BMW R 18 ‘Big Boxer’ specs revealed

The key specifications for the 2020 BMW R 18 cruiser and its ambitous 'Big Boxer' engine are revealed by the manufacturer

BMW Concept R 18 /2 motorcycle

We’ve seen the concepts, we’ve been told the headline figures but now we know the exact specifications for the BMW R18 and its centrepiece, the ‘Big Boxer’ engine that will power it.

Representing a bold change of tact by the Munich marque, the BMW R 18 is set to become its new flagship when goes on sale some time in 2020 with what it is calling the largest boxer engine ever used in a motorcycle production.

The BMW Concept R 18 was first unveiled earlier this year at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este and wowed audiences with its ambitious take on the cruiser marketplace. It then presented the BMW Concept R 18/2 at EICMA, a production-leaning variant that lost the former’s ‘party dress’ in favour of a sportier, BMW signature finish.

While we can now be fairly certain what the ‘actual’ BMW R 18 will look like, the manufacturer has offered up more details about what lurks beneath the shiny exterior by revealing the figures of its proud party piece, the ‘Big Boxer’.

BMW R 18 ‘Big Boxer’ specs

Harking back to boxer engines of yore – a full 70 years ago in fact – BMW says it has retained the ethos of the unit with laterally controlled valves, a crankshaft with a main bearing at its centre to prevent vibrations and two connecting rods with I-shaft mounted on plain bearings.

The air/oil cooled engine has four valves, dual ignition, a modern combustion chamber, intake manifold and the BMS-O engine management system.

“The advantage of this “twin camshaft boxer” is the shorter pushrods,” reads BMW’s press release. “This also makes for reduced moving masses, minimised deflections and lower linear expansions. A generally stiffer valve drive with improved control precision and higher speed stability is the consequence of this more elaborate construction.”

As for hard numbers, the twin-cylinder boxer engine is 1802cc with 107mm bore and the aluminium pistons are 100mm stroke. The engine weighs in at a hefty 244.3Ib and produces 91HP, plus 116.5 Ib.ft of torque at 3,000rpm with a max of 5,750rpm.

When will the BMW R 18 go on sale?

Given many expected to see a production ready BMW R 18 at EICMA, there remains no word just yet on when the cruiser will be officially unveiled or when it hits the road other than ‘sometime in 2020’.

That said, this ‘drip drip’ approach to launch should certainly ensure BMW gets pre-launch orders in its needs to justify the expense of developing a brand-new flagship model from the ground up.

Either way, one can expect the final version to look very similar to the BMW Concept R 18/2 considering it certainly appeared to be a version more in-keeping with the manufacturer’s design ethos and free of features we wouldn’t expect to see make the transition from concept to reality.