BMW R18: Berlin's Pride Is A Cruiser Of ‘Future Past'
xBhp|December 2020 - January 2021
Here’s all about the first-ride experience of the nostalgic and ecstatic BMW R18 First Edition
Karan Singh Bansatta

REMEMBER when the pictures of the BMW R18 first surfaced online? It had the motorcyclists all over the world swooning over it. And we aren’t talking about cruiser fans only. Nearly every motorcyclist around the world took notice of what BMW made in the form of the R18. We got a closer look at it recently and now, here we are with the first-ride impressions of it. Time for a story? You bet!

In order to be able to tell this story with all the emotions intact, we have to start with some examples. Imagine Ryan Reynolds, the Deadpool, in a sob-fest rom-com. Does it work? No, because we don’t see Reynolds that way. Imagine Jason Statham from The Transporter series in Dear John… or Al Pacino in Letters to Juliet. Doesn’t work, right?

The reason is pre-conceived notions or the process of being ‘typecast’. You see someone doing something very different than they generally do, Bam... it feels out of place. Not that it is not possible, but it just seems unlikely. Another typical example of this is the Germans being serious people. Brilliant engineers, but serious people. And again, shattering this motion, for real, is a German which is laid-back, relaxed, believes in enjoying the little things in life and last but not the least, is a fan of Rock’n’Roll! The BMW R18.

First and foremost, This is not the first cruiser from BMW. That accolade, if you want to call it that, goes to BMW R1200C and its 850cc follow-up. Those... were less than stellar. The R18, their next attempt at making a cruiser though, is an absolute home run! It looks amazing, it has a huge engine (visually too), it seems laid back and well, it has Rock and Roll as riding modes!

One of the things that really works in the favour of the BMW R18 is that it takes its cues from the BMW R5 from 1935. That motorcycle in mine, and the opinion of many others, is one of the most beautiful motorcycles ever made. That alone was enough to deem the R18 a winner but it has a lot more than just heritage going for it.

Let’s talk about styling first. It has vintage cues, of course. But it is the way the modern bits have been blended that make it look absolutely smashing. Take the headlight for example. Rounded, chromed and it harkens back to the R5 but the LED setup reminds you that the Germans are aware that it is 2020.

Then there’s the single-pod instrument cluster but with more than enough tell-tale lamps cleverly hidden away. It is also beautifully illuminated and sports the Berlin-Built badge which not only tells that the R18 is built in the Berlin-Spandau factory of BMW but also shows the amount of pride BMW Motorrad has garnished the R18 with.

Then there’s the white pinstripe of the tank (exclusive to the First Edition). Just look at it and admire the beauty that can be found in the simplest of things. The massive boxer engine is proudly displayed and is, more or less, the centrepiece of the motorcycle.

Like any other modern engine, it has 4 valve heads but they are still operated via pushrods activated by the dual camshafts. And the camshafts, in turn, are driven by the crankshaft via a chain. BMW says all this and the use of shorter pushrods provides better control of the valve timing. We believe it is just their way of showing off their famed engineering prowess and maintaining that modern-classic amalgamation.

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