BMW R18 cruises into South Africa

BMW Motorrad makes decisive entry into the cruiser segment

Reuben Van Niekerk
New Model
BMW Motorrad

With the R18, BMW Motorrad is making a strong commitment to the cruiser motorcycle segment and they are relying heavily on their illustrious heritage to do so.


Unlike any BMW motorcycle that has been seen for some time the R18 embodies the tradition of historical BMW motorcycles, both technically and in terms of design. Borrowing from famous models like the R5, this model shifts the focus back to what matters, no frills technology with the boxer engine at the core.


Power to the people

The boxer engine that forms the centrepiece of the motorcycle is the most powerful that BMW has ever built and impresses with its appearance and technological features, while reflecting on the traditional air-cooled boxer engines that have been a BMW Motorrad hallmark since production began in 1923. With a displacement of 1 802cc this horizontally opposed brute churns out 67kW and 158Nm, 150Nm of which is available from 2 000rpm.


Ergonomically excellent

The basis of the suspension is a double-loop steel frame, which perpetuates the longstanding BMW Motorrad tradition but also features meticulous attention to detail such as the welded joints between the steel tubes and the cast or forged parts. Like the legendary BMW R5, the rear swingarm, sporting a comparable design, authentically surrounds the rear axle transmission using bolted connections.


A telescopic fork and a directly mounted central suspension strut offer 120 and 90mm of travel respectively while damping and adjustable spring preload ensures high levels of control and comfort, without the need for electronic suspension. As with the legendary BMW R5, the tubes of the telescopic fork are encased in fork sleeves.


Stylish finishes

Spoked wheels ensure a supremely stylish appearance, while braking is taken care of by twin discs upfront and a single disc at the rear in conjunction with four-piston fixed callipers.


Mid-mounted footpegs behind the cylinders are not typical of BMW but offer a relaxed and active riding position for optimal control.


The R 18 offers standard riding modes, Rain, Roll and Rock to be able to adapt to individual rider preferences while Automatic Stability Control (ASC) can be engaged if need be. Each riding mode ensures optimum interaction between engine characteristics or throttle response, ASC and engine drag torque control.

Additional standard features include engine drag torque control reverse assist and Hill Start Control.


Functional and stylistic elements such as the double-loop frame, the teardrop tank, the open-running driveshaft and hand painted pinstriped artwork are reminiscent of the legendary boxer motorcycles of the 30’s. Bodywork is all metal.


All R18 models available at launch in South Africa will be offered with the R18 First Edition pack that adds exclusive equipment features such as a classic black finish with white pinstriped paintwork, chrome details and a First Edition chrome clasp on the side covers.


Ready to be customised

A standout feature of the R18 is its highly conversion-friendly design, which was a key focus even in the early stages of the motorcycles basic layout. The R18 is equipped with an easily removable rear frame and a simple to dismantle painted part set. Carefully conceived attachment points for the hydraulic lines of the brake, clutch and cable harness allow easy installation of higher or lower handlebars. The visible cylinder head covers and belt cover are designed in such a way that they are located outside the oil chamber, making them very easy to change.



The BMW R18 will retail for R319 900