BMW reported to be working on smaller R18 cruiser called the R12

BMW is rumoured to be working on a smaller version of its retro cruiser based on the 1170cc R nineT platform

R18 Cruiser

WE are hearing unconfirmed reports that BMW is working on a smaller version of the R18 powered by the 1170cc R nineT engine.

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The move would seem to make sense to me, after riding the R18 for a couple of weeks. It’s a lovely bike, but for all those cubes, it isn’t the most powerful of motorcycles.

Yes, it’s true that the 1,800cc engine is strangled by Euro emissions regulations, although if you’re designing an engine and you know your going to have to clip its wings in this way, wouldn’t a smaller more efficient engine be more suited?

And that would very much seem to be the case here. The R nineT unit offers the kind of bang-per-buck you could never get from a massive unit like the R18's. It has more power, (110bhp compared to 90bhp) and only around 30lb-ft of torque less than the massive cruiser.

And it’s not as if those numbers are fixed any, as the 1170 unit has already proved widely flexible having previously seen service in the R1200 adventure and touring models of years gone by. It’s feasible to assume that BMW’s team of engineering wizards could wave the magic ECU wand and coax some more low-down torque out of the air/oil-cooled engine.

The use of the smaller engine would bring other benefits too, namely in reducing the size and weight of the machine. The R18 is a big old bike, with length, width, and weight that doesn’t help the bike make the most of the engine. Slotting a smaller, lighter, and more compact engine into a similarly retro frame could turn those numbers on their head, and make the BMW cruiser a real contender in the class.