BMW R18 – First Ride Review

BMW R18 - First Ride Review 1

Overall Ratings

Value for money:

In a Nutshell

The BMW R18 just made its debut on the market. We’re among the first ones to test it and we tried to learn as much as we could about the first BMW cruiser. Featuring a 1,800 cc engine, it’s the first BMW to be able to compete in the American cruiser segment, ruled by Harley-Davidson.

The BMW R18 features a huge air-cooled boxer. It has 1,800 cc, which develops 158 NM at 3,000 rpm. Although you can see the pushrod covers, this is an Euro5 engine. In looks elegant and vintage, it’s shaking a bit, it pulls right when grabbing the gas, but it’s mannered.

The design line is inspired by the BMW R5, unveiled in 1936, and among the premium details are the beautifully-exposed shaft, the “hard-tail” looking frame, the fuel tank, the engine itself. Everything looks elegant and feels premium.

What We Liked

It looks like a gentleman but rides like a hooligan. It feels classy and elegant, but if you want to push it harder, all you have to do is to take it from 2,000 to 4,000 rpm, and you’ll get a big smile on your face.

It feels nimble, thanks to the boxer engine that keeps the center of gravity low to the asphalt, and it’s easy to maneuver it, considering its 345 kg.

The braking power is sufficient to stop it in time. It feels better than other cruisers. More than that, it’s fitted with Riding Modes and Traction Control. 

Comfortable seat, good riding position, great ergonomics.

What We Disliked

Some vibrations in the saddle after 3,000 rpm – about 135 km/h in the 6th gear. The rear shock is a bit harsh.

Raw Data


Design: Air/oil-cooled two-cylinder four-stroke boxer engine with two chain-driven camshafts above the driveshaft.
Bore x stroke: 107.1 mm x 100.0 mm
Capacity: 1,802 cc
Nominal capacity: 91 hp at 4,750 rpm
Max. torque: 116 lbs-ft at 3,000 rpm
Compression ratio: 9.6 :1

Mileage / consumption

Maximum speed: over 111 mph/ 180 kph

Power transmission

Clutch – Single-disc dry clutch
Gears – 6-speed transmission
Secondary drive -Shaft drive

Suspension / brakes

Frame – Double-cradle steel frame
Spring travel, front / rear – 4.7” / 3.5” – 120 mm/ 90 mm
Wheelbase – 68.1”/ 1,731 mm
Tire, front – 120/70 R 19
Tire, rear – 180/65 B16
Brake, front – Twin disc brake, diameter 300 mm, four-piston fixed callipers
Brake, rear – Single disc brake, diameter 300 mm, four-piston fixed caliper

Dimensions / weights

Seat height, unladen – 27.2”/ 690 mm
Usable tank capacity – approx. 4.23 gal / 16 l
Unladen weight, fully-fuelled / road-ready – 761 lbs/ 345 kg

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