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Checked out the R18 and the 1935 vintage R17 upon which the styling is based this morning

It’s a beautifully crafted machine, with wall-to-wall chrome. I’m not yet old enough to move to a cruiser-style bike though, and in any case, I found the pegs are a couple inches too far forward for my comfort. On this one, angle the ‘bars up a bit.

I kicked a few other tyres, chewed the fat with a customer from Bega who was having his RS serviced and checked out a pristine traded 2005 R1100S with original tyres and only 3000 km on the clock. It sold quickly for $10k, sight unseen to a guy in Victoria.


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...and checked out a pristine traded 2005 R1100S with original tyres and only 3000 km on the clock. It sold quickly for $10k, sight unseen to a guy in Victoria.


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Nice pix, Pz. I see that Peter Garrett - the lead guy from Midnight Oil - was in the store at the same time. And that 2005 RS is yet another for the 'why is it so?' file of astounding low-mileage finds!
 
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Yow! From the side, it actually hurts to look at that muffler! It looks like they thought "this thing is already tall, lets accentuate the fins on top and bottom so it looks like a flounder."
 

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To be fair, I think we can blame Euro# regulations for the size of the mufflers, and the fins are a consequence of modeling the styling on the R17. In the flesh, I didn't find them over-bearing - but then I don't mind the opulent chrome of the stock muffler on my LC12.
 
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I will make a bet that I will never see one of these on the road unless at a factory/ dealer demo day.

And check the weight of that 1935 R17, at 165kg. How have the weights of recent bikes become so bloated, especially considering modern lightweight materials? Why is it so? (again).
 

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Yow! From the side, it actually hurts to look at that muffler! It looks like they thought "this thing is already tall, lets accentuate the fins on top and bottom so it looks like a flounder."
Hey - easy on flounders: they are a tasty fish!
 

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I will make a bet that not one of us will ever see one of these on the road unless at a factory/ dealer demo day.
How much would you like to put down, Lawrence? I'll take any amount.
 
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And check the weight of that 1935 R17, at 165kg. How have the weights of recent bikes become so bloated, especially considering modern lightweight materials? Why is it so? (again).
The simple answer, Lawrence, is performance and styling, which means bikes of a particular capacity have generally become bigger and substantially more powerful.

Rather than compare the R17 with a modern 750, compare it with something of similar power and size – say a Honda CB300R, which puts out the same power as the R17 and weighs a mere 145 kg.

For the R18's intended market, weight is not an issue.

Having said that, some of the serious sports bikes remain virtual featherweights. The Triumph 675 has a kerb weight of 185 kg and a Panigale 1299 weighs in at 191 kg wet (astonishing, considering its performance).

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Founder of the noted Lotus sports-car company, the gifted but rather late Colin Chapman said it all in regards to performance vs weight - 'simplicate, and add lightness'.

And from where do you derive the one-man Neilsen statement that for its intended audience the R18's weight is not an issue? It might well be, in the hands of an older rider with issues of balance, loss of body-strength, etc, which happens as one ages (and as you'll find out as I have!).

I shall not take you up on the offer to accept my bet, Pz, for tho' I love you like a brother I cannot trust a man who would willingly live in Canberra. However - when/ if I see an R18 on the road in an owner's hands I shall make donation to the Guide Dog Foundation here in Q'ld. Fair dinkum - for we support it anyway.

And a final word repeating what I said recently about the R9T range - 'a triumph of styling over practicality' - and in the case of the R18 - 'of affordability' too. IMHO.
 

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Colin Chapman built sports cars and his adage of yore made for fun and quick machines. The supersport and superbike road bikes of today do look to be as light as practicable (as per the examples I quoted earlier) but performance demands preclude simplicity these days. My little SRX6 is relatively simple, as well as being light and great fun to ride, but it’s certainly not up there in the performance stakes by any means.

The R18 is all about reflecting BMW’s heritage through its image, and relaxed riding rather than high performance - not dissimilar to Harley’s 2020 Deluxe, for example. So weight vs performance is not a consideration. In fact I suspect potential owners will want their machine to exude its own gravitational field, the more the better. The aforementioned HD weighs in at 317 kg - same ball park.

I don’t believe the R18 is aimed at the ageing demographic you refer to. All their advertising images show young to mature-aged hipsters - BMW’s conjured-up lifestyle image, much like the regular RnineT crowd, and kind of like a sophisticated version of HD’s outlaw image, but of course very responsible and law-abiding. And lots of lifestyle merch.

Having said that, the R18’s weight is held low, the ‘bars are very wide for good leverage, the seat is very low so the rider can easily brace the bike when stationary, and I understand there’ll be an electric reverse gear option. So even those with lolly legs and wasted biceps shouldn’t have difficulty person-handling it. The hard part might simply be the ability to bend arthritic joints into the required riding position (I found it awkward for my inflexible hip and hamstrings).

Affordability? Young professionals have money to spend (even if they can’t afford to buy a house in a capital city ...) as do successful mature-aged wanna-be hipsters.

Practicality? Buy a Roadster - the R18 is no Bob Jane All Rounder.
 

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How much OTR for that R18, Pz?
 

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How much OTR for that R18, Pz?
$30,190 plus on roads, which would park it in your garage for around $32k I’d say. That’s the ‘First Edition’ model - the regular base price will be $26,890 plus on roads. Plus accessories and lifestyle wear ...
 

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It’s a beautifully crafted machine, with wall-to-wall chrome. I’m not yet old enough to move to a cruiser-style bike though, and in any case, I found the pegs are a couple inches too far forward for my comfort. On this one, angle the ‘bars up a bit.
I had the opportunity to also view the R18 a couple of months back. It is a thing of beauty, although while the mufflers pay homage to the R17, they are really ghastly on the R18 IMO and would be the first thing I'll be replacing as part of my order.
As for peg placement, I found it to be pretty good for a cruiser with pots the size they are coming out the sides. I have a Triumph Bobber in my collection and I think the R18 is far more comfortable than it.
The biggest issue I found with the R18 was the way the bike wants to fall over when you were just sitting upright on it - it is like there is something in the steering that just makes it feel strangely unstable. I'm hoping a test ride will dispel that feeling once it's rolling.
 

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I will make a bet that not one of us will ever see one of these on the road unless at a factory/ dealer demo day.

And check the weight of that 1935 R17, at 165kg. How have the weights of recent bikes become so bloated, especially considering modern lightweight materials? Why is it so? (again).
How much do you want to bet? :)
Unfortunately you're going to lose that bet
 

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... the way the bike wants to fall over when you were just sitting upright on it
Strange - I felt its inertia was planting it quite firmly in place.

Note, though, that a bike with low centre of gravity will feel like toppling more readily than one with of the same weight with a high centre of gravity due to its lower moment of inertia about the contact point. Maybe that's what you were perceiving.
 

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Wow ... on numerous fronts! I wonder how many R17’s they have to circulate around the world on display like this. That R11S also looks very tidy ... lucky new owner!

With only a side-stand it appears you’re unable to get properly seated, but I’m guessing from your comments the cramped seating position for legs was already obvious ... which I think will be very uncomfortable and inevitably a limiting factor particularly for taller and older riders.

I’ve certainly found when choosing a cruiser style of bike, outright performance becomes completely superfluous, when a relaxed riding style becomes the priority. Top speed and power are totally off the radar, irrelevant! When I added a 2018MY HD Deluxe to my lineup, I added a whole new riding experience and surprisingly although the heaviest bike I have ever owned, the centre of gravity is so low I never notice it & is easy to manoeuvre than any of my boxers, greatly assisted by the low seat height.
Thanks for sharing, cheers!
 
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Very nice looking bike. Love everything about it except that exhaust which could be easily changed.
I'm not a cruiser guy though...yet.
 

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So BMW found a way to rival the performance of bikes from the T-shirt company, a specially programmed "run poorly mode" and all I got on my R is an added 45HP some saved weight and dynamic pro mode.

I win.
 
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