The BMW R 18 motorcycle transformed into a superb unique piece by Radikal Chopper
Motorcycle manufacturers around the world continue to take turns putting their own personal touch on the BMW R 18 aluminum.
Andrea Radaelli of Milan-based Radikal Chopper created the Magnifica at the request of an Italian collector. Starting with the R 18, he drew inspiration from motorcycles and cars built from the 1920s to the 1940s. At the time, wood was commonly used; some vintage bicycles featured wooden grips, and many classic cars (including BMW models) featured a wooden-rimmed steering wheel. Radaelli expressed this by crafting the seat out of mahogany – which sounds downright uncomfortable until you realize there’s a padded leather cover.
The fork is constructed using billet parts, the entire fairing has been removed to provide a clear view of the air-cooled “Big Boxer” engine, the exhaust system has been redesigned and the fuel tank has a more slender shape. Vintage-looking trim and polished parts add a finishing touch to the overall look, creating a motorcycle that blurs the line between a work of art and a form of transportation.
While the term “unique” is regularly used and sometimes loses its meaning, the R 18 Magnifica is truly one of a kind. Almost all of the parts added during construction are handcrafted; the only exceptions are the wheels, which are machined from billet.
It doesn’t look like Radaelli made any mechanical changes, so power comes from a 1.8-liter air-cooled flat-twin engine rated at 90 horsepower and 111 pound-feet of torque. It spins the rear wheel via an open driveshaft, which is an interesting and unusual feature – most modern motorcycles are fitted with either a chain or a belt. BMW notes that Radaelli’s modifications reduce the R 18’s weight from 760 pounds to around 562.
Unveiled in June 2022 at the Top Marques show in Monaco, the Magnifica joins an impressive list of BMW-backed customs based on the R 18. Kingston Custom built the Spirit of Passion, which earns coins instead of losing them, Roland Sands transformed the R 18 into a dragster designed to go full throttle, and Japanese customizer Shinya Kimura gave the bike a new look that borders on steampunk territory. Not all tuners waited for BMW’s seal of approval to remodel the R 18 to their liking: Russian garage Zillers made it look like it came from outer space.