RSD has been part of the BMW R18 project since its inception, which has been a cool way to watch a bike come to life. It all started with the Concept 90, our first BMW boxer project and collab with Munich-based Bavarian Motor Works. We watched the R nineT become the leader of the modern retro bike movement where classic-styled bikes met modern performance. At the time it didn’t come to mind that the BMW factory would entertain a full-bore Cruiser platform, but time has a funny way of reshaping things. Harley was deep into the development of an adventure touring bike while BMW was on the other side of the world developing a 1800cc parallel twin cruiser that pointed the opposite direction of the company ethos. Pigs were essentially flying, and the factories were readily changing direction to pick up market share in each other’s backyards. The bonus for us motorcyclists… more variety and choices on two wheels from our favorite or soon-to-be favorite brands.
EPISODE 4: THE FINAL BIKE
We based our most recent GEICO #dreambuildoff bike on the BMW R18 Pure. The R18 is a bike that was designed to be customized. It features some key details that make modifications easy once you dig into the motorcycle. The Riser mounts and spacing are based on Harley specification parts, meaning there is a world of parts available to fit the motorcycle. Front Brake calipers are the same spacing as the HD parts as well. The rear subframe and fender unbolt as one unit, making any rear end swaps possible and easy. The wiring is all quick change and there are different lengths of wiring, letting you change bar heights. The same goes for the front brake line mounts; you can unplug the sensors' ABS unit which makes the bike more analog if you like to be in complete control of all that torque.
The first mod was a major attitude change from modified handlebars and hand controls. We used our new Sector handlebar risers and extensions to bring the Pro Taper Carmichael Bend bars up to a more moto level, which brought a surprising level of comfort and control to the R18. We also used Brembo radial-mount masters cylinders for clutch and brake, getting us added brake feel and more simplified bars. The final touches are the RSD x BMW grips and gauge bezel.
We wanted to take advantage of what the stock bike has to offer from a customizing perspective, so this project was very different from the Dragster R18 which required extensive frame and body modifications. It was also a great opportunity to show off our collaborative products with BMW which add a lot of flavor to the bike with fairly minimal effort. The breastplate and valve covers are the crown jewels of the motor featuring a black machined finish. We also added an airbox cover, rear reservoir cover, and gas cap all in a black machined finish. We fabricated a lightweight and all stainless exhaust in-house with a stainless steel custom RSD Slant Muffler.
The frame is completely stock, although we did make a few body modifications. The gas tank and side covers are stock, but we shortened the rear fender up, as well as the rear subframe. The biggest aesthetic change was the addition of the Saddleman mini FXRT fairing, which we knew was the right fairing from the moment we slid it into place. We fabricated a fairing mount and used our turn signal fork mounts to mount the fairing, making adjustments possible. The front fender is off an S1000RR. After we finished the bodywork it was shipped to Taylor Schultz for a multi-layer blue flake and midnight blue paneling job with a gold leaf pinstripe. This body was topped off with a custom Saddleman seat. A bunch of parts were black powder-coated to lose as much chrome as possible to toughen up the look.
The chassis also got some key upgrades. The RSD x BMW Billet machined wheels in black machined bring a new look to the stock bike with a 19 x 3.0 front wheel with a Dunlop Sportmax 120 and an 18 x 5.5 rear wheel with a Dunlop Sportmax 180 tire. The added level of traction allowed us to also increase braking performance and we used S1000RR calipers off the superbike, as well as wave rotors front and back. The Kraus radial mount caliper brackets came off a Harley. The final touch was our Traction footpegs which were modified to fit the stock foot controls and Traction toe pegs.
In the end, the BMW R18 has transitioned from a pedestrian machine fitting a cruise down PCH with your dad to a rip-roaring high bar R18 with attitude and performance to match. The sweetest thing about the bike is how stock it is, retaining much of what people love about the standard R18, but with swagger.
EPISODE 3: THE FAB
EPISODE 2: THE TEARDOWN
The Dream Build-Off by GEICO looks to inspire the garage builder, aspiring motorhead and local shops to get those dream projects rolling. We're giving the builders 4 months to complete their machines in three categories and giving the winners of each CC category a brand new motorcycle. To help inspire, we are building a bike of our own! Follow along as we design, tear apart, fabricate, cry and build a bike before the cut-off date of April 30th. We're just getting started so there's plenty of time to join for your chance to win one of 3 brand new motorcycles!
We’ve set about building a new BMW R18 Highway Jammer for our #Dreambuildoff entry. We’re not going to win anything, but there’s nothing quite like a deadline to force you to get a bike finished up and on the road.
Our R18 project isn’t the craziest of builds and we won’t be tearing the bike down to the frame and modifying it from head to toe. We’re approaching the R18 as a stock-based custom with the right tweaks to get her looking good yet be a far departure from stock. We’ll be including a few high-performance upgrades as well as some great off the shelf items (if we can get them!) and custom bodywork. Something rideable, fun and roadworthy. Follow our journey to create our #dreambuildoff entry on BMW’s R18.