It is the story of how an R18 became an R51 from Tibor’s point of view and what happened in between. It seems to have been one of the most complicated cases in the customizer Sapka’s start-up phase.

For someone like me, who appreciates road bikes primarily for their classic look, the R18 was exciting because of its subtly modern updates. For example, the teardrop-shaped headlight is an elegant design that matches up nicely against the tapered fork.



You are probably asking yourselves right now, why this backwards-looking technophobe would get a modern naked bike? On its exterior, the answer is pretty obvious. 

The low-slung boxer engine makes the boxer-powered BMW R51 look like an adventure tourer or café racer. 

It’s because of the design that Tibor bought it in the first place. He wanted to upgrade his R18 with modern parts but ended up with a classic.

The R18 should become the modern variant of the historic R51. It should have modern parts to enable today’s standards but keep its vintage charm.


The first step was obviously to remove the plastic. Sapka pulled the front and rear fenders, and the rear section was rebuilt with a handcrafted mudguard and is very close to the original appearance. Further, he moved the saddle, and the suspension is now straight-ahead like with the R51. 

A luggage carrier with a handlebar grip type that reminiscence the R51 – the Denfeld single saddle – has been remounted on a specially crafted mudguard. 

The spring-loaded Denfeld single saddle at the original mounting points makes it possible to have a straight-ahead suspension as with the BMW R51.


The front further gets the shortened fork. We don’t see a change in the speedometer. Supported by grooved tires, however, there are new spoke rims.

If you’re the kind of rider who appreciates simplicity, this bike is for you. And, if you’re into customization and modification, then this bike is for you too. 

It looks like a classic, and it’s meant to be changed and adjusted so that it becomes your very own.

via Pipeburn  and Sapka Muvek
Photos by Peter Guld

4 1 vote
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments