BMW R18B (2021 - on) Review


  • The bagger version of BMW's big cruiser
  • Large, comfortable and powerful
  • Fully laden with tech, myriad options on offer

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 4.5 out of 5 (4.5/5)
Annual servicing cost: £350
Power: 89 bhp
Seat height: Low (28.3 in / 720 mm)
Weight: High (878 lbs / 398 kg)


New £21,500
Used £10,500 - £16,000

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
3 out of 5 (3/5)

A little over one year since BMW launched the R18 First Edition, they’ve followed it up with two new models: the R18B (for bagger) and the R18 Transcontinental. In 2023, the BMW R18 Roctane joined the line-up, too.

Just like the R18 before, which took aim squarely at the Harley-Davidson softail range, the R18B is clearly fixed on H-D’s Street Glide.

BMW R18B static shot from right-hand side

In many ways the R18B is a marvel bringing with it levels of tech that the cruiser market just isn’t used to.

Unfortunately you pay for those features not only with your wallet but on the scales too, with its near 400kg weight keenly felt.

It also seems BMW have taken their eyes of the ball with some of the basics including less than stellar handling and intrusive engine vibrations. Compared to its nearest rival (the Street Glide), it’s heavier, produces less torque and is more expensive.

It’s a halfway decent first stab but it goes to show just how well Harley have refined the formula over the last 118 years.

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
4 out of 5 (4/5)

Unlike the Classic, where BMW just bolted on a few bits, this change to a bagger attitude required some serious reengineering.

For a start there’s a brand-new frame – the twin steel loop remains but it’s seriously reinforced along the backbone. The neck of the frame also extends forwards to account for the big fairing, while the yokes are reversed to keep the steering sensible. It’s also got a steeper head angle than the R18 while the overall wheelbase is actually 30mm shorter.

The R18B is otherwise a very comfortable machine. The seat is a complete delight, while the giant fairing blocks the wind comfortably at even autobahn speeds. There was no discernible buffeting for this 5'7" tester but taller riders might have different experiences.

The BMW R18B can be forgiven for not handling like a Fireblade given it's a 400kg cruiser

The rest of the riding position was spot on too and even on longer more relaxing stretches I never found myself missing the foot-forward position big cruisers are known for.

The suspension too was a delight and a serious improvement over the standard R18. From the get-go it always stood a better chance as the travel at the rear has increased to 120mm, while the B also sports an auto-preload function.

The result is not only improved ground clearance (although it doesn’t take too sharp a corner to scrape the pegs) but also a vastly more comfortable ride. It would take an extreme pothole or ripple in the road for a jarring reaction with only long-legged adventure bikes really taking those in their stride. That said the handling isn’t the R18’s finest point.

Cornering on the BMW R18B

The R18B seems to be hesitant a little on tip in, requiring a good bit of muscle to turn. The result is a bit of a disconnect with the sensation that the B seems to want to run on deep into corners, or fifty pence it around turning one bend into three.

Once in it’s fine but changes in direction are sluggish, no doubt because you’re trying to shift around nearly 400kg. You get used to it after while but I never felt entirely comfortable.

The brakes do a decent job of slowing up such a hefty machine and because they’re linked if you really want you can pretty much do it all with the rear pedal.


Next up: Reliability
3 out of 5 (3/5)

The R18B is powered by the same 1802cc boxer twin that first debuted in the R18 last year.

Nothing has changed mechanically so it produces 89bhp at 4750rpm and 116.5 ftlb at 3000rpm, with 110ftlb of that available from 2000-4000rpm.

As you might expect that means performance is remarkably similar to the standard model however the delivery is dulled by the extra weight. Where the standard R18 is reasonably spritely off the line, the B is like riding attached to a giant elastic. The speed arrives, it just seems to work a lot harder to get there.

The BMW R18B's engine

In the B though the engine brings something new that, being honest, is entirely unwanted: vibrations. At a standstill the bars and fairing shake side to side madly like there’s some earthworks being attended to nearby.

Build up to the middle of the rev range and the mirrors resemble an oil painting, while your fingers begin to tingle.

Rev it harder towards the redline and the vibrations become seriously intrusive, numbing your feet and turning the saddle into an makeshift paintmixer. A quick spin on a standard R18 revealed nowhere near the same amount of vibes, so I can only assume it’s the weight of the fairing and associated kit on the forks causing the issue.

