This year marks the 100th founding anniversary of BMW Motorrad. In addition to organising one of the biggest BMW Motorrad Days ever, the German motorcycle manufacturer wants to highlight the occasion by celebrating custom bike builds and with the launch of BMW Motorrad Welt – a new brand experience venue in Berlin. The centenary custom bike builds comprise a special one-off build called The Crown and an international Customizing Championship.
This year’s BMW Motorrad Days was held between July 7 and 9, with a focus on the brand’s achievements in the past 100 years. According to the event organisers, around 37,000 visitors from some 60 countries attended the event. It offered a broad spectrum of activities spread over five locations in Berlin. These included various entertainment, brand experiences, musical events and the display of custom bikes at the Heritage Area.
It was at the latter venue that The Crown was unveiled to the public. This one-off based on the R 18 big boxer, was custom built to mark 100 years of BMW Motorrad by Dirk Oehlerking and his team at Kingston Custom. “It is the essence of my creations to date,” says Oehlerking, whose passion and creativity has always been for individual and unusual motorcycles for the past 30 years.
The Ruhr region, his home, and its proximity to industry and related crafts nurtured his love for industrial culture as well as providing him with a great network of skilled professionals. The well-known customizer recently caused quite a buzz with his R 18 Spirit of Passion – a breathtaking creation in streamlined style. For The Crown, “I started with a new BMW R18 which I then stripped down,” says Oehlerking while describing his design approach. “As always, I worked with hard foam and cardboard to create the shape, the lines and the design. The aim was for it to look powerful, elegant and fast combined with an innovative look.
The design made it necessary for a completely new front wheel suspension to be constructed in the form of a double-sided swinging arm with a central suspension strut. The 8-litre fuel tank and the body parts were made of 2 mm thick aluminium sheet metal, which was cut, bent and driven by hand.
While the engine and rear suspension are the same as in the original, the two stainless steel exhaust manifolds are completely made by hand. The clutch and handbrake fittings are from Magura. The rear mudguard and brackets are from Wunderkind. The saddle is made from 2 mm thick aluminium sheet metal and covered with genuine leather. Numerous standard components such as the headlight, instrument, switch units and footrest system have been integrated into the design.
Oehlerking gave The Crown a Champagne Platinum paint finish with mother-of-pearl highlights. The BMW brand emblem is adorned with a small crown, both in gold monochrome.
The BMW R18 offers contemporary technology with a sleek, streamlined design that strikes a balance between form and function. More importantly, the R 18 family offer a very conversion-friendly architecture. This was a key element when the basic design of the R 18 series was originally conceived. As a result, since its launch in 2020, the R 18 has been a favourite among bike customisation specialists all over the world.
The BMW Motorrad Customizing Championship, currently underway, is intended to give due recognition to the outstanding creativity and craft relating to the BMW R 18. This competition is an initiative of the BMW Motorrad global dealer network, with 150 dealers from 18 countries participating. Four models of the BMW Motorrad R 18 series can be used by the customizers – the R 18, R 18 Classic, R 18 B, and R 18 Transcontinental.
The Customizing Championship is a way for dealers and enthusiasts to show creativity in a freestyle format. In other words, participants have the option to customise their motorcycles using their own unique designs and parts, or to make use of the extensive range of parts and accessories offered by BMW Motorrad.
The two best custom motorcycles from each participating country were selected at the National Championships, held between May and July. These were then eligible to participate in the international semi-finals held in July and August. From the semi-final, six motorcycles will be selected by a jury of experts and one by means of a public vote for the grand world final. The winners of the competition will receive a range of exciting prizes, including the opportunity to showcase their custom motorcycles at major motorcycle events around the world.
The final will take place on September 29, as part of the opening ceremony of BMW Motorrad Welt – the new brand experience venue located on the grounds of BMW Motorrad’s Berlin-Spandau plant.
“With BMW Motorrad Welt, we are giving our brand a home directly where our motorcycles are manufactured in Berlin,” says Dr Markus Schramm, Head of BMW Motorrad, while summarising some of the cornerstones of the new venue. “On an area covering around 1,000 square metres, we are creating a full-scale brand experience that connects BMW Motorrad with its community, the public and employees in a highly emotional, authentic and lively way.
“Experiences range from the interactive presentation of current BMW Motorrad products, exciting plant tours and unique gastronomy to events as well as external and internal booking options. BMW Motorrad Welt offers a unique and fascinating platform for an emotional get-together on everything BMW Motorrad.”