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Custom Eye Candy: Paul Yaffe’s “R 18 One Eight C”

BMW's Transcontinental Goes Hot Rod

A side view of a hot rod motorcycle and the custom builder.
Paul Yaffe with his custom BMW R-18 in a Phoenix, Arizona warehouse. Wednesday, December 27, 2023. Photography ©2023 Michael Lichter.
  • Paul Yaffe is the owner of three “World’s Most Beautiful Motorcycle” awards and the mastermind behind this one-off BMW R 18 Transcontinental
  • R 18 Transcontinental aesthetic is modded to “Hot Rod meets Lead Sled”
  • Yaffe’s final brainchild debuted at the Motorbike Expo in Verona, Italy

A guy named Paul Yaffe has taken a BMW R 18 Transcontinental and made it look fast, standing still.

According to BMW’s press release, Paul Yaffe’s project of “simplifying” a BMW R 18 Transcontinental into a Hot Rod with Lead Sled inspiration, the custom job began with a 3800-mile ride. 

Wouldn’t do to start building up a bike without getting a feel for the machine’s personality, Yeah? 

That ride must have done what it needed to because here is the final product:

The process of Building a BMW Hot Rod

According to the release, Yaffe created a 26” x 5.5” front wheel out of a 400lb block of aluminum for the rolling duties; the process involved a handmade 180mm front tire. 

Yaffe added the wheels to a stretched chassis, increasing rake angle and engineering special triple trees with a steel front fender to keep the project relevant. 

Restructured bodywork joined a new chin spoiler, while Monkey Bars (ape hangers) were added for the cool factor; the back end, meanwhile, saw Yaffe putting taillights into handmade filler panels, keeping space for the license plate. 

For the “Leda Sled” aesthetic, we’re told that the air suspension and side pipes were done up with a bit of frame that was installed underneath the bike’s saddlebags. 

Very neat.

A rider on a hot rod motorcycle.
A view of Paul Yaffe’s R 18 One Eight “C”. All media provided by BMW Motorrad.

Bringing it back to BMW

So how does this build keep true to that unforgettable Bavarian flavour? 

Yaffe says there’s still a bit of BMW essence in there, stowed in the side exhaust. Here’s an excerpt from the press release on everything that went into that special pipe component: 

“Retaining the classic Boxer head pipes was non-negotiable in Paul’s vision.

The catalytic converters were removed from the head pipes making way for a bespoke perforated high-flow baffle system. This innovation not only replaced the restrictive emissions system but also retained essential back pressure for optimal performance.

To further enhance the auditory experience a precision-crafted, 3-step muffler system was introduced for reversion.

The final touch was a wide-open megaphone, delivering that quintessential classic hot rod sound.”

BMW Motorrad
An aerial quarter view of a hot rod motorcycle.
A view of Paul Yaffe’s R 18 One Eight “C”. All media provided by BMW Motorrad.

What was the overall vision with this build?

Yaffe didn’t just want a Hot Rod; according to the release, he was keen on “simplicity and allure” – two terms that don’t always go hand in hand. 

The final decision? A glossy black married to a classic ochs blood red interior, which was matched to the front calipers.

“We went to work perfecting all the fabricated body panels and smoothing everything to a glass-like finish. The trick is not to overdo it!

We think it came out spectacular!”

– Paul Yaffe, custom motorcycle visionary (BMW)
A close-up of Paul Yaffe and a hot rod motorcycle.
A view of Paul Yaffe’s R 18 One Eight “C”. All media provided by BMW Motorrad.

When did BMW reveal their R 18 One Eight C?

Paul Yaffe’s build was showcased at the Motor Bike Expo (also called the MBE Show) in Verona, Italy, between January 19th and the 21st.

Do you like the look of Paul Yaffe’s R 18 One Eight C?

*All media provided by BMW*