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BMW Rolls Out Its New R 18 Cruiser


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The BMW R 18 Cruiser is here.  The German motorcycle manufacturer unveiled its latest creation in a 24 minute Livestream video.  It’s black, it’s swoopy and it has a big boxer engine between its frame rails.

While the video itself did not disclose much in the line of the machine’s specifications it did feature a storybook-like presentation of the machine and people involved in the development of the machine going for a ride in South Africa.

Here’s the rollout video if you care to view it:

BMW R 18 l The Reveal

The moment has finally arrived! We're proud to present to you the all-new BMW R 18! #MakeLifeARide #SoulFuel

Posted by BMW Motorrad on Friday, March 27, 2020

Revealed specs:

However, BMW Motorrad’s press kit provided some of the spec details that riders want to know.  BMW highlighted the following specs:

  • Biggest ever BMW boxer engine with a displacement of 1,802 cc.
  • 91 hp (67 kW) at 4 750 rpm, with maximum torque of 116 lb-ft (158 Nm) at 3 000 rpm.
  • More than 100 lb-ft (150 Nm) of torque available from 2 000 to 4 000 rpm.
  • Exposed drive-shaft based on the classic role model.
  • Elaborately crafted double-loop steel tube frame.
  • Rear swingarm with enclosed axle drive in rigid-frame design.
  • Telescopic fork with sleeves and cantilever suspension strut featuring travel-dependent damping.
  • 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 panel with integrated display.
  • Keyless ride with activation by remote control.
  • Three standard riding modes (, ASC and MSR.
  • Reverse assist for convenient maneuvering and Hill Start Control for easy hill starts as factory options.

R 5 heritage

BMW says that the R 18 borrows from the firm’s R 5 both technologically and visually.  They claim that the R 18 shifts the focus back onto motorcycle essentials; no-frills technology and the boxer engine as the bike’s centerpieces.

While the R 18 features a boxer engine, it is a new design that BMW calls the “Big Boxer”.  It’s their most powerful boxer engine since BMW Motorrad began production in 1923.

Cradling the “Big Boxer” is a double loop steel frame and rear swingarm with an enclosed axle drive giving a rigid frame look.  Similar to the R 5, the R 18’s swingarm surrounds the rear axle transmission in an “authentic” style using bolted connections.

Engine BMW R 18

The largest displacement BMW boxer twin engine resides in the R 18.


BMW says that it deliberately dispensed with electronic adjustment options.  Instead, they used a telescopic fork and a directly mounted central suspension strut with travel-dependent damping and adjustable spring preload .

The R 18’s fork uses 49mm tubes that provide 120mm of travel.  At the rear, 90mm of travel is available.  Up front, the machine’s braking duties are handled by a twin-disc setup, while the rear gets a single disc.  All are grasped by four-piston calipers.  Rounding out the R 18’s suspension components are wire-spoked wheels.

BMW R 18

Special seats like this one can provide that old “hardtail” look.

Mid-mounted footpegs offer a “laid-back” riding position.  The pegs lie behind the machine’s cylinders which BMW says enables a “relaxed and active riding position”.

Although BMW says that the R 18 has no-frills technology, technology does reside in the bike.  The R 18 features 3 riding modes which for some reason they’ve decided to call; “Rain”, “Roll” and “Rock” “so as to be able to adapt to individual rider preferences”.  OK, perhaps they mean the modes are set to provide rain, street, and sporting ride parameters.

Conversion friendly design

Knowing that the R 18 is designed for a market where riders like to customize their machines, BMW has been careful to make it easy for R 18 owners to do just that.  The R 18 has an easily removable rear frame and an easy to remove painted part set.

Ape Hangers BMW R 18

There are many different accessories for the R 18 like these ape hanger bars.

BMW says the attachment points for the brake and clutch hydraulic lines as well as the cable harness have been designed to allow easy installation of higher or lower handlebars in conjunction with matching hydraulic lines and cable harnesses.  Visible valve covers (cylinder head covers) and the belt cover (engine housing cover) have also been designed to ensure that they are located outside the oil chamber, making them very easy to change.

BMW accessories and Roland Sands Design custom parts

If you are into customizing your machine, BMW has made sure that there are plenty of custom parts available.  There is already a wide range of BMW Motorrad accessories to allow individual customization of the R 18.  In addition, BMW has partnered with Roland Sands Designs to bring a range of “machined” and 2-Tone-Black custom parts.

Instrument BMW R 18

A “classic” single instrument provides all the R 18’s data.

Other BMW customization partners

BMW’s customization plans called for partnerships with not only Roland Sands Designs, but also several other well-known accessory manufacturers.  US-based Mustang Seat will offer different versions of hand-made seats.  If you are looking for a different exhaust setup, BMW has partnered with Vance & Hines to add to your customizing potential.


The standard R 18 will be priced at $17,495.  The upgraded “First Edition model goes for $19,870.  Expect R 18s to arrive in the US sometime this summer.


The R 18 represents a fresh new cruiser design for BMW.  The concept models received significant acclaim in the cruiser community.  It will be interesting to see how the production version fares going forward.


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