Several modern motorcycles come stock with the retro-styling, but none embodies this heritage like the new BMW R18. The bike features a double steel tube frame, exposed shaft drive, a solid-looking rear, and a flat-twin boxer engine.

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Being one of the best cruiser motorcycles in the modern world, the R18 draws its inspiration from the iconic BMW R5 – the R5 is quite visible in almost every aspect of this beautiful cruiser. But it's not just the R5; looking at the R18, you can see every part of classic BMW bikes from as early as 90 years ago. Here are a few features that make this beautiful creation a true modern retro.

10 Boxer Engine

BMW R18 Boxer Engine
Via drivemag.com

The boxer engine has been BMWs flagship engine for the better part of two decades now, and if you spot one, you know that's a BMW bike. However, the boxer engine in the R-18 is no slouch, and it delivers lots of power and torque.

a rider riding on a BMW R18
Via motorcycle.com

It features a flat-twin design that produces 91 horsepower and 116 lb-ft of torque. The engine not only looks and feels big, but it is also the largest motorcycle boxer engine ever built at 1802 cc.

9 Open Shaft Drive

BMW R18 shaft drive
Via cycleworld.com

The driveshaft is an ingenious and old-school way of delivering power to the rear wheel. Though most bikes do not use this engineering tech so often now, it remains pretty unique and extraordinary.

BNW R18 parked outside
Via motorcycle.com

BMW makes its shaft drive even special by keeping it open. This is just another example of how the bike manufacturers seamlessly blend the old features with some modern features to maintain a retro-modern aura on the R-18.

8 Adaptive Headlight

BMW R18 Adaptive headlight
Via gloriousmotorcycles.com

The bike may be retro, but the headlights are modern. Sticking with the recurring theme of the old blended with the new, BMW offers the R-18 with ultra-modern LED lights that provide perfect lighting for the rider.

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BMW R18 in a parking
Via newatlas.com

The headlights can easily switch from high light beams to low light beams depending on the rider's preference or the road and weather conditions. For a bit of luxury and convenience, BMW added a set of headlight pro light beams which provide efficient lighting when maneuvering corners.

7 Ride-By-Wire Throttle

Via gloriousmotorcycles.com

In almost all older motorcycles, a change of speed was accomplished by a mechanical system. Going full throttle would result in the wire tightening, in turn opening the throttle valve and letting in more oxygen and fuel, thus causing fuel combustion and delivery of more power to the bike. However, this mechanical method was inefficient.

BMW R18 on the road
Via xbhp.com

Yamaha changed the game with their Ride-By-Wire technology, which uses sensors and an ECU to open the throttle valve and let in the right amount of fuel and oxygen into the tank. This is a relatively new and efficient technology, and the fact that the R-18 has it shows how genuinely modern the bike is.

6 Transponder Key Fob

BMW R18 Transponder key fob
Via gloriousmotorcycles.com

All modern motorcycles have pretty much ditched the old key and ignition system for the much trendier and stylish transponder electrical ignition system. Bikes are always cool, but this transponder system makes you look modern and Avant-garde.

BMW R18 parked
Via motorcyclespecs.co.za

BMW incorporates this new transponder electrical ignition system in the R-18, but with a slight twist. Unlike everyone else, they leave room for the retro key and lock system that has faithfully served many bikers for generations. As a result of this minor tweak, BMW bikers can travel back in time and enjoy the old school tech whenever necessary.

5 Slipper Clutch

BMW R18 on the highway
Via ultimatemotorcycling.com

When a motorcycle rider downshifts at very high speeds, most of the force and back-torque are transferred to the rear wheel, causing it to spin out of control. This can often dangerous and cause the rider to lose control.

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BMW R18 parked
Via topgear.com

The slipper clutch enhances the bike's safety in such situations by allowing the clutch to match the bike's speed with the engine rotations. The R-18 comes equipped with the slipper clutch shows it is not so vintage after all.

4 Selectable Ride Modes

BMW R18 Selectable ride modes
Via gloriousmotorcycles.com

The R18 is built with three drive modes to choose from. A mode switch on the left handlebar gives the rider an option of either Rock, Roll, or Rain drive mods.

BMW R18 on the highway
Via ultimatemotorcycling.com

The Rock mode provides an aggressive throttle response with wheel spin allowed. The Roll mode is designed to provide the R18 with normal throttle response and traction control. The Rain mode comes in handy during rainy seasons and when riding through slippery terrains. This mode subdues throttle response and enhances traction control for such conditions.

3 Air-Oil Cooling

BMW18 Air-oil cooling
Via medium.com

Practically about 99 percent of BMW motorcycles produced back in the day were airheads. They used a cooling system that only used air as the primary cooling component, while many other bikes used a water cooling system.

a rider with his BMW R18
Via drivemag.com

To provide the rider with the best of both worlds, BMW went with an air-oil cooling system that uses both air and oil as the main cooling components. While it is quite rare to find a pure airhead in current markets, BMW reminisces the good old days with this blended air-oil cooling system.

2 Hill Start Control

an R18 parked
Via torquexpert.com

Big hill? No worries. The hill-start control feature on the BMW R-18 exemplifies the modern features that make the motorcycle a truly retro marvel. The feature allows riders to be able to scale hilly and mountainous regions with minimal effort.

BMW R18 parked
Via news18.com

The hill start feature also keeps the motorcycle from rolling backward when you come to a stop on a steep slope. The brake levers and the hill traction control systems help keep the bike stabilized until the rider can safely mount off the bike.

1 Partial Integral ABS

BMW R18 Partial integral ABS
Via gloriousmotorcycles.com

This is yet another sleek feature that outlines the longevity, relevance, and modernity of the BMW R-18 motorcycle. The ABS is most commonly used in cars for safe braking. The anti-lock technology allows both the front brakes and the rear brakes to be operated with one brake handlebar.

BMW R18 parked outside
Via cycleworld.com

This is a pretty modern feature in bikes. The inclusion of the technology in the R-18 underlines the bike's finer points both tech-wise and engineering-wise. The name may be retro, but the features are entirely modern.

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