2021 BMW R 18 | First Look Review

2021 BMW R 18 First Edition Big Boxer
2021 BMW R 18 First Edition. Images courtesy BMW Motorrad.

It’s here, and for the most part it looks exactly how we hoped it would: like a classic BMW. The 2021 BMW R 18 “Big Boxer” cruiser has finally been unveiled in complete production form, with a look reminiscent of the R 5 model of the 1930s.

Powered by a massive 1,802cc OHV air/oil-cooled 4-valve opposed twin, the largest “boxer” engine BMW has ever produced for a motorcycle, that generates a claimed 91 horsepower at 4,750 rpm and 116 lb-ft of torque at 3,000, the new R 18 certainly seems to talk the talk, ready to go toe to toe with the established cruiser brands. It sports modern rider aids like partially integrated braking (the hand lever activates both front and rear brakes, the foot pedal only the rear) with ABS, a six-speed transmission with anti-hop (slipper) dry clutch, standard ASC (stability control) and MSR (engine drag torque control), and three ride modes: Rain, Roll (for regular riding) and Rock (for sportier riding). Hill Hold Control and Reverse Assist are optional.

2020 BMW R 18 First Edition Big Boxer
The 2021 R 18 with its styling inspiration, the classic R 5.

The R 18’s classic lines come courtesy of a double loop tubular steel frame with easily removable rear subframe for easy customization, a double-sided swingarm with exposed driveshaft on the right side, a telescopic 49mm fork with 4.7 inches of travel and a hidden, preload-adjustable cantilever rear shock with 3.5 inches of travel for a hardtail look. Three brake discs, two up front and one in the rear, are 300mm in diameter and are squeezed by 4-piston calipers.

Spoked wheels are 19 inches up front, 16 at the rear, and appear to be tube-type, although that is not specified in the information we’ve received. Lighting is all-LED, and the R 18 can be fitted with an optional Adaptive Headlight (lean-angle sensitive cornering lights). Keyless Ride is standard.

The 2021 R 18 will be available worldwide in a special First Edition model, which includes the signature black paint with white pin striping, chrome details, “First Edition” badging and more. A base model will also be available in the U.S. and other select markets. Pricing starts at $17,495 for the base model and $19,870 for the First Edition.

This is, after all, a cruiser, and so BMW will also be offering two customization packages from Roland Sands Design, the “Machined” and the “Two-Tone Black.” BMW will also offer an extensive list of customization parts and accessories so buyers can make their R 18 uniquely their own.

Keep scrolling for more photos….

2020 BMW R 18 First Edition Big Boxer
Exposed driveshaft on the right side of the double-sided swingarm.
2020 BMW R 18 First Edition Big Boxer
Mid-mount controls are behind the huge cylinders. We’re not sure how forward controls would work on this design, but we do know that floorboards are a BMW option.
2020 BMW R 18 First Edition Big Boxer
Classic round display includes a gear indicator. “Berlin built” refers to the fact that this model is built in BMW’s Berlin-Spandau factory.
2020 BMW R 18 First Edition Big Boxer
2021 BMW R 18 First Edition.
2020 BMW R 18 First Edition Big Boxer
2021 BMW R 18 First Edition.
2020 BMW R 18 First Edition Big Boxer
LED headlight includes an optional Adaptive Headlight (cornering lights).
2020 BMW R 18 First Edition Big Boxer
2021 BMW R 18 base model.
2020 BMW R 18 First Edition Big Boxer
2021 BMW R 18 First Edition.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

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