BMW Introduces the 2024 R 18 Roctane

Troy Siahaan
by Troy Siahaan

BMW’s big-engined foray into a streamlined cruiser

BMW has officially taken the wraps off its latest model, the R 18 Roctane, making it the fifth member of the Heritage R 18 family, joining the R 18, R 18 Classic, R 18 B, and R 18 Transcontinental.

However, in contrast to our beloved Dennis Chung’s prediction, the Roctane brings contemporary cruiser style and does so in bagger trim and without the front fairing. DC thought the bike would have a fairing and no bags.

Either way, the R 18 Roctane is dubbed a cruiser, a bagger, “and everything in between,” says BMW. Its distinctive features include its mid-rise bars, instrument cluster integrated into the headlight housing, painted hard side cases, integrated turn signals, blacked-out engine, dark chrome exhaust, and 21/18-inch wheelset.

When you first gaze your eyes upon the R 18 Roctane, you might be taken back in time to BMW’s air/oil cooled boxers from decades gone by. Then as it is now, the big boxer engine takes centerstage and is the focal point of the bike. As you move your eyes, the streamlined design means your eyes continue in one motion from one side to the other. Everything flows from front to back, and once you move past the engine, you’ll notice the exposed driveshaft leading to the rear. It looks like a hardtail back there, but we all know there’s a shock hidden out of view so you can have your cake and eat it too.

Metal body panels throughout are a customizer’s dream, while the paintwork is a sight to behold. Black Storm Metallic is the standard color, but you can also get Mineral Grey Metallic Matte and Manhattan Metallic Matte as options. The matte contrasts with the high-gloss black chassis for a sophisticated look.

As a bagger, it’s suited for long-distances, and the 27-liter (each) bags have enough space to hold a ton of stuff. Moving to the front of the bike, the integrated instrument cluster in the headlight is inspired by the 1936 BMW R 5. The round cluster is worked into the metal LED headlight housing, and though it looks retro (and pretty cool, we might add), it displays all the relevant information you expect on a modern bike.

Of course, we can’t forget the heart of the R 18 Roctane: the monstrous 1,802cc boxer engine. It’s no different from the other R 18 bikes, so power remains the same: 91 hp and 116 lb-ft of torque.

On the tech side, the R 18 Roctane comes packed with electronics. You’ll find as standard automatic stability control, dynamic brake control, cruise control, torque control assist, dynamic engine brake control, and riding modes. If that’s not enough, you can get an adaptive headlight, hill start control, and reverse assist as options.

With the Roctane, it’s all about the fundamentals while keeping things looking fresh and old school – all at the same time. The design is clean and clearly aimed at making an attempt to steal eyeballs away from the likes of the Harley Road King and Indian Springfield. Will it succeed? That’s anybody’s guess, but starting at $18,695, its price undercuts its American rivals by over $5000.

See the full press release below to know all the deets, straight from BMW.

Begin press release:

The New BMW R 18 Roctane

BMW Motorrad is proud to announce the newest and fifth member of the Heritage line R 18 family, the BMW R 18 Roctane. The R 18 Roctane joins the R 18, R 18 Classic, R 18 B and R 18 Transcontinental.

The R 18 borrows styling cues from past models, such as the 1936 BMW R 5, where the iconic air-oil cooled boxer motor is the epicenter of the purist, “streamliner” design. Modern technology discretely supports the R 18 Roctane in delivering an emotional riding experience, from the first start of the engine to wherever your heart and the front wheel may guide you, near or far.

  • Unique R 18 Roctane featuresMid