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Big 1,800cc Cruiser Coming From BMW

After rolling out several “concepts”, including the latest one last week in Italy (pictured), it is clear now that BMW is on course to introduce an 1,800cc boxer twin-powered cruiser as a production model.

The big boxer lump has been given a name by BMW … the R18. Reports indicate the bore and stroke is 107mm x 100mm – slightly oversquare, which might indicate the bike will rev a bit higher than some of its cruiser competition. This latest “Concept R18” showcases what are likely production frame and components, such as brake calipers, but the styling represents the efforts of Unique Custom Cycles of Sweden.

Nevertheless, BMW heritage shines through with the exposed driveshaft and iconic fuel tank shape and paint. But why would BMW enter the cruiser segment, when sales seem to be declining (and Harley-Davidson is diversifying with non-cruiser models)?

The answer to that question can be found in a quote from Timo Resch, vice president sales and marketing for BMW Motorrad:

“It has been a long-term strategic decision that if we want to continue the success story of BMW Motorrad, which has been for the last several years quite positive, at some point we have to look also at the cruiser segment. It has had a bit of a reduction, but it is still by far the biggest segment of the premium motorcycle world. We see that as an opportunity and chance for us.

See more of MD’s great photography: Instagram




  1. David Eib says:

    This thing is really bare bones cool. It looks like it’s a soft tail which should provide a better ride. I think the appearance is great. Sign me up for the first ride.

  2. Kyle says:

    Beautiful. Should do well similar to Triumphs efforts with the Bobber and Rocket. I like the mid controls, not that they really have a choice. Tight knee angle, but I cruise with my passenger pegs on my Bonneville. I see the ankle angle being a problem though with shift and brake lever positioning.

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  4. Spike5519 says:

    Uh…why Even BMW dealers are scratching their collective heads over this one (and more to come, according to those in the know!).

  5. Ramish Rambarran says:

    This will not be in Gold Wing territory for smoothness.

  6. JC says:

    It looks really heavy and the cylinders leave no option for forward controls. I like the idea of the big motor and the torque it must produce, but the bike is ugly. The motor should be in a big sport touring bike similar to the K1600 models.

  7. ABQ says:

    I was hoping that BMW would make a cruiser using the F800 engine.
    It may look similar to the Kawasaki Vulcan 650, or the Honda CTX700.

  8. Artem says:

    Why R18 (2018 concept)? That thing is similar to R71.

    • Artem says:

      Zundapp KS 750 was better, AFAIK, as it was the main german army motorcycle during the world war 2.

      • Anonymous says:

        I think the BMW R75 was the main unit.

        • Anonymous says:

          No, I’m wrong and Artem is right, according to Wiki the Zundapp was a superior design and it looks like the numbers also exceeded the WW2 R75.

  9. Don says:

    sweet jeezus! Is this a joke?

  10. arbuz says:

    Is there a video with a sound?
    Want to know if it will produce the Potato-Potato-Potato
    sound when at idle

  11. G Hill says:

    If you squint it’s a Sunbeam.

  12. VFR Marc says:

    Can’t wait for the custom guys to make cafe racers, scramblers and dirt trackers out of it.

  13. JB says:

    the length of teh intake runners is crazy….makes for a better look than the throttle bodies right at the heads.

    • Tom K. says:

      Thanks for the heads-up on that – shouldn’t there be a big ugly air cleaner box in there somewhere?

  14. Scott says:

    Glad to see a manufacturer working on something other than high volume/profit models.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, selling bikes that have low volume/profit has always been a good idea. Harley never understood that when they dumped Buell.

  15. jon says:

    Those cylinder heads remind me of 7 of 9’s boobs. I LIKE!

  16. Jose says:

    What ever they wrap around that engine I will buy it!!!

  17. Anonymous says:

    I’ve seen it happen on most “concept” bikes. A lovely, well executed styling exercise that gets spoiled by the addition of the equipment required to make it comply with Federal regulations.

