BMW Motorrad showcases custom R18

The “Spirit of Passion” by Kingston Custom is a uniquely beautiful take on BMW’s classically inspired R18 motorcycle

Reuben Van Niekerk
BMW Motorrad

Unmistakable design that is unlike any other is the only way of describing the new “Spirit of Passion” by Kingston Custom.


As BMW Motorrad had hoped the new R18 is proving to be popular with world-renowned bike builders. Recently Roland Sands and Dirk Oehlerking put their signature touches on an example, for the SoulFuel series, a collaboration between BMW Motorrad and selected customers. And who can forget the sensation caused by the Bernhard Naumann creation known as the Blechmann.


Oehlerking’s Kingston Custom shop is well known for its extreme customising, however this time round much of the original R18 remains under the bodywork, they left the technology and frame as is.


The biggest eye catcher and also the greatest challenge was the Kingston fairing. This massive dustbin fairing complete with a pair of kidney grilles was inspired by the classic art deco style. The bodywork is finished in a handmade Kingston design, as are the handlebars and mudguard, which is attached to the swingarm so that it moves with the wheel.


The R18s exhaust has been modified in a Roadster style, while the saddle was sourced from a range of universal accessories. The indicators have been replaced with units from Kellermann and the LED front headlight is now integrated into the fairing. The original paintwork and lines have been adopted for the fairing and wing, with the addition of some details in Kingston style. The wheels and suspension have been left as is.


The BMW R18 lends itself to customising thanks to its extremely conversion-friendly architecture and features pronounced historical references, technically and visually echoing famous models such as the BMW R5 and refocusing on motorcycle essentials such as no-frills technology and a big boxer engine.


Motorbike racer, designer and craftsman Dirk Oehlerking demonstrates once again in his “Spirit of Passion” that he not only understands his craft but has embraced it in his work for over 35 years. For him, the design process begins long before the first screws are applied or sketches are made: “I put a lot of thought into it beforehand. My motorcycles always convey soul, charm and character. They’re outstanding specimens, so they require great care and attention. I have a constant stream of images running past my mind’s eye when it comes to deciding what style I want to focus on. Once I’ve made that choice, I start with a sketch in pencil and Tipp-Ex. Then I keep going until I know in my heart of hearts: that’s precisely it!”