BMW’s Retro-Inspired R18 Motorcycle Has Its Biggest Boxer Engine Yet

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It’s rare that concept vehicles actually makes it to production. BMW Motoradd’s latest bike, the gorgeous heritage-inspired powerhouse R 18, is a welcome exception.

The German automaker’s motorcycle division unveiled the production version of the R 18 over the weekend, and the impressive bike looks almost identical to the concept that was first teased in Italy last May at an event in Villa d’Este, Italy.

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While the bike’s retro-inspired looks are striking, its most eye-catching feature is its massive 1.8-liter boxer engine. Dubbed the “Big Boxer,” that brand new, horizontally opposed twin-cylinder engine more than lives up to its name and is the biggest boxer engine that BMW has produced by a half liter, according to a press release. The air-cooled mill is also the most powerful in the division’s 97-year history and is capable of producing a stunning 91 hp and 116 lb-ft of torque. Not bad for something so stylish.

In addition to the “Big Boxer,” the R 18 comes with BMW’s traditional large single-disc dry clutch and a six-speed gearbox. The bike’s driveshaft is also exposed, a tribute to prewar bikes from the company the R5 and R51, both of which inspired the R 18. Other features include a double-loop steel tube frame, telescopic fork with 1.9-inch fork sleeves, cantilever suspension strut, wire-spoked wheels and disc brakes. On the tech side, you have your choice of three riding modes—“Rain,” “Roll” and “Rock”—as well as reverse assist and Hillstart Control.

Two R 18 models will be available at launch, a standard version and the First Edition variant. Both look like classic prewar cruisers, but the First Edition also sports period-appropriate pinstriping and chrome, along with retro tank emblems and slotted screws. And just like the R NineT, the current BMW bike its closest to, it comes with a lot of customizable options, including accessories like a Mustang Seat and a Vance & Hines custom exhaust.

BMW R 18 motorcycle
BMW R 18 motorcycle

The standard version of the R 18 will start at $17,495 and the First Edition will be $19,870. The heritage-style bike is scheduled to arrive in dealerships later this year, though that date could be pushed back due to the current coronavirus crisis.

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