BMW Motorrad’s R18 cruiser takes inspiration from the legendary 1936 R5
German two-wheeler marque, BMW Motorrad has launched the all-new R18 cruiser that first made its appearance as the Concept R18 at Concorso d’Eleganza 2019. The 2020 BMW R18 draws its inspiration from the iconic 1936 R5 boxer motorcycle (the very first BMW motorcycle to sport a foot-operated gearbox). Design chief, Edgar Heinrich’s lines alone could woo potential buyers from settling on classic-genre models from Harley-Davidson or Indian Motorcycles.
BMW Motorrad primarily focuses its new product for the US market. It will reach showrooms in two formats: Standard ($17,495 or Rs 14 lakh approx.) and First Edition ($19,870 or Rs 15+ lakh approx.). It is too early to comment on an Indian debut unless and until BMW Motorrad India gives a hint. The R18 debuted around the same time when BMW Motorrad (alongside KTM) announced its withdrawal from EICMA 2020 and INTERMOT 2020 due to COVID-19.
Keep the original R5 beside and one can easily observe that its design is an evolution rather than a revolution. The gloss black theme with chrome backing, teardrop fuel tank (16-litre) plus white pinstripes and a relaxed rider triangle contribute to eye-catching elegance. For most parts, the changes were made to meet the current performance, safety and emission standards.
That being said, we are not fans of its brawny exhaust system. In all probability, BMW Motorrad may have been forced to opt it to create a unique exhaust note while conforming to the latest emission norms. However, the company is offering a product-specific (and better suiting) Vance and Hines exhausts as an option, in either black or chrome. In fact, there is a host of optional extras to choose from that can change the motorcycle’s character to a good extent.
Swap between various accessories and the double down-tube chassis can transform between a cruiser, bobber, bagger or even an ape-hanger. Despite sporting a lot of heritage, the BMW R18 features all the latest equipment (some of which are optional) such as switchable Automatic Stability Control (ASC), three riding modes (Rain, Roll and Rock), MSR (Motor Slip Regulation or simply, anti-skid), heated grips, Hill Start Assist (HSA) and more. To top it all, a ‘Reverse’ mode is available that uses an electric motor to help pull back the 345kg motorcycle.
The 1.8-litre boxer-twin, the largest of its kind ever seen on a production motorcycle, still employs an air/oil-cooled setup. Regardless, it churns out around 90bhp @ 4,750rpm and a massive 150Nm of torque @ 2,000-4,000rpm. The 6-speed transmission transfers the output to the wheel via a shaft drive. Put together, the all-new BMW R18 can touch 100km/h from a standstill within 5 seconds till it tops out at 180km/h (electronically limited).