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BMW R18 "The Crown" | 100th Anniversary Special

BMW's motorcycle division periodically gives one of its bikes to a well-known customiser to see what they can develop as part of their promotional machinery. The outcomes are usually incredible, but they rarely have the same artistic impact as the most recent design, The R18 The Crown.

Although it seems like something out of a Netflix thriller, it's a sleek bespoke motorbike made to commemorate BMW Motorrad's 100th birthday (the company's motorcycle division).

The bike, designed by Dirk Oehlerking of Kingston Customs, was unveiled at the BMW Motorrad Days in Berlin over the weekend. He has been making motorcycles in the Ruhr region of Germany for the past 30 years, and he believes this one represents "the essence of my creations to date." He has become well-known for his quirky and distinctive motorbike constructions.

"I started with a new BMW R18, which I then stripped down," King claimed. "As usual, I drew the form, the lines, and the pattern using cardboard and rigid foam. It was intended to seem strong, graceful, and quick while also having a unique appearance.

The extent of his customisation program necessitated several alterations to the bike, as one might anticipate. For instance, a double-sided swinging arm with a central suspension strut has replaced the front forks.

However, the exterior body and the eight-litre gasoline tank were constructed of two-millimetre-thick aluminium sheet metal. The basic design was achieved by manually cutting, bending, and driving each panel. Genuine leather was used to cover the metal seat.

Even though the stainless steel exhaust pipe was handcrafted, many of its components came from BMW. Naturally, the boxer engine is original, but other original components include the headlamp, rear suspension, a number of gauges and controls, and the footrest.

Oehlerking chose a Champagne Platinum paint with mother-of-pearl accents to top it all off. The cherry on top was added with pinstriping, and BMW badges topped with his company's crown.

TopGear Magazine July 2024