  18. aussie mike says:

    Well I like it for a number of reasons:
    – no forward controls;
    – being a Beemer it will most likely have all the rider aids including TC & ABS Cornering;
    – unique styling;
    – shaft drive;
    – very low seat height
    My current ride is a Victory Hammer S which doesn’t even have ABS otherwise I love the Hammer. Am waiting to see the new Victories errr I mean the new “Indians” supposed to be released later this year with the new 108ci motor.
    TBH I could see myself buying the R18.

  19. Tom K. says:

    Would it be too much to say, “Great pair of jugs”?

    Personally, I liked BMW’s previous naked concept a bit better, where they shoehorned the 1600 six into their interpretation of a Honda Valkyrie. This engine sure does look “industrial” with the smooth main casting, maybe some fake fins or something could dress it up a little, its size makes the driveshaft look spindly in comparison. The front cover is almost art deco in appearance, I kind of like it. I guess the nicest thing I can say is, I hope the photos don’t do it justice.

  20. PBrasseur says:

    Ridiculous, I get the vintage line from Bmw as many people do, but this is so not the brand it makes absolutely no sense.

    Let’s hope the company won’t go forward with this and instead uses its ressources to develop bikes people want to ride.

  21. Mick says:

    The engine looks like the answer to a long obsolete problem. Even BMW knows that you don’t need an oversized engine in a motorcycle anymore.

    OK, Harley hasn’t gotten the memo either. But they are the exception that proves the rule.

  22. Anonymous says:

    If they want a cruiser, just wait a few years and buy HD when they go out of business.

  23. Gary says:

    It is only fitting that this project is being driven by someone named “Resch.”

  24. HalfBaked says:

    Thanks to all of you that took time out of your busy day standing on the porch yelling at the kids to get off your lawn to post your opinions.

    • Mick says:

      And thank you sir for pausing between bong hits to make old guy jokes. 🙂

      • HalfBaked says:

        I have been seriously thinking about stopping by my local “Recreational Marijuana Dispensary” which are literally on every corner just to check it out.

        • Mick says:

          I got a chuckle at the one in MA that I looked at. It was like being in a sciance fiction movie. They differ quite a bit from the coffeeshops that I looked at while living in the Netherlands. From an NL window or small counter with a guy who weighs out product from open containers. To a US place which has a small jewlery store vibe with display cases and prepackaged product.

          The US places have all kinds of stuff that you would need an instruction manual to figure out how to use. NL places have weed or hash.

          According to the locals, the prices are about 2X homeboy black market prices. They certainly aren’t in it for their health. But at least some areas are starting to deliver on this freedom that so many Americans like to claim that they enjoy.

          When I moved to a state where my license plate says “live free or die” I got a laugh. Try “pay fees until you die”. Super low speed limits everywhere, rules on top of rules about everything… Try again NH.

  25. Crazyjoe says:

    Saw the it on YouTube. They’re promising a few versions using the 1800 boxer. I’m not expecting a scrambler but they made it sound like they’re coming up with something to compete with Indian Roadmaster and Harley Ultra aimed at the luxury market. That’s a lot of engine to look at. So is its wheelbase. This version might look cool but I couldn’t ride with my knees above my hips and still feel in control.

    Since no one else asked why didn’t they do a bobber with the 1200 boxer?

  26. Bubba Blue says:

    I don’t believe it. It sure doesn’t appeal to me. I suspect the finished product when it is officially announced will differ considerably from that rendering.

  27. kjazz says:

    To all the negativism…. this bike is certainly no more ( or possibly less ) a piece of “attempted art” than all the HD powered cruisers out there that are constantly assaulting our eyes. This one; however, is at least refreshing in the use of boxer motor. The gloss black and pin-striping is very retro/historical. The seating position is very WTF-were-they-thinking, and as far as heat coming off the cylinders…. my GS doesn’t put off any noticeable heat (oil head) therefore don’t see why this would put off an offensive amount. I’m no target for buying any cruiser, but gawd, at least this one is actually a bit unique.

