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Thread: Possibly unpopular opinion

  1. #1
    Registered User wbrownell9's Avatar
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    Possibly unpopular opinion

    People who compare the R18 to some kind of Harley are making the wrong comparison. The correct comparison is to the Honda Rune.
    • It meets a market demand that isn’t really there
    • It’s over-the-top in so many awesome ways that, in the end, don’t contribute to excellence
    • It’s not actually very good at some of the things it needs to be successful
    • They did it because they could
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  2. #2
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    All depends on what someone is looking for. I personally thought the Rune was ugly, but love the R18’s looks.

    I was thinking of adding a cruiser to the fleet, but found forward controls on bikes I test road caused lots of tailbone pain after 20 minutes. The mid controls on the R18 were much more comfortable.

    The R18 has the shake that most cruisers have as part of the experience, while the rotate to the left on start and throttle adds a lot of character that v-twins don’t have.

    While BMW doesn’t have a history of cruisers or big engines, the basic silhouette of the R18 does harken to some of the earliest models. Keeping the boxer which is a BMW icon and air cooling does further enhance the heritage. If they had built a v-twin, I don’t think it would be as honest.

    There will be a segment of riders that will only buy an American v-twin… BMW won’t convince them with the R18. But there are riders that want a cruiser but aren’t automatically dismissive of something different. Indian has been successful in attracting riders open to something different than a Harley. The R18 offers something that unlike the Japanese cruisers plays more to its own history and provides an alternative. I think a large part of R18 buyers will be like myself… long time BMW riders looking at cruisers. HD’s Pan America will likely be similar… appealing to Harley riders considering an adventure bike. But as manufacturers get out of their traditional segments and other brands’ riders become more accustomed to seeing them, they will likely consider buying brands they’d never thought of before.


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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by nielsm View Post
    There will be a segment of riders that will only buy an American v-twin… BMW won’t convince them with the R18. But there are riders that want a cruiser but aren’t automatically dismissive of something different. Indian has been successful in attracting riders open to something different than a Harley. The R18 offers something that unlike the Japanese cruisers plays more to its own history and provides an alternative. I think a large part of R18 buyers will be like myself… long time BMW riders looking at cruisers. HD’s Pan America will likely be similar… appealing to Harley riders considering an adventure bike. But as manufacturers get out of their traditional segments and other brands’ riders become more accustomed to seeing them, they will likely consider buying brands they’d never thought of before.


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    I was at the Harley Dealer getting my annual state safety inspection done on my BMW (it's close to my house). I looked around the showroom and everything is so low. I asked if they ever got in an an Pan Americas. They had one that was sold and in the service bay that they let me look at and throw a leg over. It was as tall as a GS (which I really want one day) and probably $6K cheaper new than a GS. I'm not a fan of chrome and all that, but the PA was pretty cool!
    2004 R1150R Rockster | 1981 R100 | 2019 KLX250 | 1980 R65 (sold)

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by R65_Steve View Post
    I was at the Harley Dealer getting my annual state safety inspection done on my BMW (it's close to my house). I looked around the showroom and everything is so low. I asked if they ever got in an an Pan Americas. They had one that was sold and in the service bay that they let me look at and throw a leg over. It was as tall as a GS (which I really want one day) and probably $6K cheaper new than a GS. I'm not a fan of chrome and all that, but the PA was pretty cool!
    Plus the PA can be had with auto adjust suspension that lowers the bike when you come to a stop. Think some reviewers felt the v-twin kicked off a lot of heat (in part due to exhaust system maybe). Though reviews loved the bike overall I believe.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by wbrownell9 View Post
    People who compare the R18 to some kind of Harley are making the wrong comparison. The correct comparison is to the Honda Rune.
    • It meets a market demand that isn’t really there
    • It’s over-the-top in so many awesome ways that, in the end, don’t contribute to excellence
    • It’s not actually very good at some of the things it needs to be successful
    • They did it because they could
    Last point above…true. Sort of like the R1200CLC they came out with back in the day (front end too heavy due to fairing and they robbed it from some hp).

  6. #6
    slave to gravity skibum69's Avatar
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    I am so not a cruiser guy!
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by motor4 View Post
    Plus the PA can be had with auto adjust suspension that lowers the bike when you come to a stop. .

