BMW R18 Concept Bike: Wow
I mean, look at it. It’s a beast! With 900cc per cylinder, the easygoing, lopey pushrod engine really is a throwback just like the frame it’s been shoehorned into. The cradle-framed rear looks like a hard-tail but in fact has a joint with a monoshock hidden under the seat. There is no sign of a radiator or oil cooler or associated piping, it is a purely air-cooled machine. The forks could be traditional or they could be cartridge; who knows underneath the expertly covers painted to look reminiscent of a hassock.
The design is pulled from BMW’s heritage: the airhead boxer motorcycle from sixty years ago shines clear through the lines of this concept. Though, instead of getting old and frail, it seems this one has spent the last half-century in the gym bulking up. Gone are the spindly wheels and slim design. The motor got enormous, and so the frame, suspension, brakes, tires have all had to follow suit.
The way you know it’s definitely a concept and not anything close to a test production bike from Motorrad? It’s carbureted, and has no electronics apart from an electric starter and its lights and turn signals. All of the shine you see on it apart from the exhaust pipes is polished aluminum.
This super simple machine is basically a gigantic engine with wheels and a seat strapped to it. From a minimalist perspective it is a thing of beauty. The lines, the paint work, the absolute absence of anything that isn’t completely necessary, are all a really glorious throwback. Compared to modern super techy BMW machines it’s positively stone-age. There is a distinct beauty in its simplicity, though, and I have to guess that if the manufacturer offered these for sale they’d go in a heartbeat to those of us who love a new old bike.