Roland Sands develops an R 18 Dragster
It’s not even here yet, BMW Motorrad’s uber-cool R 18 cruiser, but already custom bike designer Roland Sands has created something special, a dragster featuring the 1.8L Big Boxer powerplant.
“With an engine that’s so visibly the centrepiece, I immediately thought of muscle cars” said Sands. “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,” he explained.
BMW presented its first serious attempt at a big cruiser earlier this year. The R 18 harks back to models like the BMW R 5 and shifts the focus to the engine, an air-cooled 1802cc torque-rich boxer twin.
Roland Sands first sketches the stance and the geometry of the bike. The production machine features an easily removable rear frame, like the R nineT line-up, and a simple-to-dismantle painted parts set. Sands said “The electronics were definitely the most difficult task we had to deal with as we added nitrous oxide, stripped out the stock exhaust and changed the intake drastically”.
For the R 18 Dragster, the team retained the stock neck geometry. Front and rear fenders were modded to fit the new frame. The front end was taken from the BMW R nineT while rear suspension was removed altogether. The seat as well as the exhaust (a hand-fabricated stainless steel twin megaphone design) were created from scratch. Brakes were borrowed from the BMW S 1000 RR superbike.
Aside from the R 18 Dragster custom bike, Roland Sands also created two different design collections of milled aluminium parts for the launch of the R 18 Cruiser. The “Machined” and “2-Tone-Black” ranges include front and rear wheels available in various (non-standard) sizes, speedometer housings, handlebar clamps, risers, handlebar grips, hand levers and mirrors. There are also milled engine housing trim elements, filler caps, and intake silencer covers.
The almost-as-ornery BMW R 18 Cruiser will go on sale in New Zealand later this year.