BMW And Japan’s Custom Works Zon Collaborate On R18 Bike With Mystery Boxer Engine

BMW has found an interesting and very attractive way to tease its newest motorcycle engine.

The company handed over a completely new boxer power plant to Japanese motorcycle customizing specialist Custom Works Zon and let them build a bike around it. Not much is known about the engine other than the fact that it features a push-rod design. The external geometry and chrome-plated protection ducts recall BMW Motorrad boxer engines made until the late 1960s.

However, the new engine features modern air and oil cooling systems, as well as a bigger displacement than BMW’s classic bikes. Given that the concept is called R18, the engine might be a 1.8-liter unit.

According to BMW, “further details about the engine and its possible future use will be communicated at a later point in time.” While nothing is confirmed, a boxer engine would suit a BMW cruiser perfectly. Rumors about a rival for the Ducati Diavel have been circulating for quite a while, and they have been fueled by the fact that BMW Motorrad builds all types of motorcycles except a cruiser.

The custom bike combines classic styling, modern production techniques, and painstaking craftsmanship. The very low silhouette of the R18 harkens back to Ernst Henne’s record-breaking machines of the late 1920s and 1930s.

Equally striking is the size of the wheels — 21 inches at the front and 26 inches at the rear. Both are milled of aluminum and shod with relatively narrow tires. Also made of solid aluminum is the girder fork, while the rear swinging arm is built of steel pipe and attached to the tubular space frame via a concealed suspension.

The big boxer engine is suspended in the frame structure reinforced with grid tubes. Finally, the fuel tank, seat unit, and front trim are handcrafted from sheet metal.

The custom bike won the “Best of Show Motorcycle” award earlier this month at the 2018 Hot Rod Custom Show in Yokohama, Japan.

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