BMW returns to the segment of large custom / cruiser with the R 18, which stands out for its quality, classic design, flawless operation and state-of-the-art technology. And its price, although high, 24,590 euros, does not out of tune with its competitors.
The R 32 was presented at the 1923 Paris Motor Show and its boxer engine of 8.5 CV, derived from the one carried by the planes of World War I, would become a characteristic symbol of the German firm. But despite the external resemblance, you should not get carried away by appearances: the engine now yields 91 hp and includes state-of-the-art technologies.
The R 18 is long and short, yet heavy (345 kilos), and BMW offers up to 40 customization options so that customers can customize it to their liking. These include, for example, a special passenger seat, heated grips, lockable gas cap or the reverse (highly recommended to safely perform maneuvers while standing still).
Like its competitors, the new R 18 has a huge size, almost excessive. The frame is traditional, a double steel cradle with conventional suspensions (front fork and rear cantilever shock absorber) and disc brakes with ABS system. At the controls stand out its imposing dimensions, which contrast with the low seat height (69 centimeters).
The big handlebar provides a relaxed position and only taller drivers will be somewhat penalized by having to bend the knees more due to the low seat height, although BMW offers a higher option as an option.
The 1.8 liter displacement engine has a lot of character, but stands out for its finesse and stuck and responds with precision and without vibrations. And the transmission cardan has the particularity of having the chrome shaft rotating in sight, without a protective casing.
Despite its classicism, the mechanics nor forgo electronics and includes three driving modes —Rain, Roll and Rock— that improve its efficacy and safety. The braking is powerful, the chassis rigid and the suspension firm, but at the same time it is comfortable and balanced, something difficult to achieve in this type of motorcycle so to the “American taste”.
Despite its large size, the R 18 is easy to carry, thanks to its outstanding engine and chassis consistency. The most important drawback is that the foot pegs rub the asphalt on curvy roads too easily.