BMW's latest concept bike uses striking retro styling to show off its massive modern engine.
Like the skeletal "Birdcage" concept the German automaker commissioned through Austin's Revival Cycles, the Motorrad Concept R18 was built around the new 1800cc "Big Boxer" two-cylinder.
The gigantic power plant resembles the BMW flat twins that were produced through the 1960s but has a significantly larger displacement, modern air/oil cooling, and is fed by a pair of Solex carburetors instead of a fuel injection system.
BMW took extra measures to make this thing shine. The block and transmission are constructed from bead-blasted aluminum, and the shaft that connects the back wheel to the drive is plated in chrome. To ensure onlookers always have a view of the powertrain, no other covers were used.
Hand-applied white lines on the fork and fuel tank recall Beamer's classic motorcycle color schemes, while a discreet yellow-gold varnish and black-effect paintwork on the tank serve as modern accents. The imprinted single leather seat, integrated cantilever spring strut and headlamp graphics all hark back to design features of the 1950s.
Finally, the 21-inch front and 18-inch rear large-spoke wheels are fitted with Metzeler tires—a reference to the historic BMW R5 boxer twin.
"This concept bike appeals to something deep down—you just want to just get on it and ride off," said Edgar Heinrich, head of BMW Motorrad Design.
"But when you get off it again, you don’t just put it in the garage and walk away. You turn around again and give it a final parting glance."