Custom Motorcycles: Paul Yaffe’s BMW R 18 Transcontinental Masterpiece Unveiled

Since 1991, Paul Yaffe has stood as a visionary in the US customizing scene, earning acclaim for his motorized masterpieces. Known not just as a builder but as a true designer, Yaffe has received numerous accolades, including three “World’s Most Beautiful Motorcycle” awards and induction into the Sturgis Hall of Fame. His latest creation, a unique customization of the BMW R 18 Transcontinental, demonstrates his continued excellence as a designer.

Unveiling the BMW R 18 Transcontinental Custom: A Fusion of Hot Rod and BMW Essence

Paul Yaffe’s latest project involves the transformation of the BMW R 18 Transcontinental into a one-of-a-kind masterpiece. This fusion of classic hot rod aesthetics with the distinctive BMW essence showcases Yaffe’s design prowess. The unveiling is set to take place at the MBE Show in Verona, Italy.

Preserving BMW Authenticity: A Ride Across the USA and Beyond

Before diving into the customization process, Yaffe took the BMW R 18 Transcontinental on a 3800-mile journey across the USA, followed by an additional 2600 miles to Sturgis and back. This hands-on approach allowed him to truly understand the bike’s dynamics and essence.

The customization process aimed to create a big wheel bagger like never before while preserving as many original BMW components as possible. Yaffe commissioned a 26” x 5.5” front wheel cut from a 400lb block of solid aluminum, emphasizing the need for authenticity. The frame underwent stretching and raking to accommodate the new front wheel, with special triple trees engineered for optimal handling.


Crafting the Classic Lead Sled Look: Unique Components and Modifications

Inspired by the iconic 50’s Mercury Lead Sled, Yaffe’s team crafted several one-of-a-kind components and modified existing R 18 elements. The steel front fender was handmade, and the original fairing was restructured to seamlessly flow into the new front wheel. A unique chin spoiler concealed the radiator, and exclusive Yaffe Monkey Bars complemented the overall design.

To retain the authenticity of BMW components, the team developed new ‘skins’ for the saddlebags, giving them a completely new stretched profile while preserving BMW’s engineering and functionality. The rear fender was extended to match the profile of the new saddlebags, creating a cohesive and aesthetically pleasing design.

Classic Lead Sled Aesthetic: Air Suspension and Side Pipes

Yaffe prioritized two crucial components for the classic Lead Sled aesthetic: air suspension and side pipes. A sophisticated air tank and distribution system were designed, along with a dedicated frame beneath each side of the saddlebags to accommodate essential components. The side pipe design retained the distinctive “BMW feel,” with the team removing catalytic converters from the head pipes and introducing a bespoke high-flow baffle system for optimal performance.

Cosmetic Perfection: Achieving the Classic Hot Rod Feel

Focusing on cosmetics, Yaffe aimed for a classic hot rod feel without distracting graphics, highlighting the bike’s elegant new stance and profile. Emphasizing simplicity and allure, the team perfected all fabricated body panels and achieved a glass-like finish. The timeless deep gloss black finish was complemented by a classic ochs blood red interior, creating a perfect balance. Upholstery and paintwork were entrusted to Guys Upholstery and painter Hector Martinez, respectively, resulting in a spectacular outcome.

In conclusion, Paul Yaffe’s BMW R 18 Transcontinental customization is a testament to his design expertise, seamlessly blending classic hot rod aesthetics with the iconic BMW essence. The meticulous preservation of BMW components, coupled with unique modifications and a focus on the classic Lead Sled look, makes this masterpiece a standout in the world of custom motorcycles. The unveiling at the MBE Show in Verona, Italy, promises to be a showcase of innovation and artistry in the realm of motorcycle customization.

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