Fred and Len completely refabricated the frame's top tube for a more pronounced fly line and a lower seat height. However, the pair preserved the model’s rake angle by also modifying the steering tube and triple trees. With the build’s lower stance, the team installed an airbag suspension system to aid the low-profile form with on-road function.
Atop that refashioned chassis rests an elongated gas tank custom-made by the Kodlins. That stretched motif extends back to the Heavy Duty’s side panels, which flow directly into the fiberglass-reinforced hard bags. Decorative winglets hovering over the boxer’s cylinder heads, chin spoiler, and tire hugger fender provide the same lengthening effect up front.
The two-wheeled spectacle wouldn’t do with any old solid paint scheme, so the team enlisted tattoo artist Marcel Sinnwell for an eye-popping livery. Boy, did he deliver. With hues of cyan and a milky red swirl highlighting the paint job, Sinnwell put all his airbrushing, pinstriping, and paint-mixing skills to good use. If Florida had a state motorcycle, this would be it.
Fred Kodlin may pass the baton to his son Len in due time, but the BMW R 18 B Heavy Duty shows the decorated builder still has what it takes to drop jaws.