BMW R18 Dragster Custom by Roland Sands…With NOS

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One of the motorcycle launches that was swallowed by the coronavirus outbreak was the debut of the BMW R18 – the german company’s giant air-cooled cruiser model.

There is a bit of irony in that fact, considering how long the German brand teased the bike in its near final form, only to see it production debut overshadowed by a global pandemic, but that’s the tough reality.

Hoping to get back some of that buzz now, BMW Motorrad commissioned Roland Sands to work on what’s being called the first custom version of the BMW R18 (though, we would argue that the countless prototypes and one-offs that debuted before the bike’s launch were likely “first” in this regard).

Roland Sands, in his usual American-go-fast sort of style, has made his machine a hardtail dragster, which is appropriately being called the BMW R18 Dragster.

Generally speaking, when setting out to make a drag bike, we wouldn’t start with a 90hp / 760 lbs machine like the R18 (even with the addition of the nitrous sprayer) – since performance isn’t really it’s main attribute, but that’s just us.

For Roland Sands, he likened the build to the old classic American muscle cars, with the engine exposed and the rumble from the large combustions chambers.

To our eyes though, the big air-cooled cruiser, with its massive wingspan from the cylinder heads, visually looks out of place on the race track, and though RSD has surely improved upon its performance figures, it’s still hard to get excited about the build. Maybe it’s just not our cup of tea.

Still, one cannot deny the fact that the R18 is perhaps one of the most interesting and important motorcycles to debut in 2020, even if its arrival has gone largely unnoticed by the motorcycling public.

We would be willing to bet that there are some eager eyes watching from Milwaukee, however.

Source: BMW Motorrad

Jensen Beeler

Despite his best efforts, Jensen is called one of the most influential bloggers in the motorcycle industry, and sometimes consults for motorcycle companies, whether they've solicited his expertise or not.