The BMW R 18 with its 1.8-liter two-cylinder boxer engine is, in a way, a two-wheeled ship, powered by gasoline-fired marine diesel, you could say. That’s how monumental the Munich cruiser is. And it is versatile, there are already several variants. Now a customizer has narrowed down his variant of it and thus remains in the Wassermetier – because he calls the result “The Whale”.
Shinya Kimura is the third creative after Roland Sands and Dirk Oehlerking, who has been commissioned by BMW to work on the magnificent cruiser bike with the two huge, shiny chrome cylinders.
He doesn’t dwell on his projects with sketches, drawings, blueprints or mockups. His bikes are created “hands-on”, but of course he has an idea of what the result should look like, because as a rule a customer should like it. In this case he is practically his own customer.
“I built the R 18 just for myself. When I drove the standard R 18, I thought that it might suit my stature and my driving preferences better if I designed it to be more front-oriented with a fairing. I decided to take over the frame, wheels and tires, as well as suspension elements and brakes, because after driving I didn’t feel the need to change them. I also wanted to be able to drive long distances with my R 18 while feeling and enjoying the legendary boxer engine. It was very important to me to preserve the two characters of the R 18 as I experienced them while driving. Thanks to its powerful engine, it is on the one hand wild and of almost inexhaustible power, but on the other hand it is completely good-natured. Like a whale, hence the German animal name for this R 18, which for me is something of a ‘Sports Endurancer’, ”explains Kimura.
The “Sports Endurancer” appears unmistakably in the form of Kimura’s R 18 “The Wal”. This is ensured by a larger tank with a completely different design (and up to four liters larger) compared to the original, an elongated, harmoniously rounded seat hump and a half-shell cladding.
“I also moved the footpegs back about two inches for more flexibility in the position of the legs. At the same time, I lowered the position of the handlebars and changed the seat. The seat pad was also designed by me and then handcrafted by Backdrop Leathers in Japan. Everything together ultimately resulted in a very natural posture. “
The half-shell cladding houses two asymmetrically arranged headlights that look almost like eyes and, with a little imagination, Kimura’s R 18, together with a “set of teeth” underneath, actually gives the impression of a whale. The color scheme and the coarsely structured lacquer surface have also been chosen to match the theme of “The Whale”.
It would be really exciting if BMW were to bring such bikes into series production – but unfortunately that is not to be expected …