BMW set for big 1800cc R18 cruiser?

A third BMW R18 cruiser concept model seems to confirm that the German company is returning to the cruiser market with an 1800cc boxer engine.

In December, a Japanese custom shop wheels out an R18 with a mysterious new BMW engine and last month a second cruiser concept with the engine was rolled out by a Texan custom shop.

Concept R18 cruiser

Now BMW Motorrad has revealed its Concept R18 cruiser at the 90th the Concorso d’Eleganza show at Lake Como in Italy.BMW Concept R8 cruiser

Surely this confirms that BMW will return to the cruiser market it abandoned 15 years ago.

BMW built the R 1200 C cruiser from 1997 to 2004. It was a flop, but in recent years has become a collector and customiser favourite.

BMW R 1200 C R18 cruiser
BMW R 1200 C

Concept R18 cruiser was built for BMW Motorrad by Unique Custom Cycles of Sweden, so it’s not the final version that BMW is expected to release.

This is a simplistic model with minimalist design.

No doubt the Germans will give it some Bavarian hi-tech and quirky design as they did with the R nineT after Roland Sands designed the Concept 90.

The R18 cruiser will be powered by the biggest boxer engine they have produced, believed to be 1798.4cc in an over-square configuration (107 x 100mm) which means the pistons are wider than they are long.

Otherwise, the heads would hang out so far you couldn’t lane filter!

It also means it should rev better than other big-bore cruisers.

Interestingly, it is not liquid cooled, but is likely to be twin spark to meet Euro 5 emissions standards coming in 2020.

Don’t be fooled by the Solex carburettors. They may just be dummies like when Triumph’s Bonnevilles went EFI.BMW Concept R8 cruiser

As for the rest of the Concept R18 and a likely BMW production model, we should regard these words from BMW:

The BMW Motorrad Concept R18 is immediately recognizable as a genuine BMW: boxer engine, cradle frame, exposed universal shaft, and drop-shaped fuel tank with its black paintwork and hand-applied contrast lines interpret typical design icons of BMW Motorrad classics, while displaying confidence along with modern-style linearity.BMW Concept R8 cruiser

Will BMW build it?

The market is ageing and mature riders love their cruisers.

Yet BMW has been reaching out to younger riders over the past 15 years with its adventure models, S 1000 derivatives and trendy R nineT.

But why should they not pay in a sector that continues to attract riders?

Over the years I have asked BMW executives whether they would return to the cruiser market and they have never said they wouldn’t.


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