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Two Wheels Mar 14th 2023 at 11:11AM

BMW R18 B Heavy Duty is a head-turning, flat-twin-powered custom bike

It features an air suspension system

Released in 2020, the BMW R18 was welcomed as a blank canvas by companies that specialize in modifying motorcycles. Created by Fred Kodlin with the German firm's blessing, the latest R18 offshoot turns heads with an air suspension system and a tattoo-inspired paint job.

Kodlin started with the touring-focused R18 B model and enlisted the help of his son Len to turn it into a heavily-customized bike named R18 B Heavy Duty. Nearly every visual part has been modified: the father-and-son duo added parts like a chopped windshield sourced from the BMW Motorrad Accessories range, extended side cases made with fiberglass, and a rear fender that covers nearly the entire wheel. The fuel tank is custom-made, and it's longer than the stock part to complement the flowing lines. A splitter was added behind the front wheel.

German tattoo artist Marcel Sinnwell is responsible for the paint job. The colorful patterns are air-brushed, and the stripes are hand-painted.

Beyond the design, one of the most significant modifications made to this motorcycle is the addition of an air suspension system powered by a compressor hidden behind the left side case. It allows the ride height to be raised and lowered at the push of a button. In its down position, the Heavy Duty sits very close to the ground and stays up thanks to a pair of hidden support points integrated into the frame.

Kodlin didn't make any mechanical modifications to the R18 B, meaning power comes from a 1.8-liter air-cooled flat-twin called Big Boxer in BMW-speak and tuned to develop 91 horsepower and 116 pound-feet of torque. It exhales through a custom-made exhaust system, and it features a handful of visual modifications including metallic black paint on parts of the intake system, the belt cover, and the valve covers.

"The bolts [are] all made of stainless steel, with a nice Torx head. That’s not the way it is on other bikes. The basic bike and especially the engine are very, very cleanly finished. All the electrical cables are already nicely hidden, so we didn't have to do anything to the engine," he explained. This attention to detail partially explains why the R18 family of motorcycles has been remarkably popular on the custom scene.

We don't know if Kodlin will keep the R18 B Heavy Duty in the lineup or if this one-of-a-kind cruiser needs a new home.