There are only 18 of these bikes in the world and one is owned by a Filipino 2
BMW R18 Spirit of Passion by Kingston Custom. Photo from @kingstoncustom on Instagram

There are only 18 of these supremely sleek bikes in the world and one is owned by a Filipino collector

Before you dream of having one in your garage, you have to listen to Emil Banno’s story first
ANCX Staff | Aug 17 2021

If you’re the type who likes to drool over expensive bikes and dream about the kind of lifestyles bike collectors lead, count on Kim Atienza’s vlogs to indulge you on your cravings. A bike collector himself, Atienza knows exactly who owns the best rides in the country, and one of them is motorcycle enthusiast Emil Banno.

The Kuya Kim Atienza channel on YouTube has already featured Emil twice in the last eight months. In December, it featured his collection of rare and most expensive bikes. Parked in his garage is a range of Ducati Sport Classics, which sells for easily P1.5 million each. He has a Kawasaki Ninja H2R (“probably the fastest bike in the world,” according to Emil), which costs about P4 million. He also has a Honda RCV213V-S which is the one used by Marc Marquez, the most successful motorcycle racer of all time. If you’re thinking of snagging one, this could set you back P20 million. 

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Apart from all these, Emil, who is also the founder of Euro Monkey’s riding club, has one very special bike that was featured more recently in Kim’s vlog: a BMW R18 Spirit of Passion by Kingston Custom which the TV personality says is “the best-looking bike” he has seen in his life. There are only 18 of the kind in the world, by the way, and Banno just happens to own one. 

The sleek-looking Art Deco-inspired bike is the latest collaboration between Dirk Oehlerking’s Kingston Custom Bikes and BMW Motorrad. Dirk is one of Europe’s top custom motorcycle builders and is the founder and builder of Kingston Custom. 

Emil tells Kim he initially was not attracted to the BMW R18. “Kapag 80 years old na ako, at saka ko na sya bibilhin,” he recalls telling himself. But when he saw the BMW R18 built by Dirk, Emil knew he has to have it. To make that happen, he had to ask for the help of former BMW Motorrad director for SMC Asia Cars Distributors Corporation, the late Gil Balderas, to negotiate with Dirk so he could get a Spirit of Passion kit. 

According to Dirk, he put a lot of thought into the design of this bike. “I have a constant stream of images running past my mind’s eye when deciding what style to focus on.” The result? A  bike that actually looks like it belongs to a museum or an auction house—with its classic 1930s BMW roadster vibe, curvaceous bodywork, traditional black paint, and subtle white pinstriping.

It’s a fully functional, roadworthy motorcycle, only it will test your riding skill. “Sobrang ganda nya pero mahirap syang gamitin,” Emil admits to Kuya Kim in their interview. “Para siyang heels. Sexy lang sya, maganda, pero hindi kumportable.” 

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He further explains what he means. “Talagang sumasayad yan kaliwa’t kanan. Yung skills mo mate-test. Paano ka liliko ng sobrang bagal, sobrang bigat ng bike? Sobrang challenging siya, tinitiis ko na lang,” Emil tells Kim, smiling. No, you can’t bring it to your road trips, but it’s one eye-catching bike that’s perfect when you just want to look, you know, cool, sleek and angas while having coffee with your riding pals.

Dirk says the BMW R18 Spirit of Passion by Kingston Custom is one achievement he’s really proud of, surpassing even his two classic BMW boxers, the White and Black Phantoms. “This project is probably the most impressive of my entire career,” he says. “It means a lot to me.” As it does to Emil, we’re quite sure of that.