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The R18 Magnifica is like no BMW motorbike you’ve ever seen before

Leave it to the Italians to create a crazy custom bike

Roll up to your Sunday ride with this and be met with tons of curious stares. PHOTO FROM BMW

The R18 is BMW’s version of a cruiser, designed to appeal to reborn bikers with healthy bank balances who think a Harley is a bit too cliché and an M1000 RR Competition is too fast. As a result, the stock machine is quite pleasing, but hardly daring in its design.

After all, what middle-aged lawyer/doctor/accountant wants to rock up outside the office looking like a living stereotype? Maybe that’s why Italian bike aficionados Raffaello Polchi and Andrea Radaelli chose this particular model for a radical makeover, the result of which is called the R18 Magnifica.

And magnificent it truly is. Gone are the tame Teutonic lines, replaced by custom craziness in its purest form.

This is a rideable work of art that you probably wouldn't want to ride at all. PHOTO FROM BMW

You have to hand it to the Italians. When it comes to design and making pretty things, they’ve got it down to a fine art. From clothing to cars, if it’s from Italy, it will likely look good. Unlike things from Germany. The Heimatland of Das Auto is better known for “form follows function” and relentless reliability than a desire to end up with a bella machina.

Enter custom motorcycle workshop founder and fancy cocktail bar owner Polchi and his co-conspirator Radaelli from bike customizer Radikal Chopper. The two just created a one-off artwork on two wheels that is bound to stop anyone who comes across it in his tracks.

The R18 Magnifica started life as a standard production model and was first stripped down to almost nothing. Then Radaelli sketched the new design by hand before rebuilding it using materials such as aluminum, brass and even wood.

When was the last time you saw wood on a bike? PHOTO FROM BMW

Almost every single new part was created by hand, and it truly shows. As the eye wanders across this spectacular creation, it gets caught on details like the specially made brake discs and calipers, or the new forks that look like they belong to a vintage bike. But the bike has modern parts on the inside to ensure a smooth ride.

The new wheels were machined from aluminum billets, and the seat is now a combination of mahogany wood and polished stainless steel. Underneath the Mad Max appearance is still good old Bavarian technology, and the makers promise that the bike will function normally, or even better than the original.

All of these new parts were made by hand. PHOTO FROM BMW

Thanks to the changes, it now weighs 100kg less than a stock R18, and the boxer engine with roughly 100hp should have little trouble with the new weight of around 150kg.

Now, the only question is: What would your colleagues say if you arrived to work on this thing?

Frank Schuengel

Frank is a German e-commerce executive who loves his wife, a Filipina, so much he decided to base himself in Manila. He has interesting thoughts on Philippine motoring. He writes the aptly named ‘Frankly’ column.