Kingston Custom’s R 18 The Crown: A Revolutionary Take on BMW Motorrad’s Legacy

Handcrafted Innovation Celebrating BMW's Centenary

As I stand in the presence of this mechanical beast, I'm taken aback by the audacious innovation of its creator, Dirk Oehlerking of Kingston Custom. Here before me is the R 18 The Crown, a work of art and craftsmanship, as much an homage to the 100 years of BMW Motorrad as it is a testimony to the resilience of creativity.

Picture this – Oehlerking, like a seasoned craftsman, in his 100-year-old converted steel forge in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, tearing down a fresh BMW R18, only to rebuild it into something that transcends its original form. He's drawing from the industrial culture around him, the grit and grime of his environment translating into an intricate dance of hand-cut, bent, and shaped aluminum sheet metal.

This isn't just a motorcycle, it's a resurrection of the streamliner speed bikes from a time before war clouded our horizons, a nod to a time of pioneers and daring innovation. Its front suspension alone is a testament to Oehlerking's audacious creativity – a custom front swingarm replacing the traditional telescoping fork. The radical departure from the traditional design leaves you pleasantly puzzled, grappling to reconcile the familiar with the new.

And then there's the bodywork – the hand-formed aluminum sheet gleaming in Champagne Platinum, catching the light with a subtle mother-of-pearl effect. It's adorned with the BMW brand emblem, featuring a little crown – a delicate touch to a rugged machine. Each piece, from the 8-liter fuel tank to the rear mudguard and brackets from Wunderkind, every curve, every bend, is Oehlerking’s passion made manifest.

The R 18 The Crown is lighter, sleeker, a unique take on an age-old design. It measures just two inches longer and weighs 88 pounds less than a stock R 18, a feat of engineering in itself. The leather saddle, clutch and handbrake fittings from Magura, and the elegantly integrated headlight, instrument, switch units, and footrest system are small threads in a larger tapestry of mastery and dedication.

As it stands on display during the BMW Motorrad Days in Berlin, this motorbike becomes more than just a vehicle. It's a celebration of 100 years of BMW Motorrad, and a testament to the transformative power of a craftsman's touch. The R 18 The Crown is, indeed, a crown jewel. It's the past meeting the future, the old colliding with the new. It's an ode to the open road and the adventures that await us. It's a mechanical symphony that only a true connoisseur can appreciate. And for those of us who live for that raw connection between machine and man, it's nothing short of poetry in motion.


  1. Innovative Design: The R 18 The Crown’s unique front suspension with a custom front swingarm is a radical departure from traditional designs. It's a breath of fresh air in an industry that often treads the well-worn path.
  2. Craftsmanship: The handcrafted bodywork in aluminum sheet metal, the hand-cut and shaped 8-liter fuel tank, the two stainless steel exhaust manifolds – all reflect Oehlerking's craftsmanship and attention to detail.
  3. Lighter and Sleeker: Despite its impressive design alterations, this bike is 88 pounds lighter and just two inches longer than a stock R 18. This means improved maneuverability and a potentially smoother ride.
  4. Integrated Standard Components: The integration of the headlight, instrument, switch units, and footrest system into the design maintains the convenience and functionality of the original bike.


  1. Price and Availability: As a handcrafted, custom-made motorcycle, the R 18 The Crown likely comes with a hefty price tag. Its availability might also be limited, making it inaccessible for many motorcycle enthusiasts.
  2. Maintenance: Given the custom nature of the bike and its unique design features, maintenance and repair could be challenging and possibly more expensive than standard models. Finding replacement parts may also be difficult.
  3. Comfort: While the custom design and handcrafted components add aesthetic value, they may not offer the same level of comfort as the original design. For instance, the saddle, made from 2 mm thick aluminum sheet metal covered in genuine leather, may not be as comfortable for long rides as the stock model’s seat.
  4. Resale Value: Custom bikes like The Crown might not hold their resale value as well as standard models, especially if they cater to a niche market. Potential buyers might be hesitant to invest in a custom motorcycle that they cannot easily repair or find parts for.

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