The R18 mega-cruiser was BMW’s biggest bike last year, literally. It’s the largest opposing twin the company has ever made, and BMW made much ballyhoo about its release in 2020. And, along with the original stripped-down cruiser version, and the bagger version, we also saw patent drawings for a touring version of the bike, with a big, cushy saddle and larger front fairing.
Those patent drawings are circulating around again, presumably after someone spotted them in another patent or trademark application (as with many of these things, the origin seems shrouded in mystery …). While we can’t guarantee it, we’d think that means the touring version of the bike will likely debut in coming weeks.
When it comes, it might take over some of the market held by BMW’s K1600 series. The K1600 line appears to be strong in 2021, with four sub-models available in Canada, but how much longer can BMW sell this older design, in a world of ever-tightening emissions laws? And is there really a market for mega-tourers like the 1600 series, or have those buyers moved over to cruiser-style bikes? Judging from what the market shows, it seems the manufacturers are betting touring enthusiasts want retro-styled machines. The Honda Gold Wing and BMW’s 1600 series are the only machines left that are straight-up tourers, and even those bikes have come out with “bagger” versions in the past decade.
Currently, BMW Motorrad Canada sells the R18 Classic bagger for $24,400 MSRP (plus taxes and fees), so expect this touring version to be approaching $30k CAD by the time it hits the market.