When BMW Motorrad UK approached Adam Kay of Untitled Motorcycles to ask if he would be interested in customising the R18 for Goodwood Festival of Speed, how could he say anything other than yes? Having started customising BMWs 11 years ago, he knows a thing or two about the R series and welcomed a new challenge.
Following a loan of the R18 from BMW Motorrad UK, Adam got the feel of the bike and had a little time to settle upon the inspiration for the build. Adam has always loved Bōsōzoku motorcycles, a Japanese subculture that draws style cues from a hybrid of British Café Racers and American Chopper builds. The outrageous designs, the vibrant colours, the crazy high fairings, and after wanting to build something along those ideas for a while now, the BMW R18 suited that style of custom.
A number of illustrations were commissioned to see what his idea would look like, and for BMW Motorrad UK to understand the concept more easily. There were a few different colour combinations until white, black and gold were settled upon. These colours seem to be a theme in Adam’s custom builds over the years and retain a classic look.
With a particular fairing type in mind for Adam, it became difficult to source due to the lengthy lead times and short deadline. By chance, the garage that Adam uses for MOTs had the perfect one hanging up on the walls of the shop. The owner used to race classic Hondas (when they weren’t classics!) and the CR750 fairing was purchased along with matching bubble screen.
At the workshop Adam now had to work out just how to fit the fairing, cut it, all while keeping the bike rideable. Plenty of metal tubing was cut, bent and welded together to make a solid structure. Adam finds cutting into a brand-new motorcycle frame one of the hardest parts of customisation, and in this instance, he didn’t need to. The R18 has a frame that is bolted together at the front down tubes allowing for the new bracket to then bolt in place.
But first, cutting the fairing was required, enough to show the centrepiece of the 1,800cc boxer-twin engine and importantly to make it look totally different from the original unit. With a requirement to show the BMW roundels on the tank, as well as have some interesting shape to it, this was finalised and fitted – allowing the seat unit to be made. With the top fairing dominating the front of the bike it looked a little out of balance, the high double chopper style seat realigned the balance perfectly.
To allow the fairing free movement when turning, the headlight needed to be lowered and brought forward, not something that was intended in the original designs, however it was another ingredient in making a totally unique R 18 Custom.
Once all the fabrication was completed, the next challenge Adam had to meet was paint and upholstery. Adam has used Glenn Moger and Image Custom Design for a long time now, both trusted to get the job done perfectly and on time, yet again providing superb quality on the quite unusual aspects of this R18.
When the paint and seat came back Adam and Hiroko put the parts on slowly and carefully throughout a whole day, ensuring a pristine finish for the bikes debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, among a full line-up of BMW R 18 Custom builds all entirely different.
Whether you love or hate the Bōsōzoku style, this BMW R18 really does make a statement and, as the saying goes, “go big or go home” – and there’s no denying Unititled Motorycles went big with this one.