BMW has handed over its retro-themed R18 cruiser to racer-turned-bike-builder Roland Sands for a drag-strip do-over. The California custom specialist transformed the big BMW into an incredible one-off machine that he says was inspired by muscle cars.
The bike’s 91-hp, two-cylinder boxer engine is the most powerful one produced by BMW, so Sands kept the motor as standard (well, apart from the NOS injection system) while paring back the rest of the bike to quarter-mile-killer.
“This bike was really about exposing that engine and making that engine the centerpiece of the project,” says Sands. “It’s no longer quite the cruiser that it once was.”
Sands and his team fit gold forks with low clip-on bars, designed a a smaller, tighter rear-hugger, and replaced the exhaust with a short, megaphone pipe. They also removed the rear suspension—clearly, it’s no longer a bike for the street.
Sands and his experts took just three months to get the bike ready; the accelerated timeline was feasible partly because BMW originally designed the R18 to be readily customized by owners in their garages—or by pro builders in their shops. Even Sands’ build uses many custom parts sourced directly from BMW.
You can watch the full story of the bike build in the video below.