BMW Motorrad R18 One Eight “C” is a 50s Lead Sled


Taking a BMW Motorrad R18 Transcontinental (RM198,500 in Malaysia), custom motorcycle builder Paul Yaffe has created a homage to the classic hot rod of the 1950s. Yaffe’s latest creation was unveiled at the MBE Show in Verona, Italy on February 19.

Taking delivery of the R18 Transcontinental in New York, Yaffe rode the big bagger 6,115 km across the US adding a 4,184 km diversion trip to Sturgis, South Dakota, along the way. Yaffe’s vision for the R18 One Eight “C” was for a big wheel bagger like none other.

Adding to the complexity of Yaffe’s goal was the intent to retain as many of the R18’s original components as possible. Starting with the front wheel, Yaffe commissioned a 26” x 5.5” wheel cut from a solid 180kg block of aluminium, matched to a hand made 180 mm wide tyre.

With inspiration from the iconic 1950s Mercury Lead Sled custom car, Yaffe’s team crafted several
one-of-a-kind components and modified existing R18 elements. This included stretching and raking the frame to accommodate the larger front wheel with special triple trees machined to correct the trail and optimise handling.

The original R18 fairing was cut into several pieces and restructured to correct headlight position and flow into the new front wheel. The resulting gap between the fairing and fuel tank due to the stretched frame was a unique chin spoiler was designed, concealing the radiator.

More engineering was required for the R18 One Eight “C”, with a sophisticated air tank and distribution system as well as a dedicated frame located beneath each saddlebag. This was to accommodate the necessary compressed air tanks, an air compressor and all the air suspension controls, valves and solenoids.

BMW Motorrad R18 One Eight “C” is a 50s Lead Sled

To complement the styling of the bike, the rear fender was extended by grafting on sections of another R18 rear fender, seamlessly matching the profile of the new saddlebags. Yaffe also rearranged the original R18 taillights into the handmade filler panels with the license plate blended into the fender in classic hot rod styling.

In the engine room, the R18’s 1,800 cc air- and oil-cooled boxer twin was de-catted, replaced with a perforated high-flow baffle system. This removed the restriction of the stock catalytic convertors but preserved exhaust back pressure.

A precision-crafted three-step muffler system was installed, mated to a wide-open megaphone, delivering that quintessential classic hot rod sound. A deep gloss black finish was chosen for the R18 One Eight “C” mated to classic ochs blood red upholstery with matching front brake callipers.

GALLERY: BMW Motorrad R18 Transcontinental

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