Last we checked, Harley was the dominate force in the cruiser market worldwide, having sold 228,000 hogs last year, compared to BMW’s 165,000. Never ones to take a back seat though, BMW are back on the offensive with their new R18.
The BMW R18 was introduced to the world at this year’s Concorso, d’Eleganza Villa d’Este in Italy; and shows off a bold design that pays tribute to the original 1939 R5 motorcycle. BMW definitely has the credibility and history to match it with the American brand, but with the new engine, it also has the twin-cylinder grunt to match them. And if 1.8 litres isn’t enough, a 2000cc version of the BMW horizontally-opposed twin will also be available, setting up an enticing rivalry with Harley-Davidson’s 1923cc and Indian’s 1901cc V-twins.
Mirroring BMW Motorrad engines from the company’s near 100 year heritage, the engine block is built of blasted aluminum and Solex dual carburetors are used instead of a fuel injection setup, ala the BMW 2002. The valve gear covers were styled on pre- WW2 BMW engines, and the push rods were used in 1960s BMW boxer engines. Recycling at its finest. This bike is high on functionality, features minimal electronics, and focuses on the visibility of parts.
The scalpel has well and truly been replaced with a machete, representing the beginning of a relentless attack on Harley and Indian in the cruiser marketplace — and the perfect time to join team Beem.
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