Fred Kodlin is a well-known figure in the US customizing scene, having dedicated over four decades to customizing motorcycles. He has won various important Daytona shows regularly and was the first non-US citizen to be inducted into the Sturgis Hall of Fame. Together with his son Len, Fred Kodlin has taken on the challenge of customizing a BMW R 18 B for the first time, resulting in the R 18 B Heavy Duty.
The biggest challenge in customizing the R 18 B Heavy Duty was modifying the frame. The upper tubes were completely remanufactured to lower the fly-line and seat height of the bike, and the steering head and triple clamps were redone to ensure the bike rides well despite the changed steering angle. The result is a bike in typical Kodlin style, with a sharp drop in the fly-line to the rear, chopped windshield, and side cases made of glass fiber-reinforced plastic.
The R 18 B Heavy Duty also boasts an air suspension system at the front and rear, supported by a compressor placed barely visibly behind the left side case. This allows the bike to be lowered and raised in a fraction of a second, making it both useful and spectacular. The chassis can be lowered to rest on hidden support points for parking, letting the bike crouch just a few centimeters above the asphalt, waiting for the next ride.
The Kodlin team spent three months creating a completely new sheet metal tank that is longer than the original, flowing in shape, and with indentations on the sides. They also modified the connection of the tank and rear frame. The bike features a front spoiler including a 3-color underfloor lighting system, a front mudguard, and a rear mudguard made from two R 18 B rear mudguards joined together.
The R 18 B Heavy Duty also has side covers made of sheet metal that form a smooth transition to the side cases. Inside the side, cases are R 18 B loudspeakers by Marshall and an amplifier. The bike’s attention to detail is also evident in the aluminum milled hinge panels of the cases in the style of the original R 18 B components.
The winglets above the cylinders are another design element that underlines the bike’s design and makes it unmistakable when viewed from the front. The customizing job is rounded off by a seat made by Kodlin and an instrument cover with covers made of Alcantara and imitation leather, specially made handlebars, and a self-created exhaust system. The R 18 B Heavy Duty is a true masterpiece of motorcycle customization that showcases the Kodlin family’s creativity and attention to detail.