Defined strength in a straight line
Roland Sands is known for his daring designs with sports racing influences. He combines styles and knows no limits. When modifying the R 18, he draws inspiration from his father’s drag racing days: He reduces the mighty cruiser to the essentials and gears it up for maximum speed on straight roads. The result is a straight-line dragster with an iconic boxer engine – the R 18 Dragster.
R 18 Dragster
Roland Sands Design (RSD)
Design that pushes boundaries
Design that pushes boundaries
Roland Sands is known for combining styles and creating new genres. It always starts with a sketch. He bases it on the basic shape of the motorcycle and examines the possibilities of bike geometry. "The real magic happens at the end when we bring the sketches to life," says the designer. Every new custom bike is a learning process – even after more than 200 modified bikes. "We want to understand the genre in which we work every time anew. For us, that’s the key to making the result authentic and functional," he explains.
Roland Sands Design
"My father was a dragster racer," says Roland Sands. He grew up surrounded by unique bikes – and later rode in races himself for 10 years. That inspired him to "reduce the bike to the essentials, to shape it to go fast on straight roads." The goal was a straight-line dragster with the muscular Big Boxer as its distinctive centrepiece. To achieve this, Roland Sands and his team took the R 18 completely apart and gave the bike an entirely new shape. The result: the R 18 Dragster.
The bike in detail
Removing the suspension and approx. 25 kg weight from the frame and swinging arm results in an overall stiffening of the machine and lower frame position.
Standard body with modified front and rear wheel covers, front part of the Superbike S 1000 RR, seat specially made for the bike, brake and clutch levers from the BMW x RSD series, wheels, cylinder head covers, breastplate, headlights and displays.
Original R 18 upside-down suspension with 19 x 3 inch BMW x Roland Sands rim in black and custom-made Dunlop Slick.
Weight-reduced rear wheel swinging arm with black 17 x 6 inch BMW x Roland Sands rim and square motorcycle drag race Slick tyre for an aggressive, classic drag racing look.
Special design with stainless steel pipes in combination with slightly adapted BMW x RSD end caps for increased exhaust gas flow.
Classic BMW blue in two shades with true-to-original lines.
Classic Cruiser at top speed
Roland Sands and his team removed the suspension and about 23 kg weight from the frame and rear wheel swinging arm. This lowered the bike and gave it the stiff shape of a dragster designed for maximum speed. The original length of the bike with the classic cruiser line from the extended front to the rear wheel has been kept. The front comes from the BMW Superbike S 1000 RR – giving the bike a sporty, distinctive look.
"The most difficult part was definitely the electronics. Adding nitrous oxide injection, removing the stock exhaust and drastically changing the intake was a big experiment. But we dialled it out," says Sands.
After three months of work, the mighty R 18 Dragster was finally allowed to hit the track – and show what the powerful big boxer had to offer.