    • Randybobandy says:

      Realism or negativism? I love the look but would need a chiropractor to dismount after a 10 minute ride. Knees higher than your bum doesn’t work for anyone over 25……….Sandra Bernhard is actually a bit unique. I wouldn’t volunteer to ride either one.

  28. G Hill says:

    I like it. Would be nice if it was a little smaller. Classic BMW Black. Tried out the Triumph Bobber, had to lean forward, and pegs too high, or would have got one. Still see the old Airheads running around. Love that look.

  29. G Hill says:

    I like it. Would be nice if it was a little smaller. Classic BMW Black. Tried out the Triumph Bobber, had to lean forward, and pegs too high, or would have got one.

  30. RCV says:

    BMW Bought on Monday and sold on Wednesday.. I can imagine the heat coming off those cylinders..Cant polish up a turd..Add mirrors and a license plate bracket and its not that ugly..Its mugly..

  31. Lawrence says:

    At least it can’t have forward controls.

  32. Randybobandy says:

    No tassels, or forward controls and no ape-hanger bars. I like it more than any Harley made since Kelly Leaks 2 stroke.

  33. Pete says:

    I just want the exhaust pipe to hang in my garage. You keep the rest.
    Not too bad for a custom cruiser though. Much better than an OCC anything.

  34. Tank says:

    It’s like a woman with enlarged breasts. After a certain size, it just looks weird.

  35. Trent says:

    I like the design, especially the dual discs up front and the flared exhaust. However, that engine is huge. I understand why they did it, but I’d prefer one that was maybe 1200 cc’s instead. Hopefully the tank hold more than 3 gallons.

  36. R9Trdr says:

    I like it, keep it simple like this! Less is more.

  37. Neal says:

    Shoulda been named the BMW PEN18. I have to admit it is a bit more restrained and functional than the Orange County Chopper or CVO Breakout overcompensating 3/4-life crisis “luxury” bikes its going to be completing against.

  38. Anonymous says:

    Cool looking bike. The production model will look quite a bit different.

  39. Vic says:

    They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder……

    Behold! That is ugly.

  40. allworld says:


  41. Max says:

    Nice looking bike aside from the cartoonishly large engine.

  42. John Bryan says:

    If the concept bike is truly an indication of where the production bike’s styling is headed then I say good for BMW – their last cruiser model was much to derivative of the then current style and didn’t capitalize on one of BMW’s strengths, its heritage. Now, does it really need to be as massive as this to succeed when the trend seems to be toward lighter and simpler? That’s what we’ll see as the production version rolls out.

  43. My2cents says:

    It’s a bobber and definitely not a cruiser. I think it’s very cool and striped to the basic elements. While many of BMW’s motorcycles are covered in acres of plastic this looks to be all metal. Can’t wait to see the final product.

  44. MattyD says:

    The production bike will probably have an oil cooler, notice the tube fittings near the bottom of the front of the sump, probably a heat exchanger delete, like a leaking heater coil was bypassed on the 70’s GM cars through the 80’s.
    What could look sweet is an oil cooler built into the front of the engine cover that would be slotted like in the first custom I saw, the Departed(?).
    I was a British motorcycle mechanic in ‘79, I bought a wrecked BMW R69S that summer and put a 1973 Triumph disc brake front end on to replace the bent Earles front end. With a Jammer solo seat with two coil springs, not only did it have lines very much like this concept bike, it stopped much better than stock.

  45. Stinky says:

    That is soooo much better than their last cruiser. It will be interesting to see how they deal with the torque reaction on a 1800. If I was a lazy chopper rider, I’d be 1st in line. If money and space were no object, I think it’d be fun to ride.

  46. Spider Watts says:

    It’s beautiful! I hope the price is reasonable. I wonder what kind of instrument cluster they will use. Great times still happening in our two wheel world.

