BMW's motorcycle division has roped in a legendary custom bike artist who has built a reputation for himself modifying Harleys into bespoke pieces of art. Say hello to the R 18 B Heavy Duty, the latest offering from BMW Motorrad, a custom ride created with some extensive modification by Fred Kodlin. Kodlin, who has made a name for himself as one of the best bike customization artists in the world alongside his son Len, currently runs a company in his own name that is known for its impressive part manufacturing capabilities to deliver truly one-of-a-kind works.
In honor of his contribution to the motorcycle community, Kodlin was also inducted into the 2021 class of Sturgis Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame, becoming the first inductee who wasn't born in the United States. The BMW R 18 B Heavy Duty features some heavy customization work by the father-son Kodlin duo, which includes a completely reworked upper tube and fly line to lower the seat height. Kodlin also turned to glass fiber-reinforced plastic to make the accessories as well as the rear-end chassis, but the real show is the front and rear air suspension system that further lowers the bike's chassis when parked on its stand, all of which comes to life courtesy of hidden support points.
The side cases come equipped with Marshall speakers and a discrete amplifier, while the seat is also custom-made by Kodlin using a mix of premium Alcantara and imitation leather. Kodlin left the engine, reverse gear, and cruise control elements untouched, but had to work no less than three months crafting the sheet metal to create a modified look for the gas tank. And then there's the paint job, which is a stunning shade of teal blue complemented with flame-inspired tattoo spray-painting work across the fender, fuel tank, and side panels.
The R 18 B Heavy Duty, however, isn't the first custom ride from BMW Motorrad. In February, the company teamed up with VTR Motorrad AG & VTR Customs to create the BMW R 18 Iron Annie, inspired by the legendary triple-engine aircraft Junkers Ju 52 that was known for its signature grey-black contrasty look. This one had aircraft-inspired elements such as a speedometer made by watchmaker Zeitzone Zurich that was integrated into the gas tank and access panels hooked to quick-release fasteners.