The BMW R 18 is without doubt one of the most eagerly anticipated bikes ever to come from BMW Motorrad. With the official unveiling set to take place on Friday 3rd April, we’ve reviewed some of the key things we know so far about this all-new model. You can watch the reveal live on Social Media on Friday to ensure you’re amongst the first to see the production version!
1. Custom Influence
We first saw that BMW was up to something at the end of 2018 when two world-renowned custom bike builders unveiled creations that featured a prototype BMW Motorrad boxer engine. CUSTOM WORKS ZON’s bike named 'Departed' featured ZON's distinctive style; classic styling, modern production techniques and a wealth of craftsmanship – all produced to the very highest Japanese quality standards. 'The Revival Birdcage', built by Revival Cycles, featured a stunning exposed frame made entirely from titanium; designed to showcase the boxer engine in all its glory.
The Revival Birdcage
2. From Concept to Reality
We initially saw BMW Motorrad’s official take on the BMW R 18 in May 2019, when the first concept iteration was unveiled at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este event on the shores of Lake Como. It immediately captured the hearts of visitors and viewers online, as it was such a beautiful concept and clear that BMW Motorrad was looking to expand into a different market.
November 2019 then saw the unveiling of the BMW R 18/2 Concept. A concept that kept all the stunning features we’d seen on the original bike, but refining them to into a more production ready prototype. This version had a new wheel design; 19in at the front and 16in at the rear to create the iconic dragster look. The candy red paint scheme from the fairing to the tailpiece made this version look radically different to the more traditional black and chrome of the original.
BMW R 18
BMW R 18/2
3. The ‘Big Boxer’ Engine
At the heart of the R 18 will be the air/oil cooled ‘Big Boxer’. It is the highest-capacity twin-cylinder boxer engine ever used in motorcycle series production. The 1,802 cc unit, produces 91 hp at 4,750 rpm, with the max torque figure of 158 Nm available at 3,000 rpm. What is most impressive, is that more than 150 Nm is available from 2,000 to 4,000 rpm, ensuring enormous pulling power through its shaft-drive.
4. The Unique Shaft-drive
The iconic BMW boxer engine and shaft-drive powertrain layout was first seen in the 1923 BMW R 32, and have both been an integral part of BMW motorcycle design ever since. As with all bikes in the Heritage range, the R 18 will use the shaft-drive layout, but one that is fully exposed.
5. Reverse Gear
The torquey Big Boxer engine is mated to a six-speed gearbox for effortless cruising. But to make riding even more effortless, there will be an optional reverse gear that uses the starter motor to help you paddle the bike backwards from standstill. Perfect for those tight driveways or café parking spots!
6. A range of models
We’ll have to wait for the official unveiling to find out what model variants will make up the R 18 range. From testing images, we can see there’s most likely to be two models which include the ‘bobber’ style which is a traditional naked cruiser, and the other ‘bagger’ style which features fixed luggage and large front fairing. There’s also signs of a more trimmed back version of the R 18 at a lower price point. From spy shots, we can see a taller more touring style front screen, single clock and smaller 16” front wheel with fatter tyre. Fingers crossed BMW Motorrad unveil all models during the launch event!
Official pricing for the R 18 will be confirmed shortly after the official unveiling on Friday. If you can’t wait until then, you can place a deposit for the bike right now to ensure you’re one of the very first to get it out on the open road!
If you'd like any further information about the R 18, then please speak to one of the Sales Team in Bristol by enquiring online today.