Superbike collector brings in custom BMW R18 for fallen comrade

A fitting tribute
by Aris Ilagan | Oct 16, 2021
PHOTO: Anthony Roque

If you're already mesmerized by the BMW R18 ‘Spirit of Passion,’ wait until you read this.

Superbike collector and EuroMonkeys member Emil Banno flew to Germany and got himself a Kingston Custom modified cruiser, not only to add to his garage of exotic bikes, but also for a more meaningful reason.

“Tribute bike ng EuroMonkeys kay Gil, bro!" Banno told Top Bikes Philippines, referring to Gil Balderas, the former director of BMW Motorrad for SMC Asia Cars Distributors Corporation. Balderas, who passed away in June, was well-loved by local motorcycle enthusiasts for his professionalism, unparalleled modesty, and kindness when dealing with people.

EuroMonkeys  motorcycle group

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Banno shared that Balderas linked him up with Dirk Oehlerking of Kingston Custom to get his hands on one of only 18 customized R18s that exist in the world. His cruiser is marked No. 7.

In honor of their dear riding buddy, the EuroMonkeys—through Banno—have officially entered the custom bike into the Moto Builds Pilipinas 2021.

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According to motovlogger Zach Lucero, the modified cruiser is the most expensive entry in the competition, with a landed cost of around €80,000 (P4.8 million).

The BMW R18 First Edition is priced at P1.955 million in the Philippines. The old-school white pinstripes from the original R18 go well with the elegant black paintwork. Except for the huge front fairing, the rear fender with a fishtail, and the modified exhaust, Oehlerking left the R18 almost untouched to highlight the ‘Spirit of Passion’ motif.

Pretty sure Balderas is smiling down on Banno every time the latter rides his new bike.

Custom BMW R18

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Another look at the custom BMW R18

NOTE: This article first appeared on . Minor edits have been made.

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PHOTO: Anthony Roque
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