"This won’t be just any old, stunning PR bike. It will be one with a soul, a spirit.” In just a few words Dirk Oehlerking makes clear what he – and his modified R 18 – stand for. Kingston Custom bikes are always something very special. They have names such as White Phantom or Good Ghost. And that’s not the only reason they put the fear of God into some and make the hair on enthusiasts’ necks stand on end. Even Dirk himself is gripped by total passion each time he does as much as think about his projects. However, there was something else involved in the R 18 “mega project”: a responsibility like never before.
Spirit of Passion
Art of motorcycle. BMW Kingston Air Stream Roadster limited edition.
The inside must be brought to the outside
It quickly becomes clear what Dirk plans to do with this responsibility: first of all he disassembled his R 18 into individual parts. This was the only way of breaking through to its soul and feeling what the creators of the R 18 have accomplished. The first impression is quickly confirmed: “a crazy bike, absolutely perfect, everything just comes together nicely.” This respect multiplied with every screw that was loosened. What can even be modified on this bike? The quality of the materials as well as the workmanship and coherent, overall concept fascinated Dirk time and again. He sums up his respect for the R 18 and its designers with admiration: the individual parts lay out in front of him – “so few parts and so much motorcycle.”
I take the bike to bed with me.”
A plethora of thoughts raced through Dirk’s head at the beginning of the project. However, he knew that he would get to the point where he would “…find himself in the bike, the point where passion and lifeblood produce a good result.” During the process, his R 18 even followed him into his dreams. And he did what he could to make his dreams a reality. The aim: genuine Kingston Custom, genuine everyday suitability. He would frequently get up in the middle of the night, grab a pen and draw designs. This was paired with his unshakeable belief in his own methods and his experience. After all, “…customisers don’t age, they just get better.” That’s how the bike ultimately came together in his head, though elements were naturally being revised up until the very last minute. Dirk always puts it nicely, saying that “it’s a lot of work, but it’s not work at all.”
The bike in detail
The frame as well as front and rear-wheel guides remain as they were on the original.
It was very clear that “the outlines come before the paintwork.” With the Spirit of Passion, the paintwork distinctly highlights the outlines. And yet it remains a fully-fledged original: totally traditional, black with white double lines – as defined by the unchanged fuel tank.
“Simply put: the handlebars are ultimately just a piece of bent pipe.” Reading this sentence, you already get a hint of just how much work went into the overall conversion.
Unmistakably Kingston Custom: the rear-wheel cover envelops the rear wheel by 310 degrees. The homogeneous overall look of the Spirit of Passion is completed by its design and paintwork.
The Kellermann micro turn indicators are no larger than a thumbnail and have been perfectly integrated into the bike’s line. The headlight has not simply been attached to the bike; it has been integrated into the trim panel.
Traditional and round in shape, the small rear light is positioned in the extravagant fin, forming the stylish rear end of the Spirit of Passion.
Hands off, but get to work
Dirk considers many elements on the R 18 so consistent and sophisticated that it “would have been a shame to even think about working on them.” For this reason, breaking down the entire bike to a minimum and stripping it to the “big boxer” engine was always out of the question. However, making this comprehensive work of art even more beautiful and highlighting its soul was an alluring proposition. One of his favourite decades provided the inspiration: the radiator grille of a 1930s BMW roadster served as a model for the impressive trim panel. The hand-built part emphasizes and enhances the outline of the R 18, fitting on the machine perfectly with a mere 15 cm of ground clearance. As if it had never been any different.
The trim panel fits around the fuel tank with a gap of just 8 mm. Its traditional colour scheme featuring the iconic double lines thus continues virtually seamlessly on the impressive, hand-built component. It goes without saying that the paintwork also decorates the rear-wheel cover, which covers an incredible 310 degrees and perfectly extends the front-end design. A hinge mechanism makes it possible to change the wheel on this bike. Precisely positioned openings give a view of the disc brake and drive system. It also becomes obvious here what makes the soul of the Spirit of Passion: it approaches the design of the R 18 with utmost respect while simultaneously becoming a true masterpiece itself.
The vehicles shown may be modified and equipped with third-party accessories and/or proprietary parts that are neither manufactured, distributed nor tested by BMW. BMW assumes no liability for the modifications (including the installation, characteristics and use of the accessories shown). CAUTION: Modification of production vehicles (including the installation and use of third-party and proprietary parts) may impair driving characteristics! Driving our vehicles in modified condition is at your own risk.