BMW debuts new bobber concept with massive air-cooled flat twin

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Words: Nile Bijoux
29 May 2019

​BMW has revealed a new concept bike with an engine larger than most city cars.

Called the R18, it’s essentially an 1800cc flat-twin engine with a motorcycle around it. There’s a cradle frame, exposed driveshaft, teardrop-shaped fuel tank, old-school exhaust pipes with narrow, flared ends and big wire-spoke wheels wrapped in Metzeler rubber. It looks like a hard-tail set-up at the rear but there’s actually a cleverly hidden shock absorber underneath the seat.

But of course, the big draw is the engine. It was designed to look like the company’s boxer engines from the 1960s, only a lot bigger. The block and transmission cases are made from bead-blasted aluminium, contrasting the polished aluminium valve covers and pushrods. It’s also carburetted, with the Solex dual carbs similar to the units found in a BMW 2002 car.

In fact, apart from the starter and lights, there are no electronics at all on the concept. We’d expect the production version to feature fuel injection to help get around emissions, as well as ride modes and traction control.

While there’s no indication of a public release just yet, BMW has said the engine will power a new line-up. Perhaps a new hi-po R nineT could be on the way to duke it out with Triumph’s new Speed Twin.

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