There are vibrations from this engine that can get annoying but the BMW R18B does have some character as a result

I should add if you cruise along gently keeping the revs below about 2500 and it’s perfectly pleasant – it’s only when you go chasing revs that the issues arise.

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The fit and finish of everything on the R18B is top notch with the chrome details of the ‘First Edition’ model particularly flashy. There are a couple of missed steps, the relays and wiring around the battery are clearly visible from the right hand side, which to be honest looks ugly.

The wiring at the headstock is also tightly wrapped and flexes around one kink every time you move the bars, which sounds ‘warranty’ alarm bells to us. It’s far too early in the model life to make guesses about reliability but the standard model has been on sale for a year so far with no major issues.

There's a lot to go wrong on the BMW R18B but the company have been building this stuff for a long time now

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
2 out of 5 (2/5)

This is where the R18B really struggles. In standard trim the bike costs £21,500 but you don’t get any of the good stuff that makes the bike enjoyable (or in some cases rideable).

The ‘First Edition’ pack, which includes the pinstriping and extra chrome costs £2150, headlight pro is £475, central locking is £255, locking fuel filler £50, hill start £100, e-call is £305, Marshall sound system £750, tyre pressure £230, radar cruise £500 while the most essential of all – reverse gear – is £940.

Reverse gear is an option on the BMW R18B

All in you’re looking at a complete bill of £27,495 for the full package. A Street Glide Special by contrast costs £24,495 and includes lots of those things as standard.

The sat-nav in the Glide is a proper built in system too, which doesn’t rely on a smartphone to work. It’s also quicker, and slicker, to operate because of that.

The big question in the long term is how the R18B will hold its value. BMW are known for good residuals but it’s only certain models. If the R18 doesn’t sell as well as BMW hope and it gets canned in a couple of years, just like the R1200C, then the residual values will struggle.


5 out of 5 (5/5)

One area where the B does excel is the technology. The model we rode had every option ticked and it was positively bristling with the latest gadgets.

Everything from adaptive cruise control to a four-way sound system and, like most BMWs, it performed flawlessly. The whole lot is run through the giant 10.25" full colour TFT dash, which has come across from the R1250RT.

The 10.25-inch screen the BMW R18B uses comes from a long line of the firm's cars

It takes some getting used to begin with but once you’re clued up it presents heaps of info in a clear and easy to read way, while also giving access to mapping, phonecalls, music and bike status.

All that said I just can’t help but feel BMW should have spent a bit less time on stuffing the B full of whizz bang tech and a bit more time sorting out the basics of what makes a good bike.

If you’re a serious music lover the Marshall Stage 1 sound upgrade (£750) is a worthy spend. As well as upgrading the units in the fairing, it also sticks a pair of subwoofers into the panniers. Trebles are crisp, mids sing and the bass thumps virtually as loud as you want it to go. Audible to well above motorway speeds before you’ve even turned it up to 11.

If the options list wasn’t long enough with ‘pro’ this and ‘adaptive’ that BMW also have a huge range of accessories to go along with the R18 range. It covers everything from small stuff such as levers and footrests, to bigger things like handlebars and wheels. If you want to turn it into a fully blinged up '60s style chopper all you’ll need is an order form and a credit card.

There are loads of optional extras available for the BMW R18B


Engine size 1802cc
Engine type Air-cooled boxer twin
Frame type Twin loop steel cradle with reinforced backbone
Fuel capacity 24 litres
Seat height 720mm
Bike weight 398kg
Front suspension 49mm RWU forks, 120mm travel
Rear suspension Monoshock with electronic preload, 120mm travel
Front brake 300mm twin disc, linked
Rear brake 300mm single disc, linked
Front tyre size -
Rear tyre size -

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption -
Annual road tax £117
Annual service cost £350
New price £21,500
Used price £10,500 - £16,000
Insurance group -
How much to insure?
Warranty term -

Top speed & performance

Max power 89 bhp
Max torque 116 ft-lb
Top speed -
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range -

Model history & versions

Model history

  • 2021: Bike launched.

