The BMW Motorrad Concept R18 Combines Classic Design With Modern Thinking
Many people know that BMW started off producing aircraft engines long before it got involved with building the Ultimate Driving Machines but its production of motorcycles also preceded its very first BMW-badged car by half a decade. The very first model from BMW Motorrad was the boxer-engined R32, released in 1923, which heralded the beginning of a long and successful line of motorcycles that continue to this day. To celebrate its history while embracing the future, BMW Motorrad presented the Concept R18 to the world at this year’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este.
The BMW Motorrad Concept R18 mixes traditional and modern design aesthetics, Edgar Heinrich, head of BMW Motorrad Design, says that it shows how a futuristic 1960s boxer engine could look like today as a purist custom bike. The design exposes all the mechanical workings and the boxer engine, cradle frame, exposed universal shaft and drop-shaped fuel tank all evoke memories of classic BMW bikes. The heart of any BMW is its engine and the R18 doesn’t disappoint here either, sporting a newly designed 1.8-liter two-cylinder boxer motor that looks outwardly similar to classic boxer configurations of the past. It features modern technology but is fitted with dual Solex carburetors—similar to the ones you would find on a BMW 2002—which add to the visual authenticity.
“For me, motorcycles like the BMW Motorrad Concept R18 are a response to a growing need among the motorcycling community: instead of technology, the focus here is on simplification, authenticity and transparency,”says Edgar. “I observe an almost romantic yearning for real mechanical engineering. Our aim with this concept bike is to address this need and turn it into an analog statement in a digital age. We have a rich history of iconic motorcycles, and they all bear the same design characteristics. We believe that this can still work well together today with the current technology.”
Hopefully, some of this design aesthetic will be translated into BMW’s current motorcycle range in the near future and there are rumors that a production version of the R18 may debut next year.
Images courtesy of BMW Motorrad