Published on May 25th, 2019 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez


Would you buy this BMW Motorrad Concept R18?

The BMW Motorrad Concept R18 shows how aforward projection of a 1960s boxer engine could look like today as a puristcustom bike in combination with all the classic design icons of BMW Motorraddesign. “With its clear aesthetics openly on display, the Concept R18 embodiesfor me what motorcycling, at its core, is really about. It is all about feelinginstead of thinking, and not using technology for self-staging, instead givingspace for imagination. This concept bike appeals to something deep down – youjust want to just get on it and ride off. But when you get off it again, youdon’t just put it in the garage and walk away – you turn around again and giveit a final parting glance”, explains Edgar Heinrich, head of BMW MotorradDesign.

Consistentlypurist design with timeless proportions.

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 BMW Motorrad Concept R18 is immediately recognisable as a genuine BMW: boxer engine, cradle frame, exposed universal shaft and drop-shaped fuel tank with its black paintwork and hand-applied contrast lines interpret typical design icons of BMW Motorrad classics, while displaying confidence along with modern-style linearity. The balanced proportions are reminiscent of classics like the BMW R5, and convey – even from a distance – the timeless beauty that comes about whenever things are consistently reduced to their bare essentials. The frame and tank create a common line all the way from the steering head to the rear wheel hub and lend a flowing elegance to the side view. The large spoke wheels (front 21 inch, rear 18 inch) provide a secure stance and perfectly balance the dominant power unit. The tyres are a further reference to history: just as it was in its day, this bike is again fitted with Metzeler tyres.

TheBMW boxer tradition brings out new splendour.

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.

Another optical highlight is the exposed,chrome-plated universal shaft that connects the back wheel to the drive. Thereare no further covers anywhere on the motorcycle, which serves to keep itsengineering clearly visible. Similarly, the electronics of the concept bike arereduced to no more than starter and lights, underlining its purist design.

The BMW Motorrad Concept R18 is the thirdin-house interpretation of the large-capacity boxer engine to come from BMWMotorrad. Last December the model created by the Japanese customisers, CUSTOMWORKS ZON was presented at the Yokohama Hot Rod Show, on the basis of this newprototype engine. The ‘Departed’ won the biggest accolade of the event, the’Best of Show Motorcycle’ award, thrilling motorcycle fans with its classicforms, modern production techniques and all manner of manual art and craft inthe details. The next round was the interpretation by Revival Cycles.

The customisers from Austin, Texas createda spectacular bike with their ‘Revival Birdcage’ model, an ideal presentationplatform for the Big Boxer. The specially developed titanium frame features anunobstructed view of the engine and drive from all angles. This American designcreated a furore at last month’s Handbuilt Show in Texas.

Highquality details in fine custom work.

As for its colour design, the BMW MotorradConcept R18 shows itself to be a classic. The theme is typical BMW: the white,hand-applied lines on the fork and fuel tank in combination with the black basecolour represent the classic BMW colour theme. A discreet yellow-gold varnisheffect lends the bright twin lines an exclusive touch, and the black effectpaintwork on the tank and fork rods similarly reveal, in the best custom style,an unusual depth when the sunlight strikes the large metallic particles in thevarious layers of the paintwork.

The visual design of the imprinted singleleather seat is borrowed from the classics of the 1950s. Reinterpreted andsomewhat more comfortable, its quality embossing sits perfectly within theoverall purist and high-class design. The cantilever spring strut is integratedbeneath the seat. The graphics of the headlamp design are also reminiscent ofthe 1950s. The classic U shape of the original glass cover components are nowinterpreted as LED lamp elements.

Every one of these details contributes tothe unique character of the concept bike and underlines its overall statement.The BMW Motorrad Concept R18 merges traditional and historic design languagewith the current functionalities of BMW Motorrad in a coherent and cohesivewhole.

Moreover, an exclusive and suitably themed horse leather jacket, which recreates the aesthetics of those days, has been designed especially for the presentation of the concept bike at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este. The leather jacket features a very smooth surface with only little grain and the protectors are integrated almost invisibly.

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