First Look At BMW’s R18/2 Concept

BMW unveils new concept on upcoming large-displacement cruiser model.

BMW has just unveiled yet another custom concept based on the R18 powerplant. We first saw this engine in CW Zon's custom "Departed" build at the Mooneyes Yokohama show, then Revival Cycles' "Birdcage" build in the Handbuilt Show in Austin, Texas, and most recently we saw the first concept R18, simply dubbed: Concept R18. In the latest version, we are now able to see an airbox and side covers that were not seen on previous models, but the new concept bike also comes with a video…and a race brake!

BMW’s R18/2 concept
BMW’s R18/2 concept being ridden by Justin Benson.Courtesy of BMW

We have been excited about every version of this bike since we first saw the engine in Yokohama, and now as each stage brings it closer to final production, that excitement continues to grow. Obviously pulling from BMW’s heritage, the R18 has a classic silhouette, but is powered by this massive 1,800cc horizontally opposed twin that is still shrouded in some mystery for us. As we continue to watch BMW develop this bike, we can’t help but laugh at their attempt to market toward younger, hipster riders in this video. Rather than an engineer or someone from BMW who helped develop the bike, we have some guy with a neck tattoo telling us that it has both “no BS” and “a race brake.”

R18/2 concept
Panel paint, pinstriping, and a headlight cowl give the R18/2 concept a SoCal club-style vibe.Courtesy of BMW

While the Concept R18 bore resemblance to a BMW R5's timeless lines and paint scheme, the /2 looks more like someone dressed a BMW up like a H-D Dyna. The panel paint and headlight cowl just scream "SoCal custom," on a bike that was exceptional and beautiful because of its Bavarian heritage. When thinking of customizing large-displacement cruisers, many people's minds go to H-D styling, but that results in H-D replicas, rather than unique bikes with their own DNA. Based off of the previous customs and concepts, I have been expecting a very BMW motorcycle, so to see derivative design accents on this one is a bit disappointing.

BMW’s R18/2 concept
Here you can clearly see the airbox and side covers that were not on the previous R18 concept bike.Courtesy of BMW

Luckily the Concept R18/2’s lines remain the same and the addition of the airbox and side covers only make the bike look more finished and complete. I’m hoping to see more.

BMW’s R18/2 concept
We can’t wait to throw a leg over this huge boxer engine when it finally comes out.Courtesy of BMW