He might not quite have the dance moves, but the pressure on Roland Sands when he releases a new custom bike is about as intense as it is for Beyonce pulling the covers off her latest album. Why? Because the expectations are just so high, it’s just what happens when you deliver one smash hit after another. But rather than shirk the task, the California kid just keeps coming back, swinging bigger and harder than ever before. And perhaps no motorcycle to roll out of RSD will ever quite make the noise and have the presence of this here creation. A sequel that definitely tops the original, she’s fired up and ready for ¼ mile action, meet the RSD x BMW R18 Dragster II.

For many years now RSD and the Bavarian brand have shared a very successful relationship, with Sands given the opportunity to take a sneak peek behind the curtains and see just what the big manufacturer is cooking up. But the benefits flow both ways, RSD develops a range of off-the-shelf parts for many of the new Boxer bikes and BMW gets to pick the brain of one of the industry’s brightest stars. When it came time to release the big R18 cruiser to the market, RSD helped on the promotional side by building one hell of a cool drag bike. But that Dragster had some limitations, and the full Pro Stock Motorcycle chassis had to be scrapped.

“We were launching the Roland Sands x BMW Motorrad parts line along with the custom bike, we ended up steering towards a more street-able machine that utilised stock and modified parts along with the collaborative parts collection.” Even with the narrow tyred rear end, that bike was still a legit track weapon, but there really is something about the statement made by a full blown ¼ mile only machine. “Enter Dragster II, a BMW R18 Dragster x Concept 90 mash up with a full bore Pro Stock racing steelo.” Concept 90 was RSD’s tribute to the original BMW R90S, built on an R nineT platform, so this latest build really is the very best of the Bavarian and RSD boys working together.

The process starts with a new R18, which was instantly put up onto the lift and torn into by the crew, which includes uber-talented fabricator Aaron Boss. To create the Pro Stock steel chassis, the entire frame has been cut off from the end of the fuel tank rearward, which means the centre posts and the entire swingarm setup. In its place goes the solid racing frame, with sweet bar work and a stunning set of Pro Mod axle blocks, which allow for quite a bit of adjustability. “We decided to go unconventional and turned the original shaft drive unit into a jack shaft, relocating the drive to mount in front of the rear tyre, thereby converting from shaft drive to chain drive, which also got us the ability to modify the final drive gear ratios!”

This leaves you with no doubt as to just how serious the guys are about going fast down the strip. To achieve that, the rear end is finished off with a purpose-built Grothus Drag Bikes beadlock rear wheel, that is then wrapped in a massive 26.0×8.5-15” slick. It sure makes a hell of a statement, but the front end of many a straight-line crotch rocket is often ignored, not here! “We’ve utilised full Grothus front forks, triples with built-in bar mounts, Brembo brakes with Grothus discs and a Grothus front wheel with a tiny Pro Stock drag race spec 18” slick.” The front end still carries an R18 vibe, however, with a stock headlight in an RSD x BMW bezel and the instruments on an RSD x BMW gauge mount.

Eagle-eyed punters will have noticed that one of the stock switchblocks has been retained and mounted as part of the new front assembly. It’s joined by a Race Torx thumb brake that operates the rear and a Pingel electric shifter for rapid changes through the gears, meaning the rear foot pegs feature no controls at all. So, given that you’re practically lying down with your face over the engine and your feet reaching back, the seat had to serve a very practical purpose, as well as looking the business too. Wisely the peg mounts are numerous, allowing them to be solidly fixed, to suit a range of various riders.

For those not straddling the beast, she’s one hell of a bike to look at and Roland wanted to keep as much of the R18 aesthetic as possible. To achieve this, the rear fender is in fact still the factory steel, simply widened an insane amount to allow that huge tyre to fit within it. The original sketches hoped to achieve the same at the front, but practicality won out, with a carbon fibre racing fender getting the call up. But how about that fuel tank, an absolute work of art, with the underside completely modified to only allow fuel in one half of the tank. The other side now serves as the cubby hole for the Nitrous Express bottle.

This N₂O feeds a raging fire, with the 1800cc engine built up to deliver the goods when it comes time to hit the track. Just like the first Dragster, the crossover throttle body setup has been used once again, with the nitrous jets plumbed into the inlet runners. Noise is of no concern, and how about the boxer boom that is going to come bellowing out of those twin shorty exhausts, tapped for 02 sensors and then finishing in huge bellmouth outlets. The engine itself is given the full RSD machined cover treatment, and then that beautiful Daytona Orange inspired by the original R90S is laid down to perfection, with an innovative graphic. Expectations were high, but as always Roland delivers, and when it comes time to hit the track, there is no doubt this RSD x BMW is going straight to number one with a bullet.

[ RSD ]