BMW have revisited their archives by annoucing a new R 18 Cruiser Motorcycle!
It appears that BMW has done it again; effortlessly achieved a perfect mash-up between classic and modern motorbike cruiser with the company’s new addition to the Heritage line of motorcycles. Long and sleek, the retro-inspired BMW R18 (or ‘R 18’ as BMW show it on the website) looks just the ticket for some late summer coastal road cruising – presuming we are all allowed out by early autumn of course.
Retro-inspired means that BMW is able to utilise some modern technology to aid rider comfort, without losing the ideals behind this fine motorcycle’s design principles. Heated grips might be more of a necessity in some other parts of the world rather than Britain these days, but it’s still enough of a luxury on a motorcycle to produce an appreciative smile – it even has a reverse gear as well.
The BMW Motorad custom R 18 features a prototype flat-twin 18-litre twin-cylinder boxer engine – and is, BMW say, the highest capacity boxer motorbike ever produced. With 89bhp and 116.5lb ft torque and weighing in at a mighty 345kg, this relaxed rider is built for long distance comfortable cruising. Foot placement is firmly in the comfortable and relaxed area too with pegs replaced with pads for added comfort.
It does look like BMW is firing a shot across the bows of Harley Davidson here, stating their claim once again to a share of the cruiser bike market. Harley has a plethora of cruiser motorcycles to choose from naturally enough, and mostly coming in under the estimated price of the R18, which is a hefty £18,995 for the First Edition.
As far as the bike’s heritage goes, it bears more than a passing resemblance to the BMW R52 motorcycle from 1929. There is some irony in this direct comparison though, as the R52 might look like a beautiful classic to us now, yet we need to remember that back then it was deemed to be as futuristic and space age as when the Ford Thunderbird first appeared. The R52 was part of the new breed and heralded a new look in motorcycle design – a look that we are so familiar with now. Contemporaries to the R52 from the same time period now look very dated to modern eyes.
There are subtle differences between the two bike’s geometries, with the more traditional sit-up-and-beg riding position of the R52 being replaced by a more relaxed and better handling position for the BMW R18.
The R18 has switchable ride option modes: Rain, Rock and Roll… Ok, with names like that they’d better work well. It also has hill-hold control, traction control, cruise control (essential), drag-torque control, keyless ignition and ABS – it’s certainly not a superficial beast this BMW R18.
You get a little leeway for customisation as well, including a choice of seat and handlebars – and with ‘plug & play’ wiring, a change of handlebar should be less of a daunting task.
If this is ticking your boxes, then you need to know that there will be two models. Apart from the standard version, there is also a nicely chromed up First Edition (which includes the added enticement of a leather belt and cap for your £18,995).
No word on the standard model as yet but the 1802cc First Edition is due to arrive in September.
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