With the new R 18, BMW Motorrad presented the brand’s first series production bike for the cruiser segment in April 2020. Like no other BMW motorcycle before it, this model stands entirely in the tradition of historical BMW motorcycles – both technically and with regard to its design. It is based on illustrious models such as the BMW R 5 and shifts the focus back to the motorcycle essentials: purist, no-frills technology and the boxer engine as the center of riding pleasure, combined with “good vibrations”. The “Big Boxer” continues the line of traditional air-cooled boxer engines that have offered inspiring riding since BMW Motorrad first began production in 1923.
Roland Sands always starts by sketching his ideas on paper. This allows him to figure out the basics of the shape and what the stance and the geometry of the bike could look like. “In the end, the real magic happens when we bring the sketch to life”, Roland explains.
The frame has been modified completely removing the rear suspension for drag racing.
Front and rear fenders have been slightly modified utilizing the stock sheet metal parts in order to keep the classic R 18 silhouette.
The headlight has been taken from the original R 18 and is highlighted with the headlight bezel from the design collection of milled aluminium parts.
The standard exhaust has been replaced with a hand fabricated Stainless Steel twin megaphone system utilizing the exhaust tips from the milled aluminium parts.
The hydraulic front brake and clutch master cylinders are from Roland Sands Design.
The tank has been taken over from the original R 18.
The paint finish is a two tone metallic blue with classic white BMW pin-stripes by Roland’s long time painter Chris Wood.
The fork has been taken from the BMW R nineT.
The front braking system has been taken from the S 1000 RR superbike.
The seat has been built from scratch and is a RSD custom seat by Saddlemen.
Roland Sands: The man behind the designs
By his own account, Roland Sands basically grew up on a motorcycle and motorcycling is in his blood. His dad was a drag racer who built custom bikes and parts. As a result, Roland was brought up surrounded by cool bikes. It wasn’t long before he, too, was riding dirt bikes, taking them apart and rebuilding them. He had a racing career of his own that spanned ten years.