The BMW R 18 is closely linked to the Motor Bike Expo (MBE) in Verona. In 2020, the Bavarians presented their R 18/2 concept to the world at the MBE event. Two years later, the R 18 is still a show highlight, with BMW showcasing two special custom versions of the big-bore cruiser from Italian custom shops American Dream and Garage 221.
BMW’s automotive division frequently releases high-performance models under the brand’s M badge. American Dream applies the same mantra to the cruising platform with the R 18 M. The shop credits initial design sketches to motorcycle design guru Oberdan Bezzi, and prototype and modeling specialists Elaboratorio built the fiberglass bikini fairing, fender and rear section.
The new body transforms the stripped bobber into a muscular power cruiser that is more reminiscent of Arch Motorcycle models. Of course, no M model is complete without the iconic tri-co badge, but American Dream splashes the color scheme on the white base paint. A custom exhaust system and Rizoma mirrors and indicators complete the build, achieving the refined finish typical of BMW’s M models.
However, Garage 221, another Italian customization shop, takes a much more traditional approach to its R 18 build. Instead of maximizing the cruiser’s performance, the team enhances the R 18’s touring prowess. may provide additional wind protection, but it also closely resembles Harley-Davidson’s Street Glide model.
Despite the modern convenience of a large front fascia, Garage 221 opts for a stripped-down bobber aesthetic for the rest of the build. From the strut-mounted trimmed fenders to the floating saddle taken from a 2005 BMW R 1200 C, the R 18 Aurora draws inspiration from multiple eras of cruiser lore.
“It was hard work, but the result is really surprising,” admitted Pier Francesco of Garage 221. all homogeneous.”
Garage 221 finished the build with a stunning candy apple red paint base with stripes and airbrushed detailing. A custom Leo Vince exhaust gives the R 18 even more growl and fully exposes the final-shaft drive. If the Garage 221 and American Dream customs teach us anything, it’s that the R 18 is a versatile platform.