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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

Review: 2021 BMW R18 First Edition | Hagerty Media

The Toyota minivan stopped in the lane, parking parallel to the bike. Florida plates on a Tennessee scenic parkway. The older man at the wheel, bearded and smiling, stuck out an arm in a friendly little half-wave. "How you like your 1800?" You test cars and bikes for a living, you get this a lot.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/motorcycles/review-2021-bmw-r18-first-edition/
11 REPLIES 11
gpsuya
Intermediate Driver

Re: "neat little fishtail pipes"
Yikes Sam, I beg to differ. They're monstrous, probably to make room to stuff with a catalectic converter.
RobertLLR
Intermediate Driver

I think they are prefect for the quasi-retro aesthetic statement this design is trying to make.
Mr_Wiz
Pit Crew

This is a well-balanced and eloquently written review. Really nice job Sam.
danhise
Intermediate Driver

("Ottoman Empire" -- nice one.) It was not until the last photograph that I got the clear notion that I was walking up behind a Hammerhead Shark. I then opened a new window and found a photo of a 2020 Softail, also in black, and confirmed that HD still has the V-shaped engine stuffed up under the gas tank. I much prefer the HD. But no matter how many times I go gaga over a beautiful bike, I hit the Wall of Probabilities. Years ago it was the probability that if I got a bike, my son would want to take it out, too, which leads to the probability that if I or my son got out riding around one or both of us would put the dang thing down, with or without the aid of other flying objects, and only bad things would happen, and even though my son is 44, with hostages to fortune of his own, and even though I can now afford to buy a nice bike, I would probably die up in the trees within a month. I know, I'm articulating the obvious negatives, but it helps to share my grief. The truth is, I am inconsolable as I approach the Blackness of Molecular Diffusion, knowing that I will never have a motorcycle. And the guitar softly weeps.
shoulderboards
Intermediate Driver

Although a 40+ year rider, I am not a devotee of the big heavy cruiser-type machines. I have owned several varieties of BMW bikes and love them even with their unique quirks. This seems to be a valid attempt at a Harleyesque clone for those dying number of that marques followers.
Studenorton
Advanced Driver

When Malcolm Forbes got a Munch Mammoth with a 1200 car engine, a lot of us thought it was an April Fools article.
JohninNC
Advanced Driver

100 mile range before reserve? Seems like a motorcycle should go much further than that on a tank of gas?
jvanpotter
New Driver

Entertaining review, Mr. Smith. I've always like BMW airheads, and the engine in this one is particularly attractive. But if BMW is trying to crack the cruiser market, they've missed the mark with this one. A hundred-mile range? Vibration? They've got to be better than H-D, not just different. I'm hoping to get another couple of years on two wheels before I get too old for it; this BMW won't come close to replacing the Rune in my stable.
bugmoto
Pit Crew

Second effort for BMW building a "cruiser for America". Looks like they didn't learn much the first time 'round. Oddball bike for riders with too much money and a peculiar thirst for attention. Removing a balance shaft for "character"? What's next - square wheels? The retro paint is nice, but this thing is a well tailored mess.
brb
Advanced Driver

Excellent review. Don't care for the bike.
obie
New Driver

Props for probably the best review I have read on the R1800. BMW certainly hits closer to the mark with this than their previous misguided efforts.

Aesthetically pretty good execution if you were trying to design a boxer engined cruiser. Reasonably well executed with the clear exception of that ridiculous pontoon muffler. I would be curious to have sat in on the market research meetings at Corporate for this big boy. Did they have the stats to justify the time and money to build this? ... or was it just "F*** it! Let's just roll the dice".

The 100 mile fuel range would be a deal breaker for me, but maybe the 3500-4000 rpm vibrations make a 100 mile fuel stop welcome? I must say if I were looking for cruiser to ride with my Harley riding cousins, this wouldn't be on the short list. I think I would opt for the Guzzi Cal Vintage instead.

Time and the market will decide if this is a winner.