    That's cool. They didn't mention that feature. I'm 6' tall and it is a pretty tall bike. I could see that being popular.
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  8. #8
    YouTube Mechanic adamchandler's Avatar
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    I want an R18 because:

    -It's Beautiful
    -It's a boxer
    -IT looks very comfortable for around town
    -It's a BMW
    -It has a retro appeal

    I don't want to spend $20K on a bike that isn't a Swiss-army knife like my GS but I'd love to have one in the garage and I'd just constantly stare at it. after spending a lot of time looking at R18s in person, I did go to an HD on Saturday and honestly, there isn't anything on their showroom floor that compares to the R18's style and look...but maybe that's because I'm more of a BMW guy.
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  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by nielsm View Post
    While BMW doesn’t have a history of cruisers or big engines, the basic silhouette of the R18 does harken to some of the earliest models. Keeping the boxer which is a BMW icon and air cooling does further enhance the heritage.
    For years I’ve felt that BMW should design a cruiser that harkened back to their roots.

    Then came the Chromehead…. ummm, no. I asked my contacts at BMW “why don’t you just make a bike that looks like the /2?” The answer was “stay tuned.”

    Now the R18. Ok, it is black with pinstripes and some interesting touches. I like it, but it’s WAY too big.

    If they would only wrap the R9T engine with a black with white pinstripes /2 lookalike (ok, probably no Earles fork) I believe they would sell many, many of them.

    Another BMW contact told me that the GS was the HD rider’s second bike, and I can see BMW losing those sales now with the Pan America (which is an awesome motorcycle).

    But I can’t see a “traditional” HD rider opting for the R18. Maybe newer riders who have a love for the roundel on their BMW car?

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  10. #10
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    Possibly unpopular opinion

    I think the idea of a smaller engine cruiser could be interesting for BMW. The R9T range has continued to expand ranging from cafe racer to scrambler to retro standard. Adding a cruiser style could work and given it is the older air/oil cooled motor could hit the heritage angle. Just like how HD has the smaller engine Sportster line and Indian has the Scout and Triumph has the Speedmaster & Bobber, BMW could add in a smaller one.

    However, the big cruiser/touring space is the halo space for cruisers, so starting there makes sense. Yes it is big, but that is part of the experience.

    Ironically, the Scout and now the new Sportster have put more of a performance angle onto the smaller cruisers than they had historically. BMW has always been better performance. The Chromehead handled better than most cruisers of its day. While the monolever rear and kidney bean design on the front and cream color represented some classic BMW elements, I think the R18 captured it more completely. A design exercise on a R9T cruiser could be a great way to gauge interest in a smaller R12.
    Last edited by nielsm; 09-08-2021 at 06:01 PM.

  11. #11
    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I guess.
    The R18 may be as stylistically excessive as a chopper with a 30” front wheel and saddlebags that drag in corners, but if it makes you happy then go for it. Pure functionality is for KLRs anyway.
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  12. #12
    Registered User RIDERR1150GSADV's Avatar
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    I saw the top of the line R18 Transcontinental yesterday at my dealer while it was still in the shipping crate and partially covered with packing materials ... I want one...
    The blue/silver color scheme looks so much better in the flesh than the website shows..
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  13. #13
    Kawa Afterthought weschmann's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=nielsm;1260187]I think the idea of a smaller engine cruiser could be interesting for BMW. The R9T range has continued to expand ranging from cafe racer to scrambler to retro standard. Adding a cruiser style could work and given it is the older air/oil cooled motor could hit the heritage angle. Just like how HD has the smaller engine Sportster line and Indian has the Scout and Triumph has the Speedmaster & Bobber, BMW could add in a smaller one.

    However, the big cruiser/touring space is the halo space for cruisers, so starting there makes sense. Yes it is big, but that is part of the experience.

    I'm a 9 t owner (18 UGS) that I love the looks of,but the suspension is so bad that I finally gave up on it and gave it to my son. Upgraded rear shock, Rox handle bar risers with rubber grommets, grip puppies, etc. Never could get the bike to a point where my hands didn't tingle after riding. Only bike out of 7 different models that this happened to me. Watching the 9 T forum it seems to be a major complaint of a majority of owners, so not just me. So, unless the engineering on the 9 T evolves, I doubt if that's the answer to the cruiser debate.

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