First look: BMW R18 cruiser promotes different genre of riding
Last month, a handful of guests waited in anticipation as a big box was carefully being uncrated at the BMW Motorrad showroom.
Its larger-than-usual shape suggested a longer motorcycle.
As the final piece of cardboard was removed, BMW's latest cruiser, the R18, stood there regally.
The guests - including Biker Boy - breathed a sigh of relief when they saw the black and chrome R18 First Edition.
The Berlin-built 1,802cc boxer R18 is the largest engine the marque has in production.
Viewed from the side, the huge engine and its chromed cylinder head covers take prominence. A 1800cc badge on its engine reminds you it means business.
From the engine cylinders, your eyes trail the chrome fishtail exhaust pipes.
Chrome pieces also adorn its brake master cylinders, fuel cap and wide handlebars.
You may be inclined to think this cruiser is un-BMW-like, given the company is known for adventure and high-performance motorcycles.
But when you look into BMW's history books, there are examples such as the R32 and R69 that will bridge the connection the R18 has with its past.
You do not have to look far to realise BMW's cruiser connection. Its R1200C was featured in the 1997 Bond movie, Tomorrow Never Dies.
The R18, which has a dry weight of 345kg, may not appear as high-tech as other models in the BMW line-up. That is because it is a different genre of riding that it aims to promote to riders. In the saddle, I was surprised the R18, which comes with a special box containing custom-looking BMW badges, feels balanced.
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You could take your hands off the handlebar and not worry about tipping over the R18.
Should you get into trouble trying to back the motorcycle out of a parking lot, it has a reverse gear lever to assist you.
While visually different from its siblings, this BMW still maintains its family tradition with some home-grown technology.
The keyless, six-speed R18 is shaft driven, has anti-lock braking system and automatic stability control, and two-into-one rear signal lights that act as brake lights.
Thumb the starter, and it still sounds like any boxer engined BMW. But when you raise the revs, there is a unique growl.
The R18 has three cool ride modes - Rock, Roll and Rain. The First Edition has a machine price of $68,800 while the base model R18 is $8,000 cheaper.