Back in February, 2021, we talked about the possibility of BMW working on smaller R 18 variants. An OEM wants to sell bikes, after all, and there are undoubtedly plenty of people who love the R 18’s styling but wish it came in a more compact package. Turning a shrink ray on the design, but keeping what people love about it seems like a good idea if it’s technically achievable, right?
According to the latest rumors out of France, a smaller BMW R 18 may indeed be coming, and allegedly as soon as October, 2021. Before you get too excited, though, it’s not smaller in physical size. Instead, it’s an A2-compliant version for 2022. For those unfamiliar, A2 licenses are intended for younger European and U.K. riders (typically under the age of 21), who are past being total beginners but who are not legally qualified to ride large displacement bikes just yet.
BMW is one of many OEMs that offer restricted, A2-compliant versions of several of its larger-displacement models. A2-compliant bikes must not make more than 95 horsepower (or 70kW) in their unrestricted state, and are capped at making 47.5 horsepower (or 35kW) when they’re restricted. Since the BMW R 18, in its usual form, makes only 91 horsepower, it should not require additional fettling to make it compliant.
Of course, that doesn’t change a single thing about the elephant in the room—which is seemingly the R 18 itself. As Dustin noted, it boasts a 761-pound curb weight, which it apparently manages quite well once you get moving. That is, of course, with the engine in its unrestricted form. However, another complication is that it’s also definitely not cheap. While I know that there are 19-year-olds with R 18 money in the world, how many of them (or their parents) are going to want to take a chance on this behemoth so early on in their riding careers?
Then again, style means a lot, and if you’re in love with the R 18’s looks, and you also want an A2-compliant cruiser that you know can be derestricted once you’ve graduated to a full A license, perhaps this could be a perfect solution. Should this rumor come to fruition, we’ll just have to wait and see how it’s received.