Other versions

Owners' reviews for the BMW R18B (2021 - on)

4 owners have reviewed their BMW R18B (2021 - on) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your BMW R18B (2021 - on)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 4.8 out of 5 (4.8/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 4.8 out of 5 (4.8/5)
Engine: 4.5 out of 5 (4.5/5)
Reliability & build quality: 4.5 out of 5 (4.5/5)
Value vs rivals: 4.8 out of 5 (4.8/5)
Equipment: 4.5 out of 5 (4.5/5)
Annual servicing cost: £350
4 out of 5
21 August 2023 by JT

Year: 2022

Best feature is, it's quite unique with it's 1800 boxer engine get's lot of attention where ever you go. Worst feature is weight, even with reverse in low speeds you can feel it's massive weight only saving thing is weight is low down so you can manage it.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

Not made for speed fod sure coming from K1600, R18 has it limitations on leaning angle so cornering with speed keeps your adreanile going, breaks are good and they are light

Engine 5 out of 5

Lot of grunt usable revs are between 2000-3500rpm going hire revs just get you more vibrations not power.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

TFT screen linking to the phone with sat nav not so good, should have built in sat nav or apple play

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

Bike is too new to have that experience but coming from K1600B can't be anything more....

Equipment 5 out of 5

On limited edition you have all the equipment you would wish for, one thing I'm missing is engine oil temperature I could easily swap gimmic used power indicator for it

Buying experience: BMW dealership is brilliant place to buy a bike they really look after you.

5 out of 5 Great bang for your buck
03 August 2023 by shawnski

Year: 2023

Annual servicing cost: £400

Terrific value compared to rivals. I paid 21300 OTD for my R18B with incentives from BMW including 4 months free payments. It has all the tech you will ever need heated seat and heated grips and adaptive cruise control. Never thought I would need or use the ACC but it works flawlessly and comes in handy on longer highway type rides. HD and Indian OTD prices are over 30 grand and do not come with haft the features this R18B has. I will say having owned a Indian and a Hd both baggers it does take a bit of getting use to the layout of foot controls and leg position. It's just a different kind of bike. I do wish it had a little bit more power the Indian and HD i owned seemed a bit more powerful. The 4 speaker Marshall sound system once i dialed it in is pretty good. This is a great bike but is not for everybody because it is a bit different which is why I like it better than my Indian or HD i owned. ( i owned a 2017 Indian chieftain and a 2021 HD road glide).

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Brakes are fantastic and it rides really nice way better than my chieftain and about the same as my Harley.

Engine 4 out of 5

this is the only thing i would improve on it could use about 10 more ponies and 10 more FP of torque.

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

Fit and fish and attention to detail is awesome. The chrome shaft drive is so cool. Not a signal issue so far.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

It is a BMW. first service was over 400$ the most expensive first service out of all the bikes i have owned. (24 bikes in total).

Equipment 5 out of 5

i added a better windscreen it also helps with the audio quality. You can here the music much betterwith a better wind screen. I absolutely love the ACC (never though i would say that) and the reverse gear (the bike is heavy) and the heated grips and seat are standard on this bike, you have to pay extra for this on an Indian or HD on top of the ridiculous price.

Buying experience: The dealer i bought my bike from was the best dealer I've ever been too straight forward NO BS the price on the internet was the price of the bike with BMW incentives no additional ridiculous FEES or add ons. I am amazed at the fees by Indian and HD dealers they add on thousands in fees its ridiculous and not necessary their bikes are already overpriced. MAXBMW in New Hampshire.

5 out of 5 Best in class
02 May 2023 by Flash G

Version: Soft panniers, screen, heated grips, reverse, double seat, foot plates, LED lighting kit all stock

Year: 2022

Annual servicing cost: £400

There is a vibration but its more of a buzz from the engine at higher rpms and its reducing as she breaks in and frees up. Hardly noticeable now and with all that torque I never need to rev it out too often anyway. The pulsation or throbbing is what I love about the bike, gives it soul, the lumpy idle in ROCK mode sounds great. On a run with the BMW club last Sunday thought some awesome winding roads with sweepers as well I tried to scrape it but couldn't touch down. Rear suspension is slow to react and caught me twice on Sunday on innocent enough dips in the road surface. I'd fix that, tried adjusting the rear preload but no real improvement.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

As I said on the club ride it does it all, I'm not a knee down sport bike rider but I can run with them, the bike inspires so much confidence. Mind you I could do that on my Fatboy and Switchback as well (after suspension mods) but they didn't feel as planted and balanced as this bike. Just that ride harshness on sudden bumps when the rear bottoms out. Brakes are brilliant.

