We knew BMW’s R18 big boxer was coming, but we didn’t know it was going to look this good.
BMW has been teasing us with concepts, custom house specials, and even the new engine itself, but the Bavarians have finally pulled the covers off the new R18 – the 1800cc big twin created to secure BMW a place in the cruiser market.
Visually, the new bike borrows from BMW’s past, and the R5 model in particular – this looks like a back to basics, no-nonsense, purist bike with that humongous boxer twin impossible to miss.
The Big Boxer
The centrepiece of the BMW R18 is a newly developed 2-cylinder boxer engine – the “Big Boxer”. It’s a clear nod to the traditional air-cooled boxer engines that have become synonymous with the marque since BMW Motorrad began production in 1923.
This is the most powerful 2-cylinder boxer engine ever used in motorcycle series production, and has a displacement of 1802cc. The claimed peak power figure is not sky-high at 67kW (91hp) at 4750 rpm, but from 2000 to 4000rpm, over 150Nm of torque is available at all times. To put that into perspective, the current R1250 GS with a 1254cc boxer engine boasts figures of 100kW/143Nm.
The new double-loop steel tube frame and the swingarm are both retro-styled to longstanding BMW tradition. The frame has both cast and forged parts welded together, and the swingarm surrounds the rear axle transmission by means of bolted connections.
Suspension duties are looked after by 49mm telescopic forks and a directly-mounted central suspension strut with travel-dependent damping and adjustable spring preload. The suspension travel is 120mm at the front and 90mm at the rear.
The braking system consists of a twin disc brake at the front and a single disc brake at the rear in conjunction with four-piston fixed callipers. The wheels are wire-spoked (19in front, 16in rear).
View from the rider’s seat
There are three standard riding modes: “Rain”, “Roll” and “Rock”. ASC (Automatic Stability Control, disengageable) and engine drag torque control (MSR) are also standard equipment. Optional extras include a reverse assist and Hill Start Control.
The rigid-frame look, the pear-drop tank, the open-running driveshaft, double-sided swingarm and the pinstriped paintwork (ex factory option) are all nods to the R5 boxer dating back to 1936.
There will be an exclusive R18 First Edition right from launch, with pinstriped paintwork, chrome surfaces, a seat badge and a “First Edition” chrome clasp on the side covers.
The R18 has been designed for easy customisation with features such as an easily removable rear frame and painted part set, attachment points for the hydraulic lines, and the cylinder head covers and the engine housing cover which are located outside the oil chamber, making them very easy to change.
For the accessories and customising programme of the R18, BMW Motorrad is collaborating with Roland Sands Design, Mustang Seat and Vance & Hines among others.
Prices start from £18,995 and you can place a deposit through the BMW website now.
Specification: BMW R18
Price: From £18,995
Engine: 1802cc air/oil cooled boxer twin
Power: 67kW (90bhp) @ 4750rpm
Torque: 117lb-ft (158Nm) @ 3000rpm
Transmission: 6-speed, shaft drive
Seat height: 690mm
Weight: 345kg (fully fuelled)
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