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Designer Roland Sands transforms the BMW R 18 into a dragster



Designer Roland Sands transforms the BMW R 18 into a dragster


With the R 18 in retro style BMW Motorrad has inaugurated the most powerful twin-cylinder engine that the German manufacturer has ever developed. The The impressive specifications of the “Big Boxer” (as this powerful cruiser motorbike is called) inspired the famous custom motorcycle designer Roland Sands who created a BMW R 18 Dragster.

“With an engine that is so visibly the focus, I immediately thought about muscle cars. My family has always been passionate about speed and my dad was a drag racer, so I thought it made sense to reduce the bike to the essentials and form. to go fast on a straight “, Sands said in a statement. He added that turning his sketches into reality was easier than it looks because BMW has given the R 18 a highly customizable design.

BMW R 18 Dragster, the walls are shaking

Appropriately called the R 18 Dragster, the unique two-wheeler retains the stock handle geometry of the base version, but gets a redesigned rear end. Sands and his team also modified the front and rear fenders to fit the modified chassis, they removed the rear suspension (drag racers don’t need it)installed a milled aluminum headlight frame, mounted a fork coming from the BMW R NineT and added a saddle built from scratch.

Sands noted that taking care of the onboard electronics was the hardest part of the project. Although the twin-cylinder “Boxer” remains standard, his team modified the intake and added nitrous oxide. “It was a bit of an experiment, but we did it,” Sands said proudly.

The footpegs have been completely moved back, attached under the rear wheel hub, forcing the rider to lie down on the bike to get the most aerodynamics. Finally, the design of the double swoopy silencer has been replaced with two stainless steel “megaphones”. In case someone thinks the Boxer doesn’t sound powerful enough, those new tailpipes have taken things to the next level, as you can “hear” in the presentation video.

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Performance data hasn’t been released yet, but it’s fast enough to warrant installing a braking system front from the BMW S 1000 RR superbike.

While it is not sure that the BMW R 18 Dragster will join the BMW range as a regular production model, illustrates what can be done when the bike ends up in the hands of skilled designers and builders. BMW introduced the R 18 in early 2020, so it’s still a relatively new model and we expect to see more versions in the coming months.