Most of the cruisers available in the market draw power from a V-twin engine. I have experienced such motors in Harleys and Indians. But recently, I got a chance to swing my leg over a new power cruiser all the way from Germany, that runs on a gigantic Boxer engine. Yes, you guessed it right, it is none other than the new BMW R 18 First Edition.
I had the motorcycle with me for a weekend. Just like a kid seeing a new toy, I, too, was ecstatic to have the BMW R 18 First Edition all by myself. It was indeed a great feeling having to ride, that too such a beautiful and powerful motorcycle, after so long considering the Covid-19 pandemic situation. So, here is my review of the R 18 First Edition.
Looks and Design
BMW Motorrad has, once again, put me in awe. The R 18 is one gorgeous-looking motorcycle. It has features and elements that provide an optimal combination of retro and modern aesthetics. For instance, the dual fishtail exhausts finished in chrome are attention-seeker. Similarly, the flowing lines, the shape of the fuel tank, and the low seat height impart a commanding road presence.
There is no doubt that all the features and design elements of the BMW R 18 First Edition have a purpose to fulfil, however, I think the showstopper has to be the gigantic 1802cc Boxer engine. It not only brings this cruiser to life but also plays a significant role in the motorcycle’s overall aesthetics.
Engine and Performance
The 1802cc Boxer engine of the BMW R 18 First Edition is the largest displacement Boxer engine that BMW Motorrad has ever built. It starts with a distinctive sound and while doing so shakes the entire motorcycle a little just like how a typical, large Boxer engine should. It is indeed a character that should be appreciated by enthusiasts.
The motor is capable of producing 91 HP at 4750 rpm and generates 157 Nm of torque at 3000 rpm. The output figures might not sound much to many but one should not judge a motorcycle by its spec sheet. Yes, the numbers are important but even more important is how the bike feels to ride, what’s its character, and are you enjoying it.
On these lines, I found the BMW R 18 First Edition to be a fantastic machine. It has more than sufficient juice to attain high speeds, make quick overtakes, and also chug along just fine in traffic. Surprisingly, the heat management on this motorcycle is phenomenal. The humongous engine does not heat up as I rode long distances even in high ambient temperatures. So, kudos to the engineers for that.
Ride and Handling
Thanks to the low seat height, I found the BMW R 18 First Edition to be quite easy to maneuver. It also inspired confidence in me to actually ride this thing because it is indeed a big motorcycle. On the downside, the position of the footpegs isn’t so great. Your legs aren’t stretched as is the case with most of the cruisers. This might get annoying for some, especially when riding long distances. And this becomes a point of even more concern because the R 18 First Edition misses out on Cruise Control, something that I had expected it to have.
Another aspect of the BMW R 18 First Edition that impressed me is the gearbox. It works flawlessly. Moving up and down the cogs is a breeze and I faced no issues whatsoever. Also, the braking on this machine is commendable. The anchoring duties are handled by twin 300mm rotors at the front with 4-piston calipers and a single 300mm rotor at the back with also a 4-pot caliper. The entire setup is further aided by BMW Motorrad Integral ABS that ensures the motorcycle is brought to a stop without a fuss.
No motorcycle is a perfect motorcycle. And the BMW R 18 First Edition is no exception. However, even with its small niggles, it somehow feels complete. Perhaps, that is its true nature and character – elegant yet raw. It certainly brings a smile to your face with its exhaust note and low-end torque. And there are no two ways about the fact that the R 18 First Edition is 100% attention-grabber. It demands road presence and respect. As for the pricing, this model retails at AED 95,000 in the UAE.