Stripped back to the heart - BMW Motorrad Concept R18
The BMW Motorrad Concept R18 shows how a forward projection of a 1960s boxer engine could look like today as a purist custom bike in combination with all the classic design icons of BMW Motorrad design.
Edgar Heinrich, head of BMW Motorrad Design explains:
“With its clear aesthetics openly on display, the Concept R18 embodies for me what motorcycling, at its core, is really about. It is all about feeling instead of thinking, and not using technology for self-staging, instead giving space for imagination. This concept bike appeals to something deep down – you just want to just get on it and ride off. But when you get off it again, you don’t just put it in the garage and walk away – you turn around again and give it a final parting glance.”
Dr. Markus Schramm, head of BMW Motorrad, describes the design:
“With this dream bike, BMW Motorrad presents its own version of an emotional and authentic offer for the large cruiser segment.”
The BMW Motorrad Concept R18 is the essence of motorcycling, a bike in its original, natural form. In true custom style, it celebrates the art of leaving out what you don’t need and then concentrating on what is left. “The biggest challenge in the design is to render everything visible. Every part has a functional purpose. There are not many who would dare to take such an absolutely honest approach”, says Bart Janssen Groesbeek, designer of the concept bike.
The heart of the BMW Motorrad Concept R18 is the large, newly designed, two-cylinder 1800 cc boxer engine. Its outward appearance is consciously reminiscent of the flat twin engines that BMW Motorrad used to build up until the end of the 1960s – but with a considerably bigger displacement and modern air/oil cooling. The big prototype boxer has been designed down to the last detail: the engine block and transmission are made of glass bead-blasted aluminium, providing an ideal stage on which to present the hand-polished aluminium components as well as the belt guard and valve covers. The engine badge bears the name of the concept bike and emphasises the overall quality. In addition, Solex dual carburettors – similar to those in the BMW 2002 – hark back to the brand’s construction history and add the final touch to the bike’s visual authenticity.
“For me, motorcycles like the BMW Motorrad Concept R18 are a response to a growing need among the motorcycling community: instead of technology, the focus here is on simplification, authenticity and transparency. I observe an almost romantic yearning for real mechanical engineering. Our aim with this concept bike is to address this need and turn it into an analogue statement in a digital age. We have a rich history of iconic motorcycles, and they all bear the same design characteristics. We believe that this can still work well together today with the current technology,” says Edgar Heinrich in conclusion.