BMW Motorrad R 18 One Eight “C”

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Paul Yaffe, a renowned figure in the custom motorcycle world, has unveiled his latest masterpiece – a unique customization of the BMW R 18 Transcontinental on January 18, 2024. Known for his design prowess, Yaffe has been a prominent creator since 1991, earning accolades such as multiple awards and a place in the Sturgis Hall of Fame. His latest project blends classic hot rod aesthetics with the distinctive BMW essence, showcasing Yaffe’s excellence as a designer.

Before delving into the customization process, Yaffe familiarized himself with the BMW R 18 Transcontinental by riding 3800 miles across the USA, including an additional 2600 miles to Sturgis and back. The goal was to create a big wheel bagger that retained the authentic BMW identity while incorporating unique design elements. Yaffe commissioned a 26” x 5.5” front wheel cut from a solid aluminum block, with a handmade 180mm wide front tire. The frame was stretched and raked to accommodate the new wheel, and special triple trees were engineered for optimal handling.

Drawing inspiration from the iconic 50’s Mercury Lead Sled, the customization involved crafting several one-of-a-kind components and modifying existing R 18 elements. The front fender was handmade, and the original fairing was restructured to integrate seamlessly with the new front wheel. A unique chin spoiler was developed to conceal the radiator, and exclusive Yaffe Monkey Bars were created to complement the overall design.

To maintain the original saddlebag lids, latches, and speakers, a new set of ‘skins’ was crafted, giving the bags a distinctive stretched profile. The rear fender was extended to match the new saddlebags seamlessly. Yaffe rearranged the original R 18 taillights into handmade filler panels and incorporated a license plate area into the fender in classic hot rod styling. The original side covers were stretched to retain their shape and cover more area, enhancing the visual flow into the bags.

Staying true to the classic Lead Sled aesthetic, Yaffe prioritized air suspension and side pipes. A sophisticated air tank and distribution system were designed, along with a dedicated frame beneath each side of the saddlebags to house essential components. The side pipes retained the classic Boxer head pipes, with catalytic converters removed to make way for a bespoke perforated high-flow baffle system. This not only replaced the restrictive emissions system but also retained back pressure for optimal performance. A precision-crafted 3-step muffler system and a wide-open megaphone were introduced for a classic hot rod sound.

Shifting focus to cosmetics, Yaffe aimed for a classic hot rod feel without distracting graphics, emphasizing the bike’s elegant stance and profile. The team perfected fabricated body panels and achieved a glass-like finish. The bike was finished in a timeless deep gloss black, with a classic ochs blood red interior for contrast. Upholstery and paintwork were executed meticulously, resulting in a spectacular final product that balances simplicity and allure.

In summary, Paul Yaffe’s customization of the BMW R 18 Transcontinental is a testament to his design excellence, blending classic hot rod aesthetics with the iconic BMW essence. The project showcases meticulous attention to detail, from the unique front wheel to the carefully crafted body components and the integration of classic Lead Sled features. The result is a one-of-a-kind motorcycle that pays homage to both Yaffe’s vision and the timeless appeal of hot rod design.