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BMW R18 Classic: A German take on the bagger formula

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When BMW had its full factory reveal for the R18 cruiser a few weeks back, the company’s insiders hinted strongly that we’d see follow-up models based on the platform—and spy shots backed that up. Now, BMW’s just taken the wraps off the R18 Classic, built along the same lines as the standard R18, but set up for laid-back touring.

The R18 Classic uses the same basic layout as the R18. It has the same air/oil-cooled flat twin engine, with 1800cc capacity. It makes roughly 91 horsepower, and 116 pound-feet of torque. The frame is the same (BMW’s bigwigs hinted at the R18 frame’s capacity for adding on a touring package, a few weeks back). It’s got that classic softail look, with the rear shock hidden away. Overall, the bike’s relation to the standard R18 is obvious.

There are many add-ons and small changes, though. The Classic comes with floorboards, a windshield, and LED running lamps. There’s a set of semi-soft saddlebags with 15.5-litre capacity per side (use the removable liners, and that’s 10-litre capacity). BMW wisely included cruise control as standard, because who’d want a touring bike without it? Same goes for the passenger seat: This bike is set up to take a pillion in relative comfort, unlike the standard R18 model.

Wet weight is 365 kilograms, a whopping 20-kg bump over the already-heavy R18 model.


Photo: BMW

The electronics package seems to be the same as the standard R18, with a selection of riding mode, traction control, ABS and even adjustable engine braking (something you’re more likely to see at the track, you’d think!). The R18 Classic comes with a three-year warranty, so you should be good for a few rides to Bike Week before you’ve got to worry about breakdowns, we’d hope.

For some reason BMW put a 16-inch front wheel on this bike; a 19-incher is standard on the regular R18. You can opt for a larger front wheel through BMW’s accessory program, though, as well as added electronics, more luggage, new windscreens, flashy billet parts and lots more. That’s where the money is these days, for many manufacturers!

At time of writing, the R18 Classic is listed at $19,495 on BMW’s US website; on the Canadian website, pricing starts at $24,200 CAD.

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