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BMW launches classic R 18 cruiser

BMW Classic R 18 cruiser

BMW Motorrad returns to the cruiser category with the classic R 18 cruiser styled after the 1936 R 5, including double white pinstriping.

BMW Classic R 18 cruiser
BMW R 18 and R 5

We’ve seen several other variants of the bike in concepts, prototypes and spy photos, so we expect this is just the first in a new line with the 1802cc boxer engine.

BMW to unveil R 18
Spy photos and concepts

BMW Australia says the classic R 18 cruiser will arrive the third quarter of this year with prices starting at $26,890 (plus on-road costs).

The R 18 First Edition, which features classic double pin striping paint and chrome will be available in limited numbers for $30,190. BMW Classic R 18 cruiser

The initial batch of R 18 First Editions allocated to Australia arriving this year will be fitted with “reverse assist”, bringing the price to $31,690. 

At 345kg dry weight, it needs reverse assist!BMW Classic R 18 cruiser

We also reckon the riding position looks a little uncomfortable with the inability for forward controls because of the massive boxer heads.

It will come with a range of accessories including ape hanger bars, tractor saddle, racks and more.

Yes, thankfully it also includes pipes to replace that dreadfully massive standard exhaust!

BMW R 18 classic

Highlights of the new BMW R 18 – $26,890 

  • Largest two-cylinder BMW boxer engine at 1802cc (click here for more engine details)
  • 67kW of power at 4,750rpm and 158Nm of torque at 3,000rpm. More than 150Nm available at all times from 2000-4000rpm;
  • Exposed drive-shaft and elaborate double-loop steel tube frame based on classic models;
  • Rear swingarm with enclosed axle drive in rigid frame design;
  • Telescopic fork with sleeves and cantilever suspension strut that includes travel-dependent damping;
  • Harmonious ergonomics for relaxed riding and optimum control;
  • Disc brakes front and rear with wire-spoked wheels;
  • State-of-the-art LED lighting technology with classically interpreted design;BMW Classic R 18 cruiser
  • Adaptive turning light for enhanced road illumination and cornering illumination available as an ex-factory option;
  • Classically designed circular instrument cluster with integrated display and ‘Berlin-Built’ label;
  • Keyless Ride for convenient functionality and activation by remote control;
  • Three standard riding modes (Rain, Roll and Rock), ASC and MSR;
  • Reverse assist for convenient manoeuvring and Hill Start Control for easy hill starts available as ex-factory options – $1500;
  • R 18 First Edition package offers an exclusive look in signature double pin striping paint and chrome – $30,190;
  • Initial allocation of R 18 First Edition units for local market fitted with Reverse assist, bringing price to $31,690.

Classic R 18  Tech specsBMW Classic R 18 cruiser

Capacity 1802cc / cui
Bore x stroke 107.1x100mm
Output 67kW (91hp)
at engine speed 4750rpm
Torque 158Nm
at engine speed 3000rpm
Type Air/water-cooled 2-cylinder 4-stroke boxer engine
No. of cylinders 2
Compression/fuel 9.6:1 / premium unleaded (95-98 RON)
Valve/accelerator actuation OHV
Valves per cylinder 4
Ø intake/outlet 41.2/35mm
Ø throttle valves 48mm
Engine control BMS-O
Emission control Closed-loop 3-way catalytic converter, EU5 exhaust standard
Electrical system
Alternator 600W
Battery 12/26V/Ah maintenance-free
Headlight LED low beam with projection module LED high beam with projection module
Starter 1.5kW
Power transmission – gearbox
Clutch Hydraulically activated single-disc dry clutch
Gearbox Constant-mesh 6-speed gearbox
Primary ratio 1.16
Transmission ratios I 2,438
II 1,696
III 1,296
IV 1,065
V 903
VI 784
Rear wheel drive Universal shaft
Transmission ratio 3.091
Frame construction type Double-loop steel tube frame
Front wheel control Telescopic fork, fork tube Ø 49 mm
Rear wheel control Cantilever
Total spring travel, front/rear 120/90mm
Wheel castor 150mm
Wheelbase 1731mm
Steering head angle 57.3°
Brakes front Twin disc brake Ø 300 mm
Brakes rear Single disc brake Ø 300 mm
ABS BMW Motorrad Integral ABS (part-integral)


BMW Classic R 18 cruiser
Ape hanger bars and matte black accessories
Wheels Wire-spoked wheels
front 3.5 x 19”
rear 5.0 x 16”
Tyres front 120/70 R 19 or B 19 (manufacturer-dependent)
Tyres rear 180/65 B 16
Dimensions and weights
Total length 2440mm
Total width with mirrors 964mm
Seat height 690mm
DIN unladen weight, road ready 345kg
Permitted total weight 560kg
Fuel tank capacity 16L
Performance figures
Fuel consumption (WMTC) 5.6l/100 km
CO2 emissions (WMTC): 129g/km
0‒100 km/h 4s 800ms
Top speed 180km/h

R 18 classic photo gallery

  1. I don’t know; I really don’t. Isn’t the whole idea of a boxer is that it feels quirky and offbeat, like a bike? A slightly different twin? This looks like yet another 1800cc twist-and-go cruiser (select any gear like you like and no need to change) with all the thumpy quirkiness that made the originals so idiosyncratic worked out of it with the help of computerisation and sheer physical forces and mass. A bike for people who might be better off just taking the car? It doesn’t even have the drop-dead gorgeous style of WW2 BMW bikes or Urals. Personally, while the retro Japanese bikes will make it onto my wishlist when they enter the used market in a few years, this BMW never will. The actual classic BMWs are purposeful in a completely different way from this retro. Even the 1980s K-series flat-4s – check Pierce Brosnan in the 4th Protocol. That’s what BMW Motorrad was all about. Performance and country backroads. This, on the other hand, seems to be aimed squarely at the American-influenced cruiser market, as a Harley alternative. It clearly isn’t a bike that was ever intended for the mountain roads of Austria or the backroads of Bavaria. BMW didn’t have the Grossgluckner in mind when they designed this. Just born-agains.

  2. I was thinking- reverse assist ??
    Then I saw the weight – 345Kg
    16 Ltr tank !
    FFS they really have lost the plot

  3. 16 litre fuel tank? On a 1800 cc cruiser? Really dumb, I still have a 1984 BMWR65LS and it has a 22 litre fuel tank. What were they thinking when they produced such a miserable sized tank? I like the rest of the bike (sort of) but too many things not right so I think I’ll stick to my current Indian Chieftain.

  4. If the drive shaft is truly exposed, that is madness. It’ll wrap cord, rope, items of clothing. Then it’ll either strangle you or jam back wheel while travelling at speed. Far too heavy, far too expensive.

  5. Awesome, love the concept. Makes a change from all the fairing wrapped bikes that everyone else has. Something old but new, radical big donk but still a flat BMW twin. All the bits out where you can see them, easy to work on too I should imagine….just like bikes use to be. Not my style but I’ll bet there are a lot of Beeemer lovers and other just waiting to take this for a run.

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