Head to head | BMW R18 vs Triumph Rocket 3 | Which big cruiser is best?

Two heavyweights of motorcycling go head to head, but which is the better motorcycle, the BMW R18 or the Triumph Rocket 3?

BMW R18 vs Triumph Rocket 3 head to head comparison

THESE two bikes are absolute heavyweights, and now that we’ve ridden them both here at Visordown, we thought why not put them in a ring and let them go head to head? 

The ring idea was quickly scrapped, as we couldn’t find a ring that could hold the combined 650kg weight of these two brawlers. So instead we’ll put them against each other head to head on paper. Or screen.

WATCH: BMW R18 vs Triumph Rocket 3 head-to-head

BMW R18 specs

In the blue corner, we have the BMW R18. £18,995 and 345kg of retro cruiser, we gave this one a go at the start of the year, and were impressed with the boxer engine which proudly protrudes from both ends, and the 1800cc monster is visible at all angles of the bike - and so it should be, plated in chrome and weighing 100kg itself, it’s the main star of the show. 

But style aside, we found the boxer engine to be surprisingly somewhat lacking on the road, and felt it could do with a slightly higher redline, a touch more power and a more rebellious exhaust note. That’s not to say the 91bhp is distinctly lacking, but add in the weight and you’ve got a bike which could do with a touch more oomph - for cruising it’s fine, and that’s what it’s set out to be. A Bavarian cruiser. 

Triumph Rocket 3 specs

So in the red corner, the Triumph Rocket 3. It has been battling around on the roads since its launch in 2019, and has been turning heads and taking names ever since. 

At the heart of the Rocket 3 is the largest production 3 cylinder engine in a motorcycle to date, 2458cc that produces an endless torque curve at any RPM, with power to match at 165 bhp arriving at 6500 rpm, with a redline at 7500 rpm. 

Triumph’s Rocket 3 weighs in at 291kg dry, so when it gets its hair wet it’ll be over 300kg, given the 18L tank size. 

The motor may be a powerplant of epic proportions, but the ride-by-wire throttle is so smooth it can be ridden by anyone, and with so much torque on demand, you can even leave it in 3rd and just enjoy the ride.

Who's the head to head winner?

Interestingly the R18 has gone for the classic look, whilst the Rocket 3 is the modern version despite being the older model here (sort of). Style is in abundance for both, and it’s a personal choice between the two, so whilst we may find the Rocket 3 a better bike to ride, it could be that the R18 wins it out with the iconic boxer engine and classic cruiser appearance for you.

Picking a winner is pretty difficult, and on their day both are fantastic options that we'd definitely not turn our nose up at - but for us the Triumph Rocket 3 does just about edge it.

If you want a more in-depth look at these two, have a watch of our review videos below. 

BMW R18 Review

BMW R 18 Review 2021 | Would I Buy the BMW R 18 If I'd have £18,995... | Visordown.com

Triumph Rocket 3 Review

Triumph Rocket 3 (2020) Video Review | Visordown.com

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