BMW R18 vs Harley-Davidson Softail Standard vs Indian Chief Dark Horse vs Moto Guzzi California
BMW entered the cruiser market with the launch of the R18 model. This is a bike segment dominated by Harley-Davidson models. The newcomer has the biggest boxer engine in the German brand’s history, a 1,800cc unit and traditional features from the R5 bikes from the ‘30s. It’s set to hit the US market this summer at a price tag starting from $17,500.
BMW R18 – starting from $17,500
The standard version is priced at $17,500 on the US market and it will cost $19,870 if it’s fitted with additional accessories. BMW will bring a First Edition version for the European market a price of €22,800 on the German bike market. Of course, the BMW R18 price can go up adding the optional accessories. The big boxer cruiser will be available this summer in the USA and will hit the dealerships around the world starting from fall.
The BMW R18 features the brand’s biggest boxer engine – an air-cooled 1,800cc boxer. It makes 67 kW (91 hp) and delivers 110 lbs-ft (150 Nm) of torque between 2,000 and 4,000 rpm. The engine configuration has two camshafts and it keeps the traditional pushrods found on R5 models dating back more than 70 years ago. Other features include a single-disc dry clutch designed as a self-reinforcing anti-hopping clutch which stops the back wheel from locking under hard downshifts. The throttle is ride-by-wire which helps the bike have a smooth acceleration response. Also, a traditional feature is the nickel-plated exposed shaft reminding us of the motorcycle BMW built until 1955. Moreover, the mapping of the engine was updated and it keeps the Rain mode and has two new ridding options – Roll and Rock.
The BMW R18 comes with custom parts such as different wheel dimensions, different pegs and footboards, bags, Vance & Hines exhausts, the Mustang Seats and the Roland Sands Collection created especially for this bike. Furthermore, BMW offers two collections – the machined and the two-tone black which transform the motorcycle from a classic and simple bike to a mean-looking bobber.
Harley-Davidson Softail Standard – starting from $13,599
The Milwaukee brand revealed this year the Softail Standard model. It costs starting from $13,599 MSRP on the US market and €13,395 on the German market. That amount offers the rider a bobber design, the Harley-Davidson Softail chassis and the Milwaukee-Eight 107 V-Twin engine. The 1,746cc engine delivers 64 kW (86 hp) @ 5020 rpm and a maximum torque of 109 ft-lbs (149 Nm) of torque @ 3,000 rpm. Harley-Davidson fitted the bike with dual counter-balancers to reduce vibration. Also, the Softail Standard has four-valve cylinder heads to provide sufficient airflow for the engine.
The motorcycle only has a Vivid Black colour scheme and features chrome components such as the shields and mufflers. The Harley-Davidson Softail Standard can be customised to the riders needs thanks to the four additional accessory packages – Day Tripper, Coastal, Touring and Performance.
Harley-Davidson Fat Boy – starting from $20,599
The American brand has a large range of cruiser bikes and the price tag can grow from the Softail Standard model to a more exclusive bike like the Fat Boy. This motorcycle price starts from $20,599 on the US market (€21,695 starting price on the German market). And for that amount, the cruiser is featured with two engine configuration options – Milwaukee-Eight 107 or 114. The smaller power unit delivers 64 kW (86 hp) @ 5020 rpm and a maximum torque level of 107 ft-lbs (145 Nm) @ 3,000 rpm. On the other hand, fitted with the Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine, the Fat Boy makes 69 kW (93 hp) @ 5020 rpm while the torque increases to 114 ft-lbs (155 Nm) @ 3,000 rpm. Another aspect is the price. The Harley-Davidson Fat Boy equipped with the Milwaukee-Eight 114 has a starting price of € 23,795 on the German motorcycle market.
One feature that catches the eye is the satin chrome finishes and large Lakester wheels fitted with a 160 mm front tire and 240 mm rear tire. The motorcycle features the Harley-Davidson 117 years heritage and is fitted with a Softail frame. Optional parts are available to add on the bike such as adjustable rider backrest, airflow collection passenger footboard kits and airflow chromed hand grips, 12-inch fat mini-ape handlebar, adjustable footpegs, different brake disc and many other components.
Indian Chief Dark Horse – starting from $18,499
The company’s heritage in building bikes dates back to 1901. Their biggest cruiser bike is the Chief Dark Horse model. Starting from an $18,499 MSRP on the US market (€22,290 on the German market), the motorcycle is equipped with the Thunder Stroke 111 V-Twin. The 1,811cc unit delivers 119 ft-lbs (161.6 Nm) @ 3,000 rpm. Also, it has a wet multi-plate clutch and the American cruiser can be fitted with a bunch of accessories. The list includes a 12-inch ape handlebar, grooved exhaust tips, open front fender, 19-inch or 16-inch cast aluminium ten-spoke front wheel to name a few.
Moto Guzzi California – starting from $18,490
On the US market, it has a price tag starting from $18,490 on the German motorcycle market it costs € 20.950. The Italian bike comes with a unique engine configuration – a transversal 90° 1,380cc big-bore V-twin. It makes 71 kW (96 hp) @ 6,500 rpm and delivers 89.2 ft-lbs (121 Nm) of torque @ 3,000 rpm. The electronic engine management features a ride-by-wire multimap throttle allowing a precise throttle control and a smooth acceleration response. Moto Guzzi offers a wide range of accessories which includes leather side panniers, gel comfort two-seat saddle, luxury fibreglass top box, 50 litre top box, tank bag, handlebar bag, brake and clutch master cylinder covers and satellite navigator among others.