BMW R18 Review


The BMW R 18 was introduced in April 2020 before an official launch in Germany in September the same year. It's BMW Mottorad's second attempt to infiltrate the cruiser market, after the R1200C, which is heavily dominated by other brands such as Harley Davidson, Indian, and British Triumph. Most recently the R 18 100 Years was launched to celebrate the 100 year history of BMW Motorrad and its original bike, the R32.

Our BMW R18 review will cover all of the variants of the model to help you identify their differences and choose which will be the best option for you and your needs.

Model Variants

R 18

The standard R 18 model has been designed with the history of Motorrad in mind whilst also making way for a new era with the boxer engine with the largest capacity that they've ever built forming the heart of the bike.

Equipment includes an LED headlight, LED tail light, LED flashing turn indicator, 12V socket, revolution counter, on board computer, keyless ride, and one key for all locks. It's also got three driving modes named Rock, Roll, and Rain which will give you a varying throttle response, traction control, and how much the automatic stability control intervenes in your driving.

The two-cylinder four-stroke boxer engine is air/oil cooled with two chain-driven camshafts above the drive shaft. The advantage of this type of engine is minimal vibration, a low centre of gravity, and a shorter engine length. BMW is well known for its horizontally opposed boxer twin engines so it's well tested. The seat height is set at 690mm with the option to add on additional height in your configuration if necessary.

You'll have front suspension telescopic fork and twin brake discs with four piston calipers and single brake discs and steel swinging fork with a central shock strut rear suspension. The front and rear calipers are linked and controlled by the integral ABS which means that when you pull the front brake lever it will activate the rear brake too.

All BMW R18 models currently use the largest two-cylinder boxer engine built for a BMW motorcycle at 1802cc. It'll give you 91HP and maximum torque of 158 Nm at 3000 rpm. The usable fuel capacity is approximately 16 litres, with 4 litres lying in reserve. It offers a six speed gearbox with fuel consumption relatively good at 5.6-5.8 l/100km depending on which variant is been driven.

The R 18 First Edition adds hill start control, headlight pro, adaptive headlight, daytime riding light First Edition pack, and dynamic engine brake control. It also has additional styling such as the First Edition badging on the bike and seat, pinstriping detail on the key, oil tank, and rear wheel cover, and chrome plating across the bike.

The BMW R18 starts at £17,480 and the First Edition starts at £19,000.

BMW R 18

R 18 100 Years

This is a limited edition model with only 1923 being produced in celebration of 100 years since the first BMW bike, the R32, was produced. BMW Motorrad describe it as "a model for absolute aficionados that conveys a feeling of nostalgia."

Some of the characteristics of the bike include the drop-shaped fuel tank with white lines which unmistakably belonged to the R 5 model as early as 1936. Elsewhere each model produced will have the 100 Years badging with text that read "1 of 1923", a truly unique model to own.

It's finished in Classic Chrome styling which includes Black Storm metallic paint with chrome surfaces throughout and line markings in Light White. To integrate the engine and gearbox housing seamlessly these are powder coated in Avus Black metallic matt.

The 100 Years model also comes with an Option 719 seat which has diamond stitching, two different grains, and is matched to the paintwork. The 100 Years styling also includes reverse gear, cruise control, Headlight Pro, heated grips, and a black engine transmission to pull the entire bike together.

The BMW R18 100 Years starts at £21,210.

BMW R 18

R 18 Classic

The R 18 Classic a touring variant of the R 18 model with it being marketed as the "modern interpretation of a cruiser" which "confidently exhibits the style of times gone by."

This includes features such as the double cradle frame, drip tank, exposed shaft drive, and the paintwork details which reflect the boxer of 1936. These are matched with more modern elements such as the telescopic fork and the exposed cantilever shock absorber for a real balance in style.

The Classic model also adds saddlebags and a passengers seat, meaning that it's ideal for a trip. The saddlebags have a 15.5 litre capacity and come with removable liners to make transferring items easy and can be removed when you don't need them.

The standard paint option is Black Storm Metallic and you can upgrade to Manhattan (khaki) metallic matt or Mars Red metallic but it also offers Option 719 paint too. This is either Galaxy Dust/Titan Silver, which shines blueish to violet based on the lighting with contrasting silver, or Mineral White Metallic which is matched with Meteoric dust metallic paint with golden lines.

The BMW R18 Classic starts at £19,540.

BMW R 18 Classic

R 18 B

The R 18 B is a cruiser designed with customisation in mind both in terms of design and the additional equipment that you choose to compliment your needs.

One of the most striking features of the R 18 B is the cockpit. Comprised of four analogue dials an a 10.25 inch LCD display that shows everything from fuel gauge levels to map navigation at a glance. The display is in full colour so that the information is legible at all times and runs on a Motorrad equivalent of BMW's iDrive system, so you know that it's going to be efficient.

Additional touches include the Marshall Gold Series Stage 1 grey cover grilles that conceal additionally refined sound quality from four speakers, a front trim panel that's installed on the handlebars for additional protection from the elements, and the permanently installed cases that are integrated into the overall design for that bagger look.

The BMW R18 B starts at £22,450.

BMW R 18 B

R 18 Transcontinental

For luxurious travelling you can look no further than the R 18 Transcontinental. It has been designed with customisation and comfort at the forefront.

It offers the highest seat height of all R 18 models at 740mm although you have the option to raise it further or lower it with additional options such as the Comfort Seat High, which adds 20mm additional height, or the Dual Seat Low, which reduces the seat height by 20mm. This offers great flexibility for your preferred riding position

Standard features on the R 18 Transcontinental include dynamic cruise control, automatic stability control, dynamic engine braking, reverse assist, and hill start control all guarantee more safety and a better ride quality.

This model also benefits from the 10.25 inch full colour TFT display and can be paired with Marshall Gold Series Stage 2 which offers six speakers for maximum sound quality.

The BMW R18 Transcontinental starts at £25,160. 

BMW R 18 Transcontinental


The BMW R 18 has been well worth its wait thanks to its variety of models and uses. BMW Motorrad also offers an excessive accessories catalogue to allow you to mix and match features that are important to you to create your dream bike.

Whether you like the unique feeling to the First Edition or the 100 Years or like the flexibility of the Classic the R 18 offers options for everyone.

Our teams at BMW Motorrad in Aberdeen and Tayside are knowledgeable and always available to answer any further questions that you might have about any of these models.