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BMW R18 Gets Dragster Treatment

While it is still some time away from landing on our shores, BMW Motorrad is continuing to see how much variation they can get out if the upcoming R18 platform with the reveal of a one-off dragster based off the Big Boxer Platform.

Teaming up with the motorcycling industry's favourite customiser, Roland Sands of Roland Sands Design (RSD) the base BMW R18 has received a host of custom refinements and choice parts from the BMW Motorrad parts catalogue to turn the bike into an incredibly purposeful looking straight-line weapon.

Roland Sands’ personal story served as a source of inspiration for his work on this bike. “With an engine that’s so visibly the centrepiece, I immediately thought of muscle cars. My family has always been into going fast and my dad was a drag racer, so I thought it made sense to strip the bike down to the essentials and shape it to go fast on a straight track,” the designer explains. 

The major changes taken by Sands and his team revolved around the chassis, where they cut the frame to make the R18 a hardtail and allow for fitment of a massive rear tyre, while the front suspension has also been replaced, this time with a set of forks from BMW's S1000RR superbike along with the supporting braking system. The result is a low-slung machine that still retains much of the lines of the factory bike.

“Every bike needs different sources depending on the build, special materials or parts. Every new bike concept is a bit of a learning process even after having built over 200 bikes. We always want to understand the genre of the bike we are building in, it’s the key to keeping it authentic and functional,” explains Roland Sands.

In fact, the R18 Dragster retains many of the bikes factory components or optional accessories from BMW.

In addition to the bike itself, Sands also created two different design collections of milled aluminium parts for the launch of the R18 Cruiser: “Machined” and “2-Tone-Black”. The “Machined” and “2-Tone-Black” ranges include front and rear wheels available in different dimensions than the standard sizes. The range includes speedometer housings, handlebar clamps, risers, handlebar grips, hand levers and mirrors as well as engine housing trim elements, filler caps, intake silencer covers and much more.

The whole customizing process took about three and a half months. The bike then headed to the workshop for final assembly and a day at a drag strip.

At the time of writing, BMW Motorrad New Zealand is yet to confirm the local launch of the R18 and what the price point of the bike will be. With that said, we're guessing the R18 will be in Harley-Davidson territory price-wise. Is there a German conspiracy to take down the long time favourite in the cruiser scene? We're starting to think so based on work like the R18 Dragster!

Check out the latest episode of BMW's Bavarian Soul Story for a full look behind the scenes of the build!


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