Recreating a historic motorcycle in a 1800cc boxer engine
The new BMW R18 was unveiled for the first time in Japan. It is the completely new design plan model that will be BMW's first full-fledged cruiser segment.
◆ BMW Released the New "R18" the Best Cruiser with Roots in History
The design motif of the 1936 R5 was based on the concept of an emotional and sophisticated riding experience that combines a classical design with the latest technology. The most distinctive feature is the newly developed boxer engine, the most powerful boxer engine in BMW's history. The air-cooled horizontally opposed 2-cylinder OHV engine, which has a tradition of more than 70 years, produces a maximum output of 67kW (91ps) / 4,750rpm from an engine displacement of 1802cc, and constantly exert a torque of 150Nm or more in the rev range of 2,000 to 4,000rpm.
The rigid-frame style rear swingarm with traditional double-loop tubular steel frame and sealed axle drive (with cantilevered rear shocks), open driveshafts, and sleeve-covered telescopic forks give an R5-inspired look and functionality.
Modern electronic controls and customization premise
As is typical for a modern machine, electronic controls were also incorporated. In addition to ASC (ABS and Traction Control) and MSR (so-called Engine Brake Control), 3 riding modes - Rain, Roll and Rock - are standardly equipped. Modern devices such as cornering headlights, circular gauges with integrated displays, and keyless rides are factory options, as well as reverse assist and hill-start control for rearward progress.
The exterior and harnesses are designed to be easily removed for customization, and there are also a number of OEM optional parts such as high quality machined parts by ROLAND SANDS DESIGN and an exhaust system by VANCE & HINES.
Heroic and stunning with an overwhelming presence
After I've seen the actual motorcycle, there doesn't seem to be much changed since the prototype was unveiled at last year's EICMA 2019, but I was overwhelmed once again by its massive size and heroic presence when I looked at it closer. The flat-twin distinctive large cylinders projected from both sides of the R18 are a sight to behold, making it look like a reciprocating airplane engine. The shape of the exhaust system, known as the fishtail, is also stunning, beautifully welded with press-formed complex R-shaped steel plates overlapping each other.
Weighing in at 345kg, it is one of the heaviest in BMW, but I felt like the actual handling is surprisingly nimble with little friction when I pushed and pulled thanks to the low center of gravity of the flat-twin. The riding position was more compact than it looked, and the handling position was in a natural position with the arm extended, and the footpeg position was so-called mid control, which seemed to be comfortable to operate. This aspect is unique to BMW, which emphasizes ergonomics.
A massive throbbing can be played from a gigantic boxer engine
I was fortunate enough to be able to start the engine, though I never got to test ride the R18. The awakened engine boxer with a single shot of the starter and roared a sludgy, heavy bass, and a dry sound including a slight explosive sound could be heard as well as the massive throbbing when throttling. This is what you'd expect if you customized it. With such a large engine displacement, I was expecting a huge torque reaction, but thanks to the balancer, there was little swaying from side to side and the rotation was smooth. I couldn't resist the urge to get out on the road hastily, but it was ended up being an unveiling. We'll have to wait and see what happens next time.
Well, the release date in Japan is scheduled in the middle of this year, but there is a possibility that the schedule may be delayed in this generation. Furthermore, there is also information that the price of the released "First Edition" will be less than around 27,600 USD (Japan), despite the luxurious limited specification with handwritten pinstripes and plated parts. I'm looking forward to know more information about this motorcycle.