The BMW R 18 is a Gorgeous Cruiser and an Amazing Ode to the Past

The BMW R 18 is a Gorgeous Cruiser and an Amazing Ode to the Past

Heritage is proving important to everyone as we reflect on the good times of the past. Motorcycle manufacturers have been catering to the love of nostalgia and brought back models from the 1950s, 60s and 70s with modern technical advances. The BMW R 18 is a homage to the past using the iconic boxer engine, but with the highest capacity BMW has ever built.

The BMW R 18 is a classic Cruiser in every sense, upright riding position, sizeable comfortable saddle, and colossal capacity engine. Soak up the miles relaxed in every way and enjoy the looks from other road users because you will get plenty of admires when you ride an R 18.

BMW Motorrad has looked to their past with the R 18, classifying it in their Heritage range. It is a nod to the classic R 5 with design cues taken from the icon, with the added benefits of modern technology.

A side profile of the bike showing the low seating position

Returning to the purism of motorcycling, the R 18 has the essentials for riding without many of the latest gadgets and screens found on today’s bikes. The R 18 is a lifestyle choice attracting a particular rider, confident, stylish and individual.

At the heart of the new BMW R 18 is a newly developed 2-cylinder boxer engine known as the “Big Boxer”. Its appearance is impressive, and the technology used reflects the traditional air-cooled boxer engines that have offered an inspiring riding experience since BMW Motorrad began production in 1923.

A close up view of the 1800cc boxer engine in the R 18

The 2-cylinder boxer engine is the most powerful ever used in motorcycle series production has a displacement of 1802 cc. The peak output is 67 kW (91 hp) at 4 750 rpm. From 2,000 to 4,000 rpm, over 150 Nm of torque is available at all times, and this elemental pulling power is combined with a full, resonant sound.

Riding the bike is pure pleasure; you feel noble sitting upright with all controls ideally at hand. Positioning of the footrests, so-called “mid-mounted footpegs”, allows the rider idle leg position to relax even on the longest rides.

A close up view of the bikes speedometer housed in a circular case which combines heritage with modern day technology

The modern technology BMW has incorporated into the R 18 includes Three riding modes and ASC and MSR for a high degree of riding pleasure and safety as standard. Among other options, a reverse assist makes manoeuvring convenient, while the Hill Start Control function facilitates uphill starts. They are labelled “Rain”, “Roll”, and “Rock” – unusual in this segment – to be able to adapt to individual rider preferences.

The standard trim also includes ASC (Automatic Stability Control, which can be switched off, ensuring a high level of riding safety. In addition, the new BMW R 18 is equipped as standard with engine drag torque control (MSR). Reverse assist and Hillstart Control are available as options.

BMW Motorrad has designed the R 18 to be personalised by its owners producing an equipment range that offers a complete selection of individualisation options.

Customising the R 18 has already become popular with the machine adapted into various configurations from a Cafe Racer style to American style Chopper. Option 719 is the BMW Motorrad selection of personalisation and can be discussed with your Sales Representative.

A side profile of the bike showing why this model is set to become a future design classic

I had a wonderful week on the R 18 thanks to Vines BMW, cruising through Surrey and Hampshire. Riding it is such a pleasure that you don’t feel the need to go fast, but the bike has the engine to allow this with a slight twist of the throttle. Some of my trips were over two hours without stopping due to the saddle’s comfort and the riding position.

I love the technology on the R 18; it seamlessly fits with the 1950s look, allowing the rider all the benefits without affecting the classic design. Versatile, the BMW R 18 can be customised easily, but my personal preference is the Purple colour available through Option 719.

BMW R 18 – Where and How?

Pricing for the BMW R 18 starts at £18,995 and can be purchased on 0% Finance through to September. All of the BMW motorcycles come with a three-year warranty.

Thank you to VinesBMW Motorrad Guildford for loaning us the bike to test and review. For more information on the BMW R 18, please visit

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The BMW R 18 First Edition badge in chrome proudly displayed on the tankThe BMW R 18 is a Gorgeous Cruiser and an Amazing Ode to the Past 2


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