Less than a year after blasting onto the stage at the Concorso d’ Eleganza Villa d’ Este in Italy, what began as the Concept R18 has evolved to become a fully-fledged production model. Meet BMW’s big, burly, bare-knuckled Cruiser.
BMW had toyed in the past with the idea of a cruiser, with motorcycles such as the 1997 R1200C that starred in the Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies. The project never met the commercial success that the James Bond franchise could potentially nurture, probably because it didn’t exactly follow the traditional American cruiser styling and its engine was a tad on the small side (compared to the competition) and rather underpowered.
The cruiser project resurfaced in BMW’s timeline in the shape of the R5 Hommage. That one-off supercharged custom cruiser debuted at the 2016 Villa d’Este and in hindsight suggests that BMW may have been testing the waters with a design that looks suspiciously close to the new production model.
Whatever the case, some spy photos of an R18 testing mule that surfaced in Germany early last month unquestionably revealed BMW’s plans for an R18 starting lineup featuring a Cruiser and a Touring/Bagger, escorted by some muffled rumors of an even bigger boxer in the pipeline.