Paul Yaffe is one of the best-known customizers in the world. He’s been awarded recognitions such as three “World’s Most Beautiful Motorcycle” awards from the Oakland Roadster Show and two “Builder of Year” and three “Trendsetter of the Year” awards from Easyriders Magazine.
Known worldwide for creating custom V-Twins, Yaffe and his Bagger Nation team have now turned out something quite different: the BMW R 18 One Eight “C”. This custom bagger is built from a BMW R 18 Transcontinental and has a graceful flowing design with some hot-rod appeal.
The BMW R 18 Transcontinental was introduced in 2022 as a luxury-touring version of the company’s R 18 cruiser platform. It features the 1,802cc “Big Boxer” opposed-Twin as found in other R 18 iterations, and it comes with a handlebar-mounted fairing, locking hard saddlebags, and a top trunk with integrated passenger backrest – everything needed for racking up miles on cross-country trips.
Yaffe rode the BMW more than 6,000 miles before getting started with this project, creating a big-wheel bagger using as many BMW parts as possible. The eye-catching 26 x 5.5-inch front wheel was cut from solid aluminum, and the 180mm front tire was made specifically for this application. To accommodate the large front wheel, the frame was stretched and raked.
The R 18’s batwing-style fairing was cut into several pieces and refabricated into a custom shape, and the steel front fender was made from scratch. The bike also features a chin spoiler that conceals the radiator and closes the gap between the fairing and the fuel tank. Also included is a set of Yaffe Monkey Bars.
In keeping with Yaffe’s goal to keep as many BMW components on the bike as possible, his team retained the saddlebag lids, latches, and speakers but fabricated a new set of “skins” that create a stretched look. The team also extended the original rear fender by cutting up a second R 18 fender.
Yaffe kept the original R 18 taillights and fitted them into handmade filler panels. He also included a spot for a license plate within the fender and stretched the side covers so they flow toward the saddlebags for a cleaner appearance.
Yaffe incorporated an air-ride suspension system so the bike could sit as low as possible. A bracket under the saddlebags accommodates a Yaffe-designed air tank and distribution system. The header pipes of the exhaust system retain the look of classic Boxers but exit into a wide-open megaphone for a classic hot-rod attitude.
The focus on the bike’s cosmetics was centered on elegance and simplicity. “We went to work perfecting all the fabricated body panels and smoothing everything to a glass-like finish,” said the Bagger Nation team. Painter Hector Martinez applied the gloss black paint and matched the color of the brake calipers to the oxblood red saddle re-covered by Guys Upholstery.