By Somnath Chatterjee
Some days back we talked about the wonderful BMW i3 and its futuristic charm that rubbed off on us. Well, the two-wheeler arm of the same company has made a mammoth cruiser bike with the biggest engine they have ever made. It is quite alluring admittedly that today BMW Motorrad has made a stunning retro themed cruiser bike with a gigantic engine. Yes,the Engine, and it is a big one indeed, with a 1802cc “Boxer” engine which develops 91 bhp and a healthy wallop of torque which is available nice and early so that you cruise around with effortless ease. The massive engine also produces a deep rumble, which we have taken a distinct liking to while the performance should be more than ample along with promising a stable yet fun riding experience. Sure, the weight and girth will make it known to you but overall the R18 will put a smile to your face when you ride it- that’s what they should do.
We have to talk about the styling as it pays homage to the 1930’s R5, and parked alongside it has an uncanny appearance with only shades of modernity sneaked in.
We love the exposed drive shafts, the round headlamps, the tear drop shaped tank and the gauge. You simply cannot miss the humongous exhausts dipped in chrome for extra flair. Yet if you look closer, there are signs of modernity tucked away discreetly. Yes, there is an analog speedo but it also houses a digital display,plus the headlamp is an LED unit. There are also period correct spoked wheels. The “First Edition” is even more special with a stunning black paint job with special pin striping and even more chrome. There is also special badging of course, plus a neat touch, like a special box of goodies, which the owner will get. This includes BMW Motorrad book, special gloves and historical tank emblems for the tank, plus even a tool box!
In terms of comfort and ergonomics, you sit upright while the handlebars are indeed a bit wide to reach out but they are suited for a laid-back cruiser styling riding position. There are also ride modes and key safety aids, so it is a modern bike with a face of a classic old-school cruiser bike.
Priced at a not-so-cheap Rs 21.9 lakh (for the First Edition) the R18 is best summed up as a stunning classic themed bike with the massive engine and the creamy smooth power it generates as its main attractions. The attention to detail plus quality also makes it worth the money. Now with Harley Davidson calling it quits in India, this BMW will most likely have all of the luxury cruiser market to its own. So overall, this is a BMW motorcycle that lovingly embraces its past roots and yet mixes a heady dose of modernity and that is fine by us…