Engine 5 out of 5

As a boxer lover on my 6th boxer model now, 2 x R100RS, 2xR1200c, 1 x Ural, R18, is it the best? Maybe the 1978R100RS felt the best, the most relaxed and ready. The 1982 JPS R100RS, with the lighter flywheel yeah/nah by comparison. The two R1200c were excellent and held their own against any H-D but the R18 is and feels the big Daddy. 45 years between my first and latest and I'm far from disappointed.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

Everything works and has worked, great lighting for night riding, no faults at all but marked down one because the cruise controls seem not to give positive movement. For example you thumb it across for resume but it doesn't seem to move at all and takes two or three goes to see if its going to resume at all, by which time you've dropped 15kmh and have to start all over. Same feel with the indicators, there's none and you have to check if they're working with a glance at the dash. They always are working.

Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

Just like when riding a Harley they tend to see you coming at bike shops and parts shops and charge accordingly. Despite their configurator saying they have all sorts of accessories they have not much at all (in NZ) I wanted a better seat and while they list them they don't have them and referred me to Corbin direct. Those guys were great but by the time it had arrived it cost about double what I'd expect to have to pay from a stock selection.

Equipment 4 out of 5

It needs some way of knowing what's left in the tank. I'm sure I could flick through the modes but the readouts aren't readily visible on the move - not to me anyway and there seems to be three of the many display modes that look the same without close inspection. They'd be current fuel consumption, average fuel consumption, the third might be distance to empty but I never think to look when at a standstill. All the other stuff I list above is a great level of standard equipment - except I forgot to mention cruise control.

Buying experience: It took me over a year to finally get one, the whole time with NZ$43,000 (the sticker price for a first edition) burning a hole in my pocket. There was a lot of fuss before they were launched with dealers saying they'd sold out of the first shipment already. Then one would pop up, I'd ask for a price with this or that basic config and never get a reply. One came to town with a BMW rider's rally as a display bike. I tried to buy it then and there but no. Finally I noticed a few come available and that BMW had dumped the price so when I finally got mine it was around NZ$12k less than I thought I'd have to pay the year before. I could go on about other experiences in the buying process but its disgusting really how they let such a great brand down. So then the dealer handed it over in a big ceremony in a special handover room and I rode it 380km home only to discover it was 2L down on engine oil (about 2 quarts) I topped it up and its never moved in 3500km since so its obvious to me they'd never checked it in the predelivery process. The first service at yet another dealership was about as bad. Special Instructions ignored relating to checking for possible damage from the low oil situation when new. They never checked tyre pressures, just seemed perfunctory and rammed through. I'll do my own now thanks, I don't mind paying but I accuracy in the task and value for the money.

5 out of 5 True owners view of r18b
25 April 2022 by Guzzialan

Year: 2022

Annual servicing cost: £240

Highly recommended Best feature is the handling compared to mainstream classic baggers Worst feature is Bmw app for the satnav/media. It’s crap!!

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Coming from an Electra glide, this bike , fresh,and newly designed ,is so much better than the glide. It might be weighty but feels far lighter and easier to handle at low speed and paddling it around. It’s handling is to me and for what the bike is , is exemplary. It just does what you expect with zero Wobbles, no bucks mid corner, certainly does not flop into corners and the counter steer needed that some testers report is barley noticeable especially compared to the glide which used to knacker me out after an all day ride in the hills. This really is a fab all day bike that to me is beautifully balanced. Vibration that testers talk about , again is barley discernible. It shakes at a stand still but that’s it. I bought without testing because one wasn’t available ( shame on you Bmw) and when taking it out of the show room was a little worried that it was going to be awful on the long haul home. But was amazed at how blinking smooth it was. Yes it feels alive but that’s the whole point surely. Do not worry about vibes, you won’t feel them. Brakes are great, you just need to pull the lever, Hard, harder and then harder again and it works just not like a sporty bike. The harder you pull the lever the slower you go, with no fade. It’s all about the physics see.

Engine 4 out of 5

We always want more power , true, but actually we don’t need it do we? I could say that another 20 bhp with another 20 foot pound of tourque would be perfect, but if it had it, I probably would say exactly the same again. What you find after a lengthy time on the bike is that the power available is just great, with a great tug of torque out of corners and overtaking is carefree with the available power. Motorway riding is fab too with cruising speeds at 70/90 very natural and reserves for overtaking aplenty ( it is a cruiser remember)

Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5

The quality is just fantastic, so clean and uncluttered

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

Not had a big service yet. But sure it will be comparable to other large bmw machines

Equipment 4 out of 5

4 out of five because of this. Ditch the Bmw app and put In It’s place Apple car play, simple!!! Plus, standard marshall speakers are just normal unless you pay for the gold upgrade. Poor choice Bmw on a bike this expensive!!!

Buying experience: Bought from dealer and Bmw know how to do it well.

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