The second version of BMW’s classically-inspired R18 cruiser, the R 18 Classic, has arrived in Australia.
Joining the base model variant that debuted last year, the R 18 Classic is a simpler version of the R 18 that comes with many touring-specific features as standard.
The big 1802cc boxer twin is unchanged as the bike’s focal point, and while a “no frills technology” tag suggests the R18 Classic is lacking in rider assistance features, there’s still ABS, ASC, three riding modes, keyless starting and running, cruise control and dynamic engine braking control as standard.
Three grades will be available: the base R 18 Classic; R 18 Classic Custom; and R 18 Classic Deluxe. The differences are in the standard features, with the Custom and Classic adding items that are extra-cost options on the base model.
BMW Motorrad Australia General Manager Andreas Lundgren said the R 18 Classic was the ideal complement to the brand’s expanding line-up.
“The R 18 Classic brings a host of iconic touches and features to our first-ever cruiser, the R 18, which made a huge impression on the local market at launch last year,” Mr Lundgren said.
“The R 18 and R 18 Classic showcase BMW’s manufacturing and design expertise with a product that delivers incredible road presence and amazing levels of riding enjoyment. Performance or presence, that ‘Big Boxer’ is truly an engine to behold.”
Big Boxer, Beefy Frame
At the heart of the new R 18 Classic is the same 1802cc boxer twin that powers the already-available R 18. The most powerful two-cylinder boxer engine ever developed by BMW for series production, the ‘big boxer’ offers a maximum 67kW (91hp) at 4750rpm, with more than 150Nm of torque available from 2000 to 4000rpm and a 158Nm peak at 3000rpm.
Matched to a six-speed transmission and shaft drive, the big boxer is capable of propelling the R 18 Classic to a top speed of more than 180km/h.
Containing the big boxer is an equally big steel frame in double cradle configuration with screwed-on underbeams, which is unchanged from the launch R 18. Suspension is also unchanged, made up of a 49mm tele fork front and monoshock swingarm rear. Listed travel is 120mm at the front and 90mm at the rear. As the R 18 Classic is deliberately low-tech, there’s only manual preload adjustment and it’s only available at the rear.
Sixteen-inch wire spoke wheels feature front and rear (unlike the 19-inch front on the regular R 18), with a 130/90 B16 front and 180/65 B16 rear tyre, while braking is made up of twin 300mm discs up front and a single 300mm disc at the rear, with four-piston calipers at each end and integral ABS.
Made to Cruise
Because the R 18 Classic's boxer twin makes a traditional feet-forward cruiser stance impossible, BMW offer the next best thing in what they call “mid-mounted” footpegs.
Rider seat height is a low 710mm, with an adjustable windscreen as standard, and adjustable levers for added comfort. Three riding modes – Rock, Roll and Rain – adjust the throttle response and ABS interference to suit different riding conditions, with other standard tech including cruise control, engine drag torque control, disengageable automatic stability control and a proximity key that allows keyless starting and riding.
Saddlebags with 15.5-litre capacity are standard fitment, requiring a new set of exhaust pipes to suit, with other standard features across the Classic range including a 12-volt socket and auxiliary lights as part of a full LED lighting package.
To this basic package in the R 18 Classic, the R 18 Classic Custom adds hill start control, heated grips, an alarm system and ‘Headlight Pro’ adaptive head and daytime running lights.
The premium R18 Classic Deluxe takes all the extra kit of the Custom and adds footboards, an electric reverse gear and the First Edition cosmetic features as standard.
All the features that define the Custom and Deluxe are available on the base R 18 Classic at extra cost, with the First Edition package the most expensive at $3,300, while the reverse gear (a handy addition on a 365kg cruiser) adds $1,500. There’s also a low seat option, that drops the standard seat height down to 690mm.
Optional cosmetic packages, including themed collections developed by Roland Sands Design, are also available.
Now in Store
Arriving in BMW dealerships in March, the R 18 Classic is priced from $28,550 for the base model, rising to $35,090 for the R 18 Classic Deluxe.
2021 R 18 Classic - $28,550 ($30,863 ride away*)
2021 R 18 Classic Custom - $30,090 ($32,448 ride away*)
- adds Hill Start Control, adaptive lighting, heated handgrips, anti-theft alarm and lockable fuel cap.
2021 R 18 Classic Deluxe - $35,090 ($35,598 ride away*)
- adds Custom features, plus footboards, reverse gear and First Edition paint/chrome.
*ride away pricing varies, depending on region. See your BMW Motorrad dealer for full pricing.