Big-boomer Beemer boasts bulk torque and lashings of old-school style

BMW has announced a late-2020 arrival date for its gorgeous new big-engined retro-cruiser, the R 18.

With a bunch of impressive styling cues reaching way back into the German marque’s two-wheeled history, the R 18 represents BMW’s biggest-ever boxer engine, a double-loop steel frame, exposed driveshaft, circular instrument cluster and a “classically interpreted headlight design”.

As has become regular practice, the R 18 will have a bunch of options including single or twin seating, reverse assist (which we presume means a go-backwards gear), and extra chrome and bling. (There’s also a set of ape-hanger handlebars that look utterly naff.)

The big motor will generate a modest peak power output of 90hp (67kW) but, more importantly, a hang-onto-your-pillion dose of torque — the peak is a whopping 158Nm but BMW says there is 150Nm or more available at all times between 2000 and 4000 rpm. By comparison, Triumph’s huge 2.3-litre triple Rocket has a peak torque of 163 Newtons at 4000rpm, and Indian’s 1811cc Chief Dark Horse delivers 151 at 3000rpm, so the Beemer is right in the mix.

Here’s a bunch of pics, and scroll down to see the full media release from BMW.

Media release

BMW Motorrad to unleash first-ever BMW R 18 cruiser in Q3, 2020

  • BMW Motorrad bursts onto the cruiser scene with first-ever BMW R 18
  • Design takes inspiration from classic BMW motorcycles with boxer engine, double-loop steel frame, exposed driveshaft, circular instrument cluster and classically interpreted headlight design
  • Customisability at the forefront with easily removable rear frame and availability of extensive range of characteristic Original BMW Motorrad Accessories
  • Largest-ever BMW two-cylinder 1802cc boxer engine producing 67kW at 4,750rpm and more than 150Nm of torque available at all times between 2,000 to 4,000rpm
  • R 18 First Edition package available in limited numbers
  • Initial allocation of R 18 First Editions for Australia fitted with Reverse assist
  • Prices start at just $26,890*

BMW Motorrad will enter the premium cruiser segment in style with local introduction of the first-ever BMW R 18 in Q3, 2020.

Paying homage to historic BMW motorcycles, the new R18 showcases sleek, classic design with traditionally inspired elements evident throughout its suite of details.

It will also be positioned competitively in the market, with prices starting at $26,890*. The R 18 First Edition, which features an exclusive look with signature double pin striping paint and chrome, is available in limited numbers for $30,190*.

The initial batch of R 18 First Editions allocated to Australia arriving this year are fitted with Reverse assist, bringing the price to $31,690*.

The simple, powerful aesthetic of the BMW R 18 and its extensive range of optional extras, such as the Original BMW Motorrad Accessories, elevate and embolden the concept of individualisation to suit different customer tastes and preferences.

Apart from its arresting visual elements, the new heritage cruiser integrates technical aspects from famous models such as the BMW R 5 and focuses on motorcycle essentials that create pure riding pleasure.

The BMW boxer engine is unmistakably the centrepiece of the new R 18, and in combination with its distinctive ergonomics and contemporary technology, delivers versatility and suitability for everyday riding and relaxed weekend cruising.


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

  • Blend of iconic styling with advanced, modern technology
  • Largest-ever two-cylinder BMW boxer engine at 1802cc
  • Output of 67kW at 4,750rpm and maximum torque of 158Nm at 3,000rpm. More than 150Nm available at all times from 2,000 to 4,000rpm
  • 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
  • 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, ASC and MSR
  • Reverse assist for convenient manoeuvring and Hill Start Control for easy hill starts available as ex-factory options – $1,500*
  • 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*.

See more details at the BMW website here.

Peter Terlick