BMW R 18 Classic

BMW R 18 Classic in the test (Baujahr 2022)

What can the BMW R 18 Classic do better than the standard R 18?

BMW R 18 Classic TestPhotos: Motorradtest.de
With the BMW R 18 Classic, BMW is launching an R 18 that has been upgraded to include touring functions. Strictly speaking, the Classic is more tourer than cruiser. Volker and Dietmar found out how it feels and where the differences to the standard R 18 lie during an extensive test drive.

A mountain of a motorcycle

We already tested the standard R18 in 2020 - incidentally, at that time as the first German test magazine. In this review, we will therefore limit ourselves to the differences between the Standard and the Classic. The engine, chassis and technology of both machines are largely identical.
At first glance, the Classic looks a bit larger than the Standard. It has the removable windscreen and the two well-made side pockets as standard. You can also look forward to the pillion seat, which is not exactly large, but still comfortable. Too bad: There are no grab handles for the front passenger except for a belt. In addition, the Classic has the two LED auxiliary headlights, which give the bike a slight US Police Touch. Cruise control is also standard on the Classic.
Everything you need for longer distances is already on board with the Classic at no extra charge, so BMW was very consistent. If one were to supplement a Standard R 18 with the additional parts of the Classic, one would come to about 24,670 euros - but then there would still be a few small but fine differences such as the modified rear muffler. Anyway: In total, the Classic for 23,955 euros is the slightly better deal, at least if you want the touring accessories.
After the seat test it is clear: The Classic is a huge motorcycle and with 365 kg even 20 kilograms (!) heavier than the standard R18. Where these extra kilos come from, is not so clear to us, probably the very long exhaust has a say in it. Manoeuvring is correspondingly difficult with the trumm, pushing back on only minimally sloping road is a real feat of strength. How good that BMW provides a reversing aid (never say "reverse gear"!). Although this costs just under 1,000 euros, in our opinion it is almost a must. How the reversing aid works can be seen in the video (below) from minute 08:30.

Dimensions of the BMW R 18 Classic

Abmessungen BMW R 18 Classic
That's how smoothly you sit on the R 18 Classic.

360-degree tour around the BMW R 18 Classic

Licht vorneSchalter R 18 ClassicKoffer / Taschen R 18 Classic

Technology of the BMW R 18 Classic

Technically, there are no differences between the R 18 and the Classic. Both machines have the three driving modes Rock, Roll & Rain and of course Ride-by-Wire. As already mentioned, the Classic has cruise control on board as standard.

We find it somewhat surprising that BMW has decided to use the standard buttons on the R 18 models as well. This probably has financial and logistical reasons, but somehow these rather modern-looking switches don't quite fit the bike - at least that's what we think.

In terms of lighting, the R 18 Classic is at the forefront. Full LED, optionally available adaptive cornering lights and the two LED auxiliary headlights not only look great, but also ensure an illuminated road and good sight. The fact that the rear and brake lights have been integrated into the turn signals at the rear is not so great, but of course it is somehow stylish.

Motor der BMW R 18 Classic

This is how the BMW R 18 Classic drives

The driving experience of the Classic is similar to that of the Standard R 18 - similarly confident. Feet on the running boards and off the fox goes! If you want, the fox really goes off, because 158 Nm of torque at 3,000 rpm means nothing more than propulsion without end. However, fast gassing is of course not exactly the purpose of the Classic, although it is of course reassuring when touring with pillion if you want to overtake a truck.
Of course, you can also cruise with this bike. When starting, the monumental 1,800cc boxer shakes like in the best of times, but once you get going, you can also glide along casually. The windbreak is okay, but during Volker's motorway drive (see video from minute 29:20) there was noticeable turbulence on the helmet from 120 km/h upwards. Although the windscreen offers good wind protection for the upper body, you still prefer to drive up to 110 km / h to have your peace.
Another difference to the standard R 18 is the 16-inch front wheel of the Classic. The tyre is almost bobber-like with a high flank and that actually feels different in corners than with the standard. We can't say whether worse or better, just different. We were happy about self-resetting turn signals and Keyless Go. The open cardan shaft drive is a real eye-catcher and also the claw-shifted 6-speed transmission convinced us. Qualitatively, everything about this bike is just great, which was to be expected at this price.

Conclusion - what sticks

The BMW R 18 Classic is a fully equipped cruiser tourer with which you can also tackle a longer journey as a couple. In contrast to an adventure bike, the luggage capacities are limited, but nothing stands in the way of a longer day trip on Route 66. This bike is simply an impressive piece of engineering due to its sheer size and performance. We would also like to have in the stable.
The test motorcycle was kindly provided to us by Bergmann & Söhne in Pinneberg near Hamburg for this test. If you would like to try out the R 18 Classic, you are welcome here and there is even a good coffee. In addition, there are a lot of used machines and other demonstrators around, so a visit to Pinneberg is always worthwhile.

Price/availability/colours/years of construction

  • Price: 23.955€
  • Used (1 year old): 22.000€
  • Availability: from 02/2021
  • Colours: black, white, red, violet, nürburg silver

Zubehör für die
R 18 Classic

  • Moneta
  • Polo
  • Amazon

Pro & Kontra

  • Windbreak
  • Beefy Boxer
  • Great optics
  • casual sitting position
  • Cylinders sometimes get in the way
  • Manoeuvring without reversing assistance almost impossible
  • Not for beginners

New registrations of the R 18 Classic

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New registrations of the R 18 Classic

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Von unserem Team geprüft:




2,440 mm
1,342 mm
365 kg
Ab. Weight
560 kg
710 mm
1,731 mm

Driving Performance & Range

Tank contents
16 l
5.6 l
285 km
180 km/h

Motor & Power Transmission

Engine design
2 Cyl. boxer
Number of cylinders
Oil air
1,802 cc
107.1 mm
100 mm
91 hp
158 NM
Number of gears

Suspension & Brakes

Double-loop steel frame with screwed-on under-covers
Suspension front
Telescopic fork
120 mm
Strut rear
Central spring leg
90 mm
Suspension rear
Two-arm swingarm made of steel
Brakes in front
Double disc
300 mm
Tyres at the front
130/90 B16
Brakes rear
Single disc
300 mm
Rear tyres
180/65 B16
BMW Motorrad Integral ABS