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BMW’s R18 is rolls out in style -

BMW’s R18 is rolls out in style


While BMW has stayed true to the original 1936 R5 style wise, the R18’s engine is a pleasant surprise, among other things

It won’t be long before we are in an age where motorcycle companies will find it difficult to individualise the experience their battery-powered machines offer. BMW, however, appears to have no such qualms. Whether this is a last hurrah or just German humour, the R18 delivers an unforgettable internal-combustion experience.

What helps it do so is that massive engine it isn’t shy of flaunting. The large-ribbed cylinders you see on this bike are 901cc each! That makes it much bigger than the GS’ motor and the highest capacity twin-cylinder boxer engine on a production motorcycle.


On the move, it is smooth as can be with just the right amount of pulses coming through under the acceleration. Despite its gigantic size, this engine is no powerhouse. It only puts out 91hp which doesn’t feel like a lot on a bike this heavy. But what this engine aces at is making loads of torque — 158Nm to be precise, almost all of which comes in as early as 2,000rpm. It also doesn’t complain as much as a V-twin at low revs and you can lug it from as low as 1,300rpm without protest.

The R18 accelerates quite briskly and maxes out its 200kph speedo rather quickly. On the other hand, it’ll also do around 60kph in sixth gear at idling RPM (950rpm) and cruise at 100kph at just around 2,000rpm.

The R18 weighs 345kg and that kind of mass cannot be hidden. The weight becomes apparent while manoeuvring at low speeds. Thankfully, the clutch is reasonably light, which helps a lot. The huge cylinder heads stick out no further than the handlebar, and as long as you keep that in mind, it is smooth sailing.

BMW’s R18 is rolls out in style

At highway speeds, the R18 will make nearly every move you want it to. The bike changes lanes effortlessly and long, sweeping corners are properly enjoyable, with the only limiting factor being the low foot pegs. The sticky Michelins and the suspension that is slightly on the firmer side only aid its handling abilities. The suspension on this bike has 120mm at the front and 90mm at the rear. As for the four-piston brakes being used at both ends, they have a dull initial bite, but easily bring this giant to a halt.

What could be a deal-breaker are the R18’s ergonomics. While the wide handlebar and 690mm seat height fit the bill, your legs aren’t positioned where they ideally should be. Limited by the engine coming in the way, BMW had to put the foot pegs as forward as they could. The bike is also missing cruise control as an option in India.

BMW’s R18 is rolls out in style

What the BMW is equipped with though is keyless ignition, switchable traction control, three riding modes and a digi-analogue gauge.


BMW has stayed true to the original 1936 R5, which has been the inspiration for the R18. The round headlight, mirrors and instrument cluster, along with the raked front end with girthy fork covers are just some of the elements that pay fitting tribute to the original.

The bike we rode is the ‘First Edition’ and, at ₹ 22.55 lakh, it costs ₹ 2.65 lakh more than the standard variant. The additional cash gets you the white pinstripes, more chrome elements and a few other bits and bobs.

If you have your mind set on the R18, there’s nothing that should stop you from having it in your garage.


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