BMW R 18 Roctane

BMW R18 Roctane Review (Baujahr 2023)

What makes BMW's R18 Badass excavator so special?

BMW R18 Roctane im TestPhotos:
The BMW R18 Roctane is the fifth model in BMW's R18 series. With the Roctane, BMW apparently wants to win over the excavator fans of Harley and Indian. The Roctane not only looks beguilingly good, but also has exactly the right ingredients for this target group with the 21-inch front wheel, the dragster seat and the low-lying integrated cases. Markus and Dietmar took a close look at the Roctane.

Fat device!

As with all R18s, you stop in front of the Roctane with your mouth open - what a chunk! The bike is one of the largest and heaviest bikes we've had the pleasure of testing so far. By the way, BMW Motorrad put the test bike in front of our door, thank you very much for your trust! The Roctans are available in metallic black and in two matt shades: grey and "Manhattan". It costs from 25,500 euros. Sounds more expensive, but a look at the competitors puts it into perspective very quickly. Motorcycles in this class are not available for the price of cash register glasses. That's just the way it is.
Farben der R18 Roctane
Compared to the standard R18 for 21.600 euros, the Roctane has less chrome and more matt black parts, cast rims and other tire dimensions, a cockpit integrated into the lamp, a different exhaust system, a higher and wider Apehanger handlebar, a pillion seat and the integrated top-loader cases, each with a capacity of 27 liters. The engine, frame and chassis are largely identical. Nevertheless, the Roctane feels different from the normal R18 because of the various changes. Somehow even cooler and even more casual and even more like Route 66.
Dimensions and seat ergonomics
How do you sit on the Roctane? Casual, cool and somehow on the way to Route 66. Seriously: You sit upright and of course still a little "stooped". The Apehanger handlebar is really very wide and the hands are almost at the level of the shoulder. Compared to other motorcycles, you reach a little upwards. The knee angle is almost at 90 degrees and the cylinders are also far enough away so that they didn't bother us.
The pillion passenger has only one handle, but fat footrests and enough space. If you are traveling a lot in pairs, you will certainly go for the R18 Transcontinental, but at least the Roctane already has a pillion seat as standard compared to the standard R18. The dragster seat is comfortable and gives the driver good grip when accelerating thanks to the seat recess - but more on that later.
Abmessungen Roctane
That's what it's like to sit on the BMW R18 Roctane.

360 degree tour around the R18 Roctane

CockpitBeleuchtung vorneAnsicht von hinten

Technology of the BMW R18 Roctane

The Roctane looks very original, but is technically well equipped. Cruise control, cornering ABS, traction control, engine drag control, keyless ride, automatic turn signal reset and the driving modes "Rock", "Roll" and "Rain" already known from the other R18 models are already included as standard. The small cockpit is integrated into the lamp, which is reminiscent of old BMWs and looks very chic. The analogue speed display is supported by a small LC display including an on-board computer and warning lights. That's all you need and that's all you really want with the Roctane.

The lighting equipment is completely LED, including the turn signals and the daytime running lights. The taillights are integrated into the turn signals - typical for new BMW motorcycles. While this may look stylish, we think it causes the brake lights to go down a bit. Funny: If the ignition is switched off, it takes a little time for the headlight and taillight to go out. Otherwise you only know it from cars ...

If you want to upgrade your Roctane even further, you sometimes have to dig deep into your pocket, but sometimes the additional features are surprisingly cheap - strange pricing policy. Heated grips cost 225 euros, the hill start assist 105 euros, the tire pressure monitor costs 250 euros, the cornering and daytime running lights cost 400 euros and the highly recommended reversing aid costs just under 1,000 euros. Without this "reverse gear", it is hardly possible to push the machine back even at the slightest gradient.

Motor R18 Roctane

That's how it drives

The sound of the Roctane is typical big boxer. It bubbles and boxes until the bars present themselves. We also find the exhaust system of the Roctane very successful. The fat manifolds run into an almost copper-colored shiny tailpipe with a stylish end cap. This looks really great and underlines the luxurious character of the R18. By the way, the stationary noise is less than 96 dbA - phew, lucky ... As always, you will find a soundcheck at the top right.
Then we start our test drive and try to get rid of the respect for this ship as quickly as possible. The Roctane turns out to be not as thick as it looks. It turns surprisingly easily and goes almost willingly through the curves. We wouldn't have expected this device to do that, although of course we're still talking about a motorcycle weighing 375 kg. BMW doesn't push the boundaries of physics either and accordingly you can't compare the R18 Roctane with a 180 kg naked bike.
Rider's view from the saddle downwards: engine wherever you look.

We have already appreciated the performance of the 1,800 cc boxer during the tests of the R18 and R18Classic . The engine shakes wonderfully when starting and then pampers the driver with torque and propulsion at its best. The gears are rather long and that fits the machine wonderfully. You don't have to change gears all the time and since the engine feels comfortable from about 2,000 rpm, you bubble calmly through the area.
The gearbox shifts easily and precisely, and we don't miss a QuickShifter here. On the contrary, every shift is a conscious and almost sensual action in itself. This is also due to the paddle shifter, the shift up to the next gear is done automatically with heel pressure on the rear part of the paddle. The brakes of the R18 are actually good, but you still have to bring 375 kg to a stop first! Even with heavy brake lever use, the braking distance is considerably longer than on lighter bikes. Of course that's the case, a fully loaded container ship has a longer braking distance than a fishing cutter loaded only with Glückstädter Matjes.
We see a difference between the Roctane and the other R18s in the running boards: these are mounted further back so that the cylinders are less annoying. If you still want to heave your legs over the massive cylinders from time to time, there are appropriate shelves in the accessories. Speaking of accessories: Of course, you can also customize the Roctane according to your own ideas. BMW has put a separate customization page online on its website, according to the motto: This is how we imagined the Roctane - and now it's your turn! In the configurator, on the other hand, the options are rather sparse compared to other BMW motorcycles - which is of course mainly due to the fact that the Roctane already has so many features in series production.
We would like to urgently recommend the reversing aid to potential buyers. Even during our rather short test drives, we often needed them, otherwise we would have had to rely on outside help. In the following test video you can see what this reversing aid looks like in action.

Conclusion - really puts you in a good mood!

Of all the R18 models we've tested so far, we've liked the R18 Roctane the most. It is more agile than expected, looks great and brings out the luxury feeling of an R18 in the best possible way. The equipment is good, you always have suitcases with you and always look casual.
Unfortunately, the fascination that probably makes up every R18 can only be experienced on the bike. Therefore, the following tip to all cruiser fans: Get on the R18 and take it for a test drive! Best on the Roctane ...

Price/Availability/Colours/Years of Construction

  • Price: 25.500€
  • Availability: since 05/2023
  • Colors: Black, Gray, Manhattan

Zubehör für die
R 18 Roctane

  • Moneta
  • Polo
  • Amazon

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Von unserem Team geprüft:




2,615 mm
374 kg
Ab. Weight
560 kg
720 mm
1,720 mm

Driving Performance & Range

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

Motor & Power Transmission

Engine design
Two-cylinder four-stroke boxer engine
Number of cylinders
Air/oil cooled
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 49 mm
120 mm
Strut rear
Central spring leg
90 mm
Suspension rear
Steel two-arm swingarm
Brakes in front
Double disc brake, 4-piston fixed caliper
300 mm
Tyres at the front
120/70 B21
Brakes rear
Single-disc brake, 4-piston fixed caliper
300 mm
Rear tyres
180/55 B168
BMW Motorrad Integral ABS (Part Integral)