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Bike study at the Concorso d'Eleganza

Bike study at the Concorso d'Eleganza

Edgar Heinrich enjoys the big performance. Under the infernal boxer sound, the head designer of BMW Motorrad drives his latest concept design into the garden of the Villa d'Este. Applause surprises, a perfect world premiere for the BMW Concept R18. The next morning, the most exclusive classic car meeting in the world will start on the spot. Traditions play an important role here and a tradition of recent history – after all, the Concorso celebrates its 90th birthday this year – is the annual presentation of a new motorcycle study.

Behind the rather sober model name Concept R18 hides a spectacular custom bike this year. A motorcycle with the spirit of yesteryear, reduced to drive, to performance, to visible mechanics – Heinrich and his design team know how to make friends here on Lake Como. Right from the start, the motorcycle manufacturers make clear that the R18 is more than just a little finger exercise. Already in the second half of 2020, the custom bike with the necessary modifications to go into production.

Visually, the black cruiser takes on the design language of classics like the BMW R5. The drop-shaped tank is provided with white contrast lines, components such as the chrome propshaft are exposed in the open frame. The BMW Concept R18 dispenses with optical bells and whistles and focuses on the powerful 1.8-liter boxer, which dominates the side view with its elegant finish made of glass bead blasted aluminum. A dominant twin carburettor completes the classic look.

After the unique piece from Custom Works Zon presented in Yokohama and the revival birdcage from Revival Cycles from Texas, the Concept R18 is the third bike based on the new prototype engine. With a consistent reduction to the essential, the study deliberately sets a counterpoint to the technological world. So, apart from the starter and light, no additional electronics are used. Every component fulfills a function, is essential for driving.

Edgar Heinrich describes the concept with "mechanical romance" and also refers to the many small details that the team has realized in the construction of the prototype. "This concept bike excites you, you really want to drive it. And when you're off, you do not just put it in the garage and go away – you turn back and look back. "

The leather saddle and the large headlamp clearly follow the 1950s look. However, the Concept R18 does not make any headway from yesterday: modern LEDs work under the headlights with the engraved BMW logo, and the engine uses modern air-oil cooling.

Until mass production, the BMW R18 still has to undergo extensive modifications. After all, ever stricter homologation rules and regulations also apply to motorcycles. But the BMW Concept R18 sets a clear direction. One that meets the spirit of the times – this was clearly demonstrated by the premiere applause at the Concorso.

Edgar Heinrich, Chief Designer BMW Motorrad: "For me, motorcycles like the BMW Motorrad Concept R18 address an ever-increasing need of a growing segment of the motorcycle scene: Instead of technology as an innovation driver, simplification, authenticity and traceability are in the foreground. I observe an almost romantic yearning for mechanics. With this custom bike we interpret this need in our own way and set an analogous statement in the digital age. We have a rich history of iconic motorcycles with these very same design features, and we believe they still perform well with current technology. "

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