BMW R 18 cruiser takes aim at Harley-Davidson: Key specs and figures

The BMW R 18 cruiser powers into view with an 1802cc Boxer engine, classic styling and its sights set firmly on dethroning Harley-Davidson

BMW R 18 cruiser

After months of teasers and lightly veiled concepts, the production version of the retro modern BMW R 18 cruiser has powered into public view sporting a big Boxer engine… and a similarly hefty £18,995 price tag.

At a time when motorcycle manufacturers have focused their attentions on launching machines that go faster or further, the BMW R 18 is designed to be a halo model with its classic appearance, powerful engine and back-to-basics approach focused on easy riding enjoyment.

Inspired by the R5, the new BMW R 18 offers some eye-catching attention to detail with its low-slung softtail style enhanced by the double loop steel tube frame, long flowing exhaust leading up towards the exposed driveshaft, all boasting plenty of polished metal to keep you busy tending to it on a Sunday afternoon.

Elsewhere, the BMW R 18 features a rear swingarm with enclosed axle drive in rigid-frame design, telescopic fork with sleeves and disc brakes front and rear. 

Described as a ‘purist’ motorcycle, the R 18’s party piece is its mammoth 1802cc Boxer engine, a layout which tips a nod back to BMW’s of almost a century ago. The largest and most powerful BMW boxer engine of all time, the air-cooled two-cylinder unit boasts 91hp (61kW) at 4,750rpm, while the six-speed gearbox can pull 116.5ft.Ib, with 110ft of that available at just 2000rpm.

Despite the back to the future looks, the BMW R 18 is brimming with technology to ensure it eats up the miles with ease, featuring three riding modes – Rain, Roll and Rock. It also comes with Automatic Stability Control, engine drag torque control, reverse assist manoeuvring and Hill Start Control functionality.

With its eyes fixed firmly on targeting Harley-Davidson, BMW will be offering a range of accessories, one of which will be Vance & Hines exhaust systems tellingly labelled ‘Made in USA’. It will also feature a Roland Sands design collection ‘Machined’ and ‘2-Tone Black’.

However, it will come at a cost with a starting price of £18,995 when it goes on sale in September in this ‘First Edition’ paint and chrome colour scheme.

BMW R 18 Key Specs

BMW R 18 (2020) Key Specification and Performance Figures
Max Power91HP
Max Torque158Nm @ 3,000rpm
TypeAir-cooled 2-cylinder 4-stroke boxer engine
Bore and Stroke107.1mm
Top Speed180km/h (112mph)
0-100km/h (0-62mph)4.8secs
Overall Length2,440mm
Overall Width964mm
Seat Height690mm
Weight (wet)560kg
Fuel Tank Capacity16L
Clutch TypeHydraulically activated single-disc dry clutch