BMW reasserts cruiser credentials with new Blechmann R 18

Second customised version of the upcoming BMW R 18 takes on a more café racer look ahead of the standard model's Autumn launch

Blechmann BMW R 18 custom

This is the new factory-commissioned, one-off custom version of the BMW R 18 Boxer-engined cruiser, the firm's latest attempt of establishing the new motorcycle’s Harley-rivalling cruiser credentials ahead of its launch this autumn.

Called the ‘Blechmann R 18’ it was commissioned by BMW itself and built by reknowned Austrian custom bike builder Bernhard Naumann, who goes by the nickname ‘Blechmann’, or ‘Tin Man’, due to his style of fabricating sheet metal.

It follows the earlier ‘R 18 Dragster’ unveiled in early August as also commissioned by BMW, on that occasion from Californian custom legend Roland Sands, and is again intended to generate publicity for the new bike and stimulate awareness of its customising potential.

BMW S1000RR 360 onboard at Goodwood Festival of Speed 2019

But where Sands created a dragster-style machine with a hardtail rear, fat slick tyre and racer front end using S1000RR forks and clip-on bars, Naumann has gone for a more heritage-inspired café racer.

BMW’s all-new, 1802cc boxer twin again takes centre stage once again but the Blechmann R 18 stands out for its hand-crafted, sporty half-fairing (which also required modifying the tear-drop tank), equally sporty single seat with fashionable hand-stitched brown leather squab and classic BMW Motorrad pin-striped black livery which echoes that of the firm’s very first bike, the R32, in 1923.

Other special features include a special on-off headlight intended to echo BMW’s classic ‘kidney’ grille, a special taillight by German aftermarket suppliers Kellermann and black-rimmed wire wheels. Naumann says the bike, in total, took him and his team 450 hours to build.

Deliveries of a special ‘First Edition’ of the new R 18, complete with unique livery, chrome details and limited edition plaques, are expected this autumn priced from £18,995 with prospective buyers invited to pre-register with BMW UK. Mainstream production versions, with the same all new, 1802cc, 91bhp, 158Nm, air-cooled boxer twin, are likely to follow next year.