BMW’s Berlin bad boy ready to take on Harley

Riley Riley

BMW Motorrad has entered Harley territory with its first, cruiser-style motorcycle — the R 18.

Like no other BMW motorcycle before it, the R 18 pays homage to famous models such as the BMW R 5 — both technologically and visually.

It shifts the focus back onto the motorcycle essentials: purist, no-frills technology and the boxer engine as the epicenter of riding pleasure.

Simply put, the R 18 combines classic design with clear-cut, yet contemporary technology, to create a fascinating overall concept – offering a riding experience that is as cultivated as it is emotional.

The centerpiece of the new BMW R 18 is a newly-developed 2-cylinder boxer engine – the “Big Boxer”.

Both its impressive appearance and its technology reflect a continuation of the traditional air-cooled boxer engines that have offered an inspiring riding experience for more than seven decades, since BMW Motorrad began production in 1923.

The most powerful 2-cylinder boxer engine ever used in motorcycle series production has a displacement of 1802 cc.

It produces 67kW of power at 4750 rpm and 158Nm of torque at 3000 rpm, with more than 150Nm of torque available from 2000 to 4000 rpm — combined with a full, resonant sound.

The centerpiece of the suspension is a double-loop steel tube frame.

Its design perpetuates the longstanding BMW Motorrad tradition of this frame type.

Outstanding manufacturing quality and a meticulous attention to detail is also evident in unapparent features such as the welded joints between the steel tubes and the cast or forged parts.

Like the legendary BMW R 5, the rear swing arm – surrounds the rear axle transmission in authentic style by means of bolted connections.


The suspension deliberately dispenses with electronic adjustment options.

Instead, a telescopic fork and a directly mounted central suspension strut with travel-dependent damping and adjustable spring preload ensure superior wheel control and attractive suspension comfort.

As in the legendary BMW R 5, the tubes of the telescopic fork are encased in fork sleeves.

The fork tube diameter is 49mm, while the suspension travel is 120mm at the front and 90mm at the rear.

The new BMW R 18 braking system features twin discs in front and a single disc brake at the rear in conjunction with four-piston fixed calipers.

Meanwhile the wire-spoked wheels ensure a supremely stylish appearance.

In keeping with the BMW Motorrad philosophy, the new BMW R 18 features a laid-back positioning of the footrests – so-called “mid-mounted footpegs”.

This classic position behind the cylinders is not only typical of BMW, it also enables a relaxed and active riding position for optimum vehicle control.

The new R 18 also offers the three standard riding modes Rain, Roll and Rock that adapt to individual rider preferences.

The standard trim also includes ASC (Automatic Stability Control, disengageable), which ensures a high level of riding safety.

In addition, the new R 18 is equipped as standard with engine drag torque control (MSR).

Among other options, a reverse assist makes manoeuvring convenient, while the Hill Start Control function facilitates uphill starts.

Highlights of the new BMW R 18:

  • Iconic style blending modern technology with authentic materials.
  • Biggest ever BMW boxer engine with a capacity of 1802 cc.
  • Output 67kW at 4750 rpm, maximum torque 158Nm at 3000 rpm.
  • More than 150Nm available at all times from 2000 to 4000 rpm.
  • Exposed driveshaft based on the classic R 5 model.
  • Elaborately crafted double-loop steel tube frame.
  • Rear swing arm with enclosed axle drive in rigid-frame design.
  • Telescopic fork with sleeves and cantilever suspension strut featuring travel-dependent
  • damping.
  • Harmonious ergonomics for relaxed riding and optimum control.
  • Disc brakes front and rear, with wire-spoked wheels.
  • State-of-the-art LED lighting technology, classically interpreted.
  • Adaptive turning light for even better illumination of the road when cornering as a factory
  • option.
  • Classically designed circular instrument with integrated display.
  • Keyless Ride for convenient function activation by remote control.
  • Two standard riding modes, ASC and MSR.
  • Reverse assist for convenient manoeuvring and Hill Start Control for easy hill starts as factory options.
  • The R 18 First Edition: exclusive look in paint and chrome.
  • Extensive range of optional extras and Original BMW Motorrad Accessories as well as a cool Ride & Style Collection.


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