BMW have unveiled an all-new, stylish classic cruiser that looks set to take on Harley-Davidson in the near future. The R18 concept bike is a radical machine and shows that BMW are keen to woo cruiser and custom bike buyers.
Stripped down and raked out, the Concept R18 is not only a statement of BMW’s intentions, but also what their designers and engineers are capable of. From the total lack of switchgear, to the fishtail exhausts every single detail of the bike has been meticulously considered.
"This bike is not about being the fastest," says Edgar Heinrich, BMW Motorrad Head of Design. "This bike is about making an analogue statement in a digital age. BMW has a rich history of iconic motorcycles and they bear the same design characteristics. We believe that this can still work well today, together with current technology.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen the R18 engine – BMW gave one to Custom Works Zon and another to Revival Cycles to get their take on it – but it’s the first time we’ve seen anything from the mothership.
BMW say that this bike is a tribute to the original 1936 R5 (below) and more recent R5 Concepts, but with a bit more meat in the engine department. The 21in (front) and 18in (rear) wheels give it a classic stance and the much-loved leaf-shaped saddle looks like it’s come straight of a 1950s Beemer.
The rest of the bike is dripping with stylish touches such as polished head covers, subtle shading and the teardrop tank. Even the pinstriping and Metzeler Rille tyres give it that cool custom vibe. Then there’s the completely open shaft drive, cantilever suspension, open carbs and a tiny LED light nestled between the fork legs. Even if you don’t like the style, you can appreciate the workmanship.
BMW have admitted that they are planning a whole range of cruisers later this year. Until now BMW’s heritage range has made do with engines from existing models, so to create a whole new engine platform for one bike seems unlikely.
We’ve already seen spy pics of a big bagger but it’s possible BMW will also present smaller, stripped-back bikes to compete with Harley-Davidson’s ever-popular Softail range as well as the likes of the Triumph Bobber.
BMW have said they will unveil the production bikes later this year, most likely at the EICMA motorcycle show in November but if this tantalising taste of what’s to come bears any resemblance to the finished articles, we’re going to be in for a treat...
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