Guest Blog – BMW R 18 First Ride Impressions

Guest Blog – BMW R 18 First Ride Impressions

The big cushy cruiser space hasn’t seen much activity of late. This is because the erstwhile prospective buyers of the big boy cruisers are now putting their focus more towards more practical and performance-oriented machines. Given that the manufacturers haven’t updated their line-up with even minor updates is another reason why these cruisers have somewhat diminished from the Indian roads eventually.

As a result, Harley-Davidson has decided to close its shop in the Indian market and will not be proceeding as an independent manufacturer in the Indian market. Of course, to continue its operations further, the bike-maker has joined hands with Hero MotoCorp, but it won’t be functioning as an independent entity here in the Indian market.

But, BMW Motorrad, on the other hand, has yet another product up its sleeve. And after launching the surprisingly good 310 twins, the Bavaria-based manufacturer has now introduced the R 18 power cruiser in a segment that’s almost diminished and is ailing to an extent where there’s very hard to find new potential buyers.

But the new BMW power cruiser, which is also the brand’s very first power cruiser here, is something different and is an entirely new product, with the bragging rights of featuring the largest and most powerful boxer-twin engine ever developed by BMW Motorrad. So, what exactly is it? Let’s take a look.

This means the bike carries a very retro and old school design, comprising of elements such as a long stance with a long wheelbase, a teardrop fuel tank which is long and slender, spoke wheels, a wide handlebar, circular headlamp, and so on. All these things gel well to give the most powerful boxer-twin engine equipped bike from BMW Motorrad an unmistakably distinctive design, and, yes, it looks absolutely beautiful and stunning, given that one has eyes for a retro cruiser and not for a high-tech performance machine.

The bike we tested – dubbed the R 18 First Edition – had a few additional goodies like white double striping on certain parts, along with a few chrome elements and a blacked-out finish overall. It does, however, cost a bit more and what you do get are only these additional aesthetic modifications for bragging rights.

As for the electronics, as expected, being a modern-age motorcycle from BMW bikes , it comes equipped with LED lighting with adaptive turning light, twin-disc brakes at the front, circular integrated display, keyless ride, three standard riding modes, switchable traction control, automatic stability control, hill-start control, reverse gear, anti-hopping clutch, and engine drag torque control. It does, however, miss out on cruise control, which, as we said in our full review, is one of the important features on an effortless cruiser. It does hinder the overall effortless cruising experience, which is a downer for a motorcycle that costs as much as Rs. 22 lakhs.

Now, to the powertrain, the BMW R 18 comes powered by a 1,800cc boxer engine, which is the biggest and most powerful engine from BMW Motorrad, and it churns out 91bhp and 158Nm of torque. The engine behaves perfectly in coherence with the selected riding mode, which means the throttle response reacts in different manners. The power delivery is almost instantaneous, and the massive torque spread makes this a hoot to ride whether in town or the highway. The exhaust note, however, isn’t as growly and we would have loved a bit more roar from the boring-sounding exhaust.

As for its road manners, the bike had an extremely stiff suspension setup, which might work well for well-paved roads, but on the Indian roads, it proved to be a bone-jarring task. What made matters worse was the cramped seating and mid-mounted footpegs. Overall, the bike isn’t as effortless to ride on Indian roads as one would expect from a big cushy cruiser.

So, as one of the most anticipated motorcycles this year, the cruiser does lose some brownie points in terms of ride quality. It is certainly not meant to be ridden on Indian roads. However, it scores well on looks alone and is definitely bound to turn heads wherever it goes. You can read our full riding experience of the BMW R 18 at autoX. Also, grab the latest info on the upcoming bikes in India, only at autoX.

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