  47. Grover says:

    It’s clean and uncluttered. That’s all I have to say.

  48. southbound says:

    I don’t quite get the negativism. Taken for what it IS, I’ve heard TONS of praise for bobbers from people who like BOBBERS. This looks like an excellent BOBBER effort. Softail, spokes, MASSIVE TORQUE (probably). It looks custom even though it fits into a “category”. Nice tank, exposed shaft, clean controls. I like the single injector tucked away. Personally I see a lot more positive than negative. BMW quality is not to be taken lightly, either.

  49. Anonymous says:

    If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, no one need fear being flattered by this fugly magnet dragged through a Pep. Boys parts bin.

  50. fred says:

    Different strokes for different folks. Thumbs down from me.

  51. RonH says:

    It’ll probably sell, mostly in Europe.

  52. dt-175 says:

    this thing would suck Pirsig’s chickenhawk into the left jug, pound it flat, and blow it thru the cat before Phaedrus even noticed that it runs on tubeless spokes…

  53. Ron Hopfner says:

    It’ll sell… mostly in Europe.

    • arbuz says:

      They specifically mentioned ‘premium’ motorcycle market.
      So It seems they want to target to folks who will pay for looks and sound.

      Not sure if that’s Europe…
      but may be you are right.

  54. Dan says:

    I recall what a joke BMW’s last attempt at a cruiser was in the 80’s, felt embarrassed for the folks that rode them

    • HalfBaked says:

      Dan I was one of those folks and apparently I was too ignorant to realize so maybe you could explain the joke to me. Do you think you could do that when you get a chance I’d really appreciate it.

    • Jeremy says:

      My take on the 1200C is the reverse of yours. I thought it was a fresh and exciting idea in a segment where fresh and exciting ideas are typically regarded as infectious diseases. It was a brave move that didn’t work out for BMW. This is also a pretty cool cruiser… Hope it works out better for them.

  55. goodlyRun says:

    Too little, too late.

  56. mickey says:

    No way BMW makes/sells that.

  57. TimC says:

    Seriously, this is about 5 different bikes crammed into 1.

  58. TimC says:

    The rear 3/4 view pic makes it clear. This is a hideous collision of various eras. Post-modern trash panda crap.

  59. gpokluda says:

    Well done. Not sure the bar-end brake levers and exposed drive shaft will make it past DOT. I like the look and the lines of the bike and how the engine is the focal point. BMW will probably sell loads of them. If I were in the market, my money with go to the Triumph Bobber.

    I can already hear the whining: Where will I mount my tourpak? Where’s the center stand? Are there side racks for may panniers?

    • Ron Hopfner says:

      The exposed drive shaft is probably safer than an exposed chain. They’ll probably put a guard over the top for production.

    • RonH says:

      The exposed drive shaft is probably safer than an exposed chain. They’ll probably put a guard over the top for production.

  60. paul says:

    My neighbour a few doors down has already done this with an older Goldwing and it is a fantastic looking and sounding bike. It is all gloss black with a small amount of chrome, very understated. I wish he would send pictures of it to Honda. I love it whenever he rides down the street. The cylinder heads on this BMW just look too big, almost goofy, but otherwise she is nice.

  61. Tank says:

    The title of this article should have been “If You Can’t Beat Em, Join Em”.

  62. Anonymous says:

    Beautifully done.

    Looks miserable to ride.

    • Superlight says:

      I didn’t think being easy to ride was a cruiser requirement, while “looking cool” is.

    • Dave says:

      That’s a good looking cruiser. It’ll be interesting to see how it changes from concept/custom to production. The air box, emissions gear, and likely liquid cooling will be particularly challenging to hide or disguise on a minimalist design like this.

    • gpokluda says:

      It’s German engineered. You will ride it and you will like it.

  63. Montana says:

    As usual, BMW comes to the party 30 years too late.

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