This R18 custom puts BMW’s kidney grille on a motorcycle

Ben Ott

The BMW R18 is a retro-inspired machine that is perfectly at home in dark, moody photography. It is also ripe for customization, as has been proven time and time again by various builders, despite the fact the R18 is less than a year old. This latest mod, built by the Germany-based Kingston Custom, is not the wildest or fastest, but its streamliner nose caught our eye.

BMW R18 kingston custom
Ben Ott

The factory R18 is clearly inspired by the 1930s art deco bikes like the R5, so Kingston Custom’s Dirk Oehlerking began to envision something to even further the time-warp look. A dustbin-style front nose, which completely hides the front wheel and suspension, smoothly flows under the handlebars before blending with the fuel tank.

BMW R18 kingston custom 4
Ben Ott

The engine and drivetrain remain untouched, even keeping the stock shaft drive, which looks downright artful once the factory exhaust is removed and replaced with something smaller. The other touch that defines this build is the rear-wheel cover. It replaces the flat look of a rubber tire with the gloss sheen of black paint and keeps the artful, smooth flow continuous from the kidney-shaped grille to the small empennage atop the rear fender.

The tank is dressed with a vintage R75 badge, which is a tasteful subtle change, just like the addition of the white pinstriping.

Honestly, if this bike was presented in the right grouping of vintage machines, it would likely hide its modern attributes well—until you started its fuel-injected 1800cc twin, which would thrum to life with the push of a button. Kingston Custom left all the functional motorcycle bits, meaning this is a custom that could be ridden—so long as you aren’t afraid of how low that beautiful fairing is to the ground. We’d hate to see (or hear) that kiss the pavement.

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