BMW R 18 “The Wal ‘, is the latest creation by Japanese customizer Shinya Kimura. After Roland Sands and Dirk Oehlerking, this is the third “custom” bike that transforms the R 18 into an extraordinarily unique specimen for the so-called “SoulFuel” series, a collaboration between BMW Motorrad and selected customisers.
Shinya Kimura costruisce la BMW R 18 “The Wal”
Until recently, Shinya Kimura worked mostly on older motorcycles, but the Japanese custom bike builder is also increasingly focusing on modern bike designs, like this “The Wal”. “The base is the R 18, powered by the last and biggest boxer engine I’ve ever worked on,” Kimura spies.
It all started with a visit to the development team of BMW R 18 motorcycle in Germania. In February 2021, Kimura rode a few hundred miles in a standard R 18 in California to learn more about the character of the bike. “After a series of conversations, this ultimately led to my own interpretation of the R 18, in which I applied the full range of my activities as a customizer,” says Shinya Kimura retracing the initial phase of the “The Wal” project. Kimura started construction in mid-February and ‘The Wal’ was finished in all its details at the end of June.
But there were still some mechanical problems that kept me busy for another two weeks “, continues Kimura. “I built the R 18 all for myself. Riding the stock R 18, I thought maybe it would suit my build and riding preferences if I had the slightly more forward-facing riding position with a fairing. I decided to keep the frame, wheels and tires, as well as the suspension elements and brakes because I didn’t feel the need to replace them after riding the bike. I also wanted to be able to travel long distances with my R 18. It was very important for me to keep the two characters of the R 18 as I experienced them while driving. Thanks to its powerful power source, the BMW R 18 is wild and has almost inexhaustible power ”.
Specifically, the Japanese customer has made the following changes to the basic R18:
- Handlebar: 8 inches narrower, 6 inches lower.
- Fuel tank: stretched to move the seating position backwards and get about 4 liters of additional fuel for longer journeys.
- Saddle cushion designed by Kimura herself, handcrafted by BACKDROP Leathers in Japan in a bucket style for added buttock support.
- Saddle designed in such a way that there is a natural flow from the seat cushion, everything flows to the round rear light.
- Semi-shell hull for comfortable use at high speeds.
- The side covers are designed in such a way that they do not affect the appearance of the original frame.
- Special lacquer finish in the form of a bronze powder coating, after the components have been pre-hammered to give structure to the surface.
- Stock exhaust painted black.
“What I like most about my version of the R 18 is that I was able to change the style and seating position to my liking without losing sight of the original excellent functionality of the R 18. But the seating position is changed drastically and I applied my style and taste. Also, all these automated systems and wiring were quite new to me and I learned a lot “, Kimura says satisfied with his creation.