Published on August 7th, 2020 | by Subhash Nair0
Roland Sands Reimagines the BMW R 18 as a Straight-Line Dragster
BMW Motorrad wanted to see what would happen if they gave their R 18 to someone outside the company with a lot of talent to reimagine. So they approached Roland Sands for the job. Roland Sands, is a championship-winning GP rider and motorcycle racer turned custom bike builder in the US.
He stripped down the R 18 and created a straight line dragster to create the R 18 Dragster. Here’s his process explained in the press release:
The technical design process used by Roland Sands.
Roland Sands always starts by sketching his ideas on paper. This allows him to figure out the basics of the shape and what the stance and the geometry of the bike could look like. “In the end, the real magic happens when we bring the sketch to life”, Roland explains.
More than any other motorcycle, the new R 18 offers a highly customizable design. It features an easily removable rear frame and a simple-to-dismantle painted parts set. This gives the customer a high degree of freedom for easily converting the rear end of the new R 18 to suit personal preferences. In addition you can also change the paint finish to suit your personal taste.
“The electronics were definitely the most difficult task we had to deal with as we put in nitrous oxide, stripped out the stock exhaust and changed the intake drastically. It was a bit of an experiment, but we dialed it in! The final product is impressive and characterised by a high level of craftsmanship, as can be expected from BMW Motorrad. Right from the beginning, I couldn’t wait to get customizing!” Roland points out.
For the the R 18 Dragster, the team around Roland Sands retained the stock neck geometry of the R 18, removed the bike’s rear end and turned it into a drag racer. Moreover, they chose to modify the front and rear fender to fit the modified frame. The whole customizing process took about three and a half months. The bike then headed to the workshop for final assembly and a day at a drag strip.
“Every bike needs different sources depending on the build, special materials or parts. Every new bike concept is a bit of a learning process even after having built over 200 bikes. We always want to understand the genre of the bike we are building in, it’s the key to keeping it authentic and functional,” explains Roland Sands.
Aside from the R 18 Dragster custom bike, Roland Sands also created two different design collections of milled aluminium parts for the launch of the R 18 Cruiser: “Machined” and “2-Tone-Black”. The “Machined” and “2-Tone-Black” ranges include front and rear wheels available in different dimensions than the standard sizes. In addition, the range of these exclusive milled parts includes speedometer housings, handlebar clamps, risers, handlebar grips, hand levers and mirrors as well as engine housing trim elements, filler caps, intake silencer covers and much more.
For the R 18 Dragster, Roland Sands used the milled parts design collection “2-Tone-Black” to customize levers, wheels, valve covers, breast plate, headlight and gauges. The front end was taken from the BMW R nineT. The seat as well as the exhaust were created from scratch.
The R 18 Dragster custom bike in detail
- The frame has been modified completely removing the rear suspension for drag racing.
- Front and rear fenders have been slightly modified utilizing the stock sheet metal parts in order to keep the classic R 18 silhouette.
- The headlight has been taken from the original R 18 and is highlighted with the headlight bezel from the design collection of milled aluminium parts.
- The standard exhaust has been replaced with a hand fabricated Stainless Steel twin megaphone system utilizing the exhaust tips from the milled aluminium parts.
- The hydraulic front brake and clutch master cylinders are from Roland Sands Design.
- The tank has been taken over from the original R 18.
- The paint finish is a two tone metallic blue with classic white BMW pin-stripes by Roland’s long time painter Chris Wood.
- The fork has been taken from the BMW R nineT.
- The front braking system has been taken from the BMW S 1000 RR superbike.
- The seat has been built from scratch and is a RSD custom seat by Saddlemen.