• What would you rather have: a Harley CVO or This?

  • Ziller R18 Take one R18 and throw most of it away
  • Built or Kit If you already have an R18, you can order the kit and build this yourself.
  • Long and Low Full carbon-fibre panelling and air suspension
  • Attention To Detail
  • Cast Wheels There is so much to look at and it's as modern as the original was retro
  • Titanium Exhaust Not that you can really see it!

Radical BMW R18 Custom From Russia

LISTEN 02:57

The trouble with a production bike, even a limited-number production bike, is that you’re always in danger of seeing another one exactly the same. But how about if you take that production bike and do something completely different with it?

Ziller BMW R18

What would you rather have: a Harley CVO or This?
- image 1026298
Ziller R18
Take one R18 and throw most of it away

BMW is a strange company. On the one hand they produce bikes that they say are the best they could possibly be, because they designed and built it.

On the other hand, they actively encourage people to buy their motorbikes and customise them. The whole premise behind the RnineT was that it was the ultimate platform for personal expression and they’re doing it again with the R18 cruiser.

What would you rather have: a Harley CVO or This?
- image 1026295
Built or Kit
If you already have an R18, you can order the kit and build this yourself.

That’s where this brilliant vision comes in. BMW commissioned Russian workshop Zillers Garage to create something special on the R18 platform as part of its global customisation programme.

And create something special they certainly did. This is a work of art and it’s not certain how much of the original R18 remains, apart from the engine, of course. Not only that, but the work has been skilfully executed and it looks like a million dollars.

What would you rather have: a Harley CVO or This?
- image 1026297
Long and Low
Full carbon-fibre panelling and air suspension

Well, perhaps a little less than that: the kit to build your own will set you back $44,900 on top of the price of the donor R18. OK, so you have to have an R18 and that will set you back $17,500 but the cost of turning it into something special is the price of one of the higher-priced Harley Davidsons and there’s plenty of those around. I know which I would rather have.

The bike is distributed via NMoto and is limited to 13 units worldwide; two have already been built for customers, and another six have been ordered. You can either order the bike fully built or order the kit and have your local shop assemble it, if you don’t have the skills yourself.

What would you rather have: a Harley CVO or This?
- image 1026294
Attention To Detail

“The bike is available both as a complete turnkey or as a kit,” says Nmoto’s Vlad Klepach. “The client can just take their R18 and the kit to a local workshop, and they’ll take care of it. We provide assistance if needed, but there’s no rocket science here—the assembly is not too difficult.”

What would you rather have: a Harley CVO or This?
- image 1026293
Cast Wheels
There is so much to look at and it’s as modern as the original was retro

The biggest change is the adoption of air suspension and it is set off visually by the carbon fibre bodywork and forged wheels. Naturally, the exhaust system is completely custom (and made from titanium) and all lighting is custom LED units.

In fact, as I said, about the only thing carried over from the donor bike is the engine and frame.

What would you rather have: a Harley CVO or This?
- image 1026292
Titanium Exhaust
Not that you can really see it!

The R18 was already a good example of an off-the-shelf custom bike from a major manufacturer, even if it did tip its hat strongly to the past. The Ziller treatment brings the R18 right up to date and beyond: it’s not too hard a stretch of the imagination to visualise cruiser bikes of the future following this form.

Harry Fisher
Harry Fisher
Motorcycling Contributor
Born and raised in England, he has lived in South Africa with his family since 2002. Harry has owned examples of Triumph, Norton, BSA, MV Agusta, Honda, BMW, Ducati, Harley Davidson, Kawasaki and Moto Morini motorcycles. He regrets selling all of them.  Read full bio
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