The 2020 BMW R18 combines retro looks with modern driving modes

The electronic package should amaze you
by Aris Ilagan | Apr 4, 2020
PHOTO: BMW Motorrad

For months BMW Motorrad kept highlighting that the heart of the much-anticipated R18 is its big V-twin boxer engine—the “epicenter of its riding pleasure.” This might be so, especially when this iconic German motorcycle brand is pushing for more years for its traditional air-cooled, big V-twin boxer engine that has been in existence for almost a century now, giving its riders the so-called ‘good vibrations’ for decades.

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Lo and behold! After almost a year of waiting, BMW Motorrad has officially unveiled the production model of the R18 First Edition, which mixes old, traditional cruiser features with a set of no-frills electronics systems designed to make the riding experience more appealing not only to the aging sector but to the younger generation as well.

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The R18 First Edition was shown in the online launch, but BMW Motorrad has also come up with a standard model for select markets. The First Edition combines the R18 look with exclusive equipment features in a classic, sexy black finish with white pinstriped paintwork, numerous chrome surfaces, a seat badge, and a “First Edition” chrome badge on the side covers. It’s motorcycle elegance at its finest.

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And how much do we love the R18’s electronic package? Let us count the ways. The three riding modes are called Rain, Roll, and Rock. Furthermore, the standard R18 is equipped with Automatic Stability Control that can be disengaged, and engine drag torque control. Among other options, a reverse assist makes parking this burly stallion a lot more convenient. There is also the Hill Start Control function that facilitates safe uphill starts. This old-style cruiser sure packs a lot of surprises.

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All these functional systems are controlled through small buttons that are discretely placed on the chrome handlebar.

Now let’s zero in on its legendary mill. The R18 has the powerful 1,802cc, 2-cylinder boxer engine with a peak output of 91hp at 4,750rpm, and 150Nm from 2,000 to 4,000rpm. These figures show the R18 is more focused on pulling power rather than speed.

Holding the ‘Big Boxer’ and the suspension system together is the nicely crafted double-loop steel tube frame, a long-standing feature that makes BMW motorbikes sturdy and stable in terms of road handling.

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In a homage to the legendary BMW R5, the tubes of the telescopic fork (49mm in diameter with 120mm suspension travel) are encased in fork sleeves. Stopping power is handled by twin disc brakes at the front and a single disc brake at the rear that work with four-piston fixed calipers.  Also, the exposed, chrome-covered driveshaft mirrors the classic R5 model.

The R18 looks brutally handsome with the old-school wire-spoked wheels. Adding to its classic appearance are the pear-drop tank, the open-running driveshaft, and the pinstriped paintwork. The round, chrome-laced LED headlamp is paired with a classically designed circular gauge with an integrated display.

We’re pretty sure the Pinoy BMW motorcycle fans are itching to see the R18 in the metal which, by the way, is expected to arrive on our shores by the fourth quarter of 2020. With the price expected to be around P2.5 million, are you buying in?

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PHOTO: BMW Motorrad
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