BMW R 18 customized by award-winning motorcycle designer

Legendary custom motorcycle designer Paul Yaffe has unveiled his latest creation—a one-of-a-kind customization of the BMW R 18 Transcontinental.

Since 1991, Yaffe has been recognized in the custom motorcycle scene as a distinguished creator of motorized works of art. Beyond being a builder or fabricator, he is truly a designer. From the inception of American Legend Motorcycle Company, which later transformed into Paul Yaffe’s Bagger Nation, he has garnered prestigious awards, including three “World’s Most Beautiful Motorcycle” accolades from the Oakland Roadster Show, two “Builder of the Year” and three “Trendsetter of the Year” awards from Easyriders Magazine. In 2015, he was honored with induction into the Sturgis Hall of Fame. His customized bikes have graced over 300 magazine articles globally and have been featured on the Discovery channel, the History channel, and various other television programs.

Known for his award-winning designs and innovative approach, Yaffe had spent months immersing himself in the essence of the R 18 Transcontinental. His goal was to create a big wheel bagger that would seamlessly blend classic hot rod aesthetics with the distinctive style of BMW, and the result was nothing short of breathtaking.

The centerpiece of Yaffe’s creation was the massive 26-inch front wheel, a feat of engineering cut from a solid block of aluminum. To accommodate this massive wheel, the frame underwent a meticulous process of stretching and raking. Custom triple trees were then meticulously engineered to ensure optimal handling, showcasing Yaffe’s dedication to both form and function.

The custom BMW R 18 comes with a steel front fender that accentuated the bold front profile. The chin spoiler, another one-of-a-kind component, added a touch of aggression to the bike’s appearance. Even existing R 18 elements, such as the fairing, were modified to seamlessly integrate with the new design.

Yaffe’s dedication to the classic hot rod look was evident in the inclusion of air suspension and side pipes. Ingeniously hidden beneath the saddlebags, the air suspension system allowed for an adjustable ride height, combining modern convenience with classic aesthetics. The side pipes, featuring a bespoke perforated baffle system, delivered a soundtrack reminiscent of a classic hot rod, ensuring that the bike not only looked the part but sounded it too.

Paul Yaffe’s custom BMW R-18 near Florence, Arizona, USA. Tuesday, December 26, 2023. Photography ©2023 Michael Lichter.

The aesthetics of the bike were a true visual feast. Yaffe’s choice of a timeless deep gloss black finish exuded sophistication, while contrasting ochs blood red accents on the interior added a touch of daring flair. The contemporary-style saddle and dash console were the final strokes on this canvas of innovation and craftsmanship.

The custom BMW R 18 Transcontinental stands as a true masterpiece, a fusion of classic hot rod style and modern BMW performance. Yaffe himself reflected on the achievement, stating, “We’re incredibly proud of this bike. It’s a true masterpiece that represents the best of both worlds: classic hot rod style and modern BMW performance.”

The MBE Show – happening on January 19-21 in Verona, Ital – will become the stage for Yaffe’s creation. It’s clear that this custom BMW R 18 Transcontinental would inspire a new generation of custom motorcycle builders. Yaffe had not just created a bike; he had crafted a symbol of innovation and creativity, ensuring that the spirit of BMW lived on in a form never seen before—a form that was undeniably Paul Yaffe’s.

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