News Riding

2021 BMW R 18 takes cues from 1936 R 5

BMW Motorrad has been building motorcycles for almost 100 years, so when the company decided to reach back in time for styling and no-frills technology for a new cruiser it had plenty of bikes to choose from.

The exercise resulted in the 2021 BMW R 18 cruiser, which BMW Motorrad says “borrows from famous models such as the BMW R 5 both technologically and visually, shifting the focus back onto the motorcycle essentials: purist, no-frills technology and the boxer engine as the epicenter of riding pleasure.”

The BMW R 5 was introduced in 1936.

The 2021 BMW R 18 is powered by a 1,802cc two-cylinder “Big Boxer” engine that produces a peak 91 horsepower at 4,750 rpm and 116 foot-pounds of torque at 3,000 rpm. Concerning the torque, BMW reports that more than 110 foot-pounds are available from 2,000 to 4,000 rpm.

The bike has a rigid-frame look with its double-loop steel tube frame and rear swing arm with an enclosed axle drive, telescopic fork with fork sleeves, cantilever suspension strut and wire-spoked wheels. The R 18 also has twin discs up front and a single disc in the back with four-piston fixed calipers to handle stopping chores.

“The new R 18 will be offered worldwide as an exclusive R 18 First Edition right from the start of production, with a standard model reserved additionally for certain markets,” BMW says. “It combines the R 18 look with exclusive equipment features in a classic black finish with white pinstriped paintwork. Other highlights include numerous chrome surfaces, a seat badge and a ‘First Edition’ chrome clasp on the side covers.”

Other highlights include remote control start, optional reverse assist for convenient maneuvering and Hill Start Control for easy hill starts, exclusive look in paint and chrome for the R 18 First Edition and an extensive range of optional extras.

MSRP: First Edition: $19,870. Base model: $17,495. Info: