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BMW R18 Boxer Engine Specs Revealed with an Impressive 90hp

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Though few details we given at this year’s EICMA show, we were thankful that we get to look forward to another year of BMW Motorrad hyping its upcoming air-cooled lineup of cruiser-styled motorcycles, which are known as the BMW R18 family.

That is right, the fun isn’t over, and surely the German motorcycle brand will delight us at least one more time with another concept machine that shows off its 1,800cc air-cooled boxer engine, and all of its massive glory.

Until then though, BMW Motorrad has decided to tease out the engine’s very impressive technical specifications, in an effort to appease the countless number of fans who are eagerly awaiting this motorcycle.


For starters, the cleverly named “Big Boxer” engine pumps out a robust 90hp (67 kW) of peak power at 4,750 rpm, as the twin-cylinder motor revs to its impressive redline of 5,750 rpm. For reference, this horsepower rating is over 50% higher than the 1970s Volkswagen Beetle, another iconic air-cooled boxer engine design from Germany.

Displacing a total of 1,802 cubic centimeters from its horizontally opposed cylinders, the real story from the R18 engine is its impressive peak torque figure – 117 lbs•ft (158 Nm), which it makes at just 3,000 rpm. As BMW accurately states in its press release, “these are the benefits of this level of performance and torque during riding.”

With the bulk of the torque curve available between 2,000 and 4,000 rpm, the BMW R18 engine should provide almost tractor-like acceleration for the motorcycles in its lineup.

Tipping the scales at 244 lbs (110.5 kg), the engine (with its gearbox and intake) is lighter than virtually every automobile motor in BMW’s lineup, and promises to give an “authentic” two-wheeled feel to motorcyclists, like never before achieved with a Bavarian motorcycle.

BMW touts the modern architecture used for the R18 combustion chamber – its four-valve cylinder head, dual ignition, intake manifold injection, etc – but it is quick to quiet fears from those resistant to change, and instead points to the engine’s classic overhead valve design.

This is a nod to BMW’s R 51/2 motorcycle, the first OHV twin-cylinder bike to be created by BMW after the German defeat in WWII, whose truly astounding design at the time allowed for the use of shorter pushrods than previously thought 70 years ago.

At the time, this design evolution was a sizable step forward in reducing the amount of moving mass on an engine, which is of course a critical element when you are creating a motor with pistons that measure 107.1 mm in bore.


Don’t think that the technology ends there, however. BMW plans to add an optional electric reverse gear to the six-speed manual transmission, to aid in low-speed parking lot maneuvers.

Additionally, BMW has figured out a way for the use of a single-disc clutch to include an anti-hopping feature, which the German brand says eliminates unwanted “stamping” of the rear wheel during hard downshifting, which can occur during festive riding.

Overall, the engine is a great achievement for the German brand, as it continues to find new ways to incorporate its iconic boxer engine aesthetic into new and exciting market segments in the motorcycle industry.

It will be hard to contain our excitement for the new R18 motorcycles, as we spend next year eagerly awaiting BMW Motorrad’s planned debut, but at least until then we can pore over these details and dream of what an exciting time it is to be alive in this modern era of motorcycle design.


Source: BMW Motorrad

Jensen Beeler

Despite his best efforts, Jensen is called one of the most influential bloggers in the motorcycle industry, and sometimes consults for motorcycle companies, whether they've solicited his expertise or not.

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