BMW presents one-of-a-kind customized R 18 Transcontinental

The bike was modified by custom motorcycle visionary Paul Yaffe.

BMW presents one-of-a-kind customized R 18 Transcontinental

MANILA: American custom motorcycle visionary Paul Yaffe has unveiled his newest creation, a unique customization of the BMW R 18 Transcontinental.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • What was Paul Yaffe's concept in creating the customized BMW R18 Transcontinental?

    Yaffe's goal was to combine classic hot rod aesthetics with the distinctive BMW essence.
  • Where will the customized bike make its debut?

    Yaffe's unique modification of the R 18 Transcontinental will make its debut at the Motor Bike Expo 2024 in Verona, Italy.
  • The project showcases Yaffe's skill as a designer by fusing the iconic BMW DNA with classic hot rod aesthetics.

    Yaffe has been regarded as one of the most accomplished designers of motorized masterpieces since 1991. From the founding of American Legend Motorcycle Company, which later became Paul Yaffe's Bagger Nation, he has received recognition for his achievements with two “Builder of Year” and three “Trendsetter of the Year” awards from Easyriders Magazine, three “World's Most Beautiful Motorcycle” awards from the Oakland Roadster Show, and an induction into the Sturgis Hall of Fame in 2015.

    BMW R 18 Transcontinental customized by Paul Yaffe

    His customized bikes have also been the subject of more than 300 international magazine articles, as well as appearances on television programs on the Discovery Channel and History Channel. Yaffe's products are distributed through a network of partners in six countries.

    Before Yaffe began the customization of the R 18 Transcontinental, he rode the motorcycle 6,115 kilometers (km) across the United States and an additional 4,180 km to and from Sturgis to get to know it more.

    He decided early on in the customization process that he wanted to build a big wheel bagger. Yaffe also wanted to preserve as many original BMW components as possible.

    BMW R 18 Transcontinental customized by Paul Yaffe

    The custom motorcycle designer had a 400-pound solid aluminum block carved into a 26-by-5.5-inch front wheel, which he had custom-built to accommodate a hand-made 180-millimeter wide front tire.

    Adopting the appearance of a classic 1950s Mercury Lead Sled, the team created several unique parts and modified existing R 18 components. The front fender made of steel was handmade.

    BMW R 18 Transcontinental customized by Paul Yaffe

    In order to properly align the headlights and fit the new front wheel, the original R 18 fairing was cut into several pieces and reconstructed. A special chin spoiler was created to bridge the space between the fuel tank and the fairing, effectively hiding the radiator. Furthermore, a unique set of Yaffe Monkey Bars was created to match the overall style.

    “The team wanted to retain the saddlebag lids, latches, and speakers so a new set of ‘skins’ was created to give the bags a completely new and unique stretched profile while retaining the excellent engineering and functionality that BMW had created for them,” Yaffe said.

    As the build took shape, Yaffe repositioned the original R 18 tail lights into the handmade filler panels and embedded a space for the license plate into the fender in classic hot rod styling. He also expanded the original R 18 side covers to maintain their original shape.

    BMW R 18 Transcontinental customized by Paul Yaffe

    While maintaining the iconic Lead Sled look, Yaffe focused on air suspension and side pipes.

    The team designed an advanced air tank and distribution system and a custom frame underneath each side of the saddlebags to hold the air storage tanks, the large air compressor, and all the controls, valving, and solenoids needed for the system's operation.

    The fabrication team turned their focus to the side pipe design in an effort to maintain the unique “BMW feel” that makes this build unique. In Yaffe's opinion, keeping the traditional Boxer head pipes was essential. The head pipes' catalytic converters were taken out to make room for a custom perforated high-flow baffle system. The idea kept the needed back pressure for peak performance while also replacing the restrictive emissions system.

    A meticulously engineered three-step muffler system was added to improve the auditory experience even more. The final touch was a wide-open megaphone that produces the iconic hot rod sound.

    Yaffe also wanted to emphasize the bike's sleek new posture and profile while maintaining a traditional hot rod vibe without any distracting graphics.

    BMW R 18 Transcontinental customized by Paul Yaffe

    Once the team decided on a classic deep gloss black finish, they focused on getting the body just right. Yaffe assigned his dedicated painter Hector Martinez to apply the paint. Realizing the need for contrast, he opted for an ochs blood red interior.

    Yaffe's unique modification of the R 18 Transcontinental will make its debut at the Motor Bike Expo 2024 in Verona, Italy this weekend.

    Photos from BMW

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