The BMW R 18 is undoubtedly an impressive motorcycle, but for a customer of BMW partner VTR Motorrad AG & VTR Customs from Schmerikon, Switzerland, it was to be something very special. Inspired by the legendary Junkers Ju 52 airplane from the 1930s, also known as the “IRON ANNIE,” he commissioned the company to create a version based on the BMW R 18.
Design and style
The result of the customizing project is the stunning BMW R 18 “IRON ANNIE.” VTR Customs incorporated aviation style elements into the design, such as the speedometer dial in the tank that is reminiscent of old cockpit instruments, access panels with quick-release fasteners, and the Ju 52’s signature aluminum planking. The seat is designed like a riding saddle and the color scheme of the paint in gray-black was taken from the “IRON ANNIE” Ju 52.
A BMW R 18 First Edition served as the basis for the customizing project. The cockpit fairing was pulled back as narrow and flat as possible to reflect the streamlined design of the aircraft. The fork, shortened by 7 cm, and the height-adjustable Wilbers shock absorber support the deeply crouched line. The large 18- and 21-inch wheels were made by Kineo to make the bike look smaller and more delicate between the wheels.
VTR Customs also used racing-style Magura pumps for the brake and clutch fittings. The dial of the customizing speedometer was also fitted with specially made hands from Uhrmacher Zeitzone Zurich. The replica “cooling fins” in the area of the rear silencers were shaped in parallel and beautiful radii and “harmoniously” fixed, which, however, turned out to be a challenge. The fuel tank, the tail with indicated vertical stabilizer of an airplane, the side panels as well as the cockpit canopy were hand-dented from aluminum sheet. The numerous lens head rivets are reminiscent of traditional metal aircraft construction.
VTR Customs removed the engine and painted it black to better blend it into the bike’s color scheme. The chrome fairing was painted black to stay true to the “IRON ANNIE” design. The standpipes were covered with a black DLC (Diamond Like Carbon) coating to enhance the look.
The result of the customizing project is an exceptional motorcycle that is guaranteed to turn heads. VTR Customs has put countless hours of work into this handmade customizing project and the result is exceptionally impressive. Although it is almost a sacrilege to paint the handmade bare aluminum sheets, the result is clearly convincing and sets the bike apart from the more famous SPITFIRE, another model that the company also built in aviation style.
The BMW R 18 “IRON ANNIE” gets road approval and will cause a few eyebrows in its new home on Lake Geneva. Committed to the customer promise, however, it remains a one-off.
Technical specifications of the BMW R 18 “IRON ANNIE” from VTR Customs:
- Base: BMW R 18 First Edition
- Sheet metal parts: Tank, rear, side panels, cockpit, fender – all made of aluminum, handmade by VTR Customs
- Fork: shortened by 7 cm and DLC-coated stanchions
- shock: Wilbers, height adjustable
- Wheels: Kineo front 3,5 × 21″, rear 6 × 18″
- Tires: Avon Cobra, 120/70-21 and 200/55-18
- Handlebar: ABM Vario Clip
- Speedometer: Zurich time zone, custom made
- Brake / clutch pump: Magura HC3
- Saddle: VTR Customs & Yves Knobel Saddlery
- Exhaust system: Rolling mill
- License plate holder: Berham Customs
- Indicator and tail lights: Kellermann Atto
- Headlights: HIGHSIDER
- Painting: VTR Customs & Freuler AG, Benken
The BMW R 18 “IRON ANNIE” from VTR Customs is an outstanding customizing project. It pays homage to the legendary Junkers Ju 52, which has found its place in aviation history. The incorporation of aviation style elements into the design of the motorcycle is a testament to the company’s attention to detail and craftsmanship. The motorcycle “IRON ANNIE” is sure to attract many eyes and remains unique.
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