BMW Motorrad Philippines has officially launched the much-awaited R 18 First Edition. This retro-styled cruiser mark’s BMW’s long-awaited return into the cruiser segment.

BMW Motorrad Philippines launches the 2021 R 18 image

From left: Michelle Dee, Spencer Yu, and Alfrancis Chua.

The motorcycle was launched during a virtual event featuring BMW Philippines President, Spencer Yu; Michelle Dee, Miss World Philippines 2019; and Alfrancis Chua, Sports director, San Miguel Corporation discovering and discussing the bike's many features.


A classic reborn

BMW Motorrad Philippines launches the 2021 R 18 image

Unlike its predecessors, the R 18 hews more closely to BMW's most storied model, the R 5. It hopes to shift the focus back to the enjoyment of the ride, integrating modern conveniences as unobtrusively as possible, making the rider feel like they’re barely there.

BMW Motorrad Philippines launches the 2021 R 18 image

The heart of the R 18 is the specially developed 1,802 cc Big Boxer engine. BMW’s largest boxer ever is air and oil-cooled yet still Euro-5 emissions compliant. It has a peak output of 92 Ps (91 hp) at 4,750 rpm. It also boasts of over 150 Nm of torque, available between 2,000 to 4,000 rpm, producing low range pulling power combined with a full, resonant sound.

The engine is mounted on a double-loop steel tube frame, a classic chassis configuration and a nod to BMW Motorrad tradition. It's held aloft with a telescopic fork with a central suspension strut, yet with adjustable preload. Its traditionally-styled rear swingarm is a tribute to the classic R 5. It rolls on wire-spoked wheels with disc brakes governed by ABS.

Hidden tech

BMW Motorrad Philippines launches the 2021 R 18 image

It’s when starting it up where the high-tech conveniences make themselves felt. The R 18 uses a keyless start system, purring to life with just the press of a button. The rider can choose from three standard riding modes: Rain, Roll and Rock.

BMW Motorrad Philippines launches the 2021 R 18 image

Rather than bombard the rider with so many indicator lights, each mode is designed to automatically adjust to a particular condition. Rain offers the softest throttle response and limited power and torque for use in the wet. Roll is like the usual Road or Normal mode on other motorcycles. Rock is the most aggressive ride mode, that unleashes its full power and torque.

That’s not all, it also comes with ASC (Automatic Stability Control) which is disengageable. It’s on by default for a high level of riding safety. It also gets engine drag torque control (MSR) as standard for smoother response when off-throttle with very manageable engine brake. There’s also Hill Start Control which prevents the bike from rolling backward on inclines.

Easily a first in this segment is the reverse assist, which will come in handy when maneuvering or parking.

Comfortable to ride

BMW Motorrad Philippines launches the 2021 R 18 image

Once rolling, the rider will find the R 18 to be very enjoyable. BMW has positioned the engine as forward as possible with the footpegs in the middle. This allows the rider a more comfortable, laid back position, with the heat from the engine far from his legs.

For now, the R 18 is only offered in the First Edition trim. This features a classic black finish with pinstripes and numerous chrome surfaces.

Short test ride

BMW Motorrad Philippines launches the 2021 R 18 image

Video content creator, GakiMoto on board the BMW R18.

BMW Motorrad Philippines gave us the rare opportunity to test ride the bike. During our short stint, it was evident how large the motorcycle actually is. Yet despite the size, it was easy to handle.

BMW Motorrad Philippines launches the 2021 R 18 image

Aris Ilagan of TopBikes Philippines

The power of the engine is evident fro the strong rumble when you start it up. It was easy backing it out thanks to the reverse gear, which actually uses the electric starter motor, moved the back backward at a very manageable speed. To run it, you press the start button and don't have to actually control it with the throttle and clutch. The sheer torque at idle is enough to get it rolling. A little twist of the throttle gets it moving even faster.

BMW Motorrad Philippines launches the 2021 R 18 image

Video content creator, GakiMoto on board the BMW R18.

When it comes to maneuvering, the size of the bike may be intimidating, but it's actually quite easy to turn once you twist that handlebar. The brakes are also very strong but progressive, reassuring you that you'll easily be able to bring this bike to a stop. Best of all, you don't feel any heat from the engine at all, making this a bike you can ride the whole day without discomfort.

Custom friendly

BMW Motorrad Philippines launches the 2021 R 18 image

If this kind of understated styling is not to your taste, the R 18 was designed to be customization-friendly. It features an easily removable rear frame and simple-to-dismantle painted part set. Even vital components like hydraulic lines for the brake and clutch, and cable harness make it easy to raise or lower the handlebars and reposition these components as needed. Don’t like chrome? Even cylinder head covers and belt covers can be easily switched out without affecting the oil chamber.

BMW Motorrad Philippines launches the 2021 R 18 image

The R 18 comes with a wide range of individualization options at the showroom. Customers can choose from original BMW Motorrad accessories to parts from Roland Sands Design, Mustang Seat, and Vance & Hines for the exhaust choices.

BMW Motorrad Philippines launches the 2021 R 18 image

BMW Motorrad Philippines Director, Gil Balderas

The BMW R18 is available for the price of PhP1,955,000. It comes with an industry-leading 5-year warranty or 500,000 km, whichever comes first.