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Is this proof the production BMW R18 softail is coming soon?

Pre-order books open in France for the BMW R18, suggesting a production version of the softtail boxer-engine concept is on its way

Though BMW hasn’t officially said it is going to put its recently revealed BMW R18 concept into production form, it has emerged potential buyers are able to put money down to signal their interest

It’s often the way with manufacturers that as they grapple with more ingenious ways to lower costs and improve the efficiency of their models that they often go towards the other extreme to create halo models that show exactly what they can do at the upper end of the scale.

That doesn’t mean they always reach the showroom floor, but it doesn’t take much squinting at the R18 concept revealed in May to imagine there is a production model amongst the polish and sheen.

As such, the so-called ‘pre-book’ has been opened in France, according to Motociclismo, where interested parties can part with €1,000 to go towards a BMW R18 if and when it hits the road in production-ready form.

Rest assured, it’s a refundable deposit if the motorcycle doesn’t go on sale or is more expensive than expected, but presumably getting your name on the list now it means you are ‘going to get in’ earlier than most when/if production does indeed get underway.

What is the BMW R18? 

There are two ways of looking at this move (three if it turns out BMW France have been accidentally premature).

This is either proof BMW is indeed getting things underway behind the scenes and a final version is going to be revealed very soon (EICMA?) or there are still some question marks about whether it’s a motorcycle it needs and this is a gauge of public interest that will decide its future.

Either way, the R18 certainly makes sense on paper for a manufacturer operating at the premium end of the motorcycle scale.

A retro, modern softtail packing an air-cooled 1800cc boxer twin engine as its throbbing heart, the R18 may be somewhat at odds with the shift towards leaner, more efficient machines but the manufacturer has stated it can meet all emissions standards. 

Indeed, the BMW R18 doesn’t come across as merely a vanity project that simply proves what BMW ‘could’ make if it wanted to… not least because its other concept doing the rounds, the BMW Vision DC electric roadster, fulfils that brief instead.

If we were Harley-Davidson, we’d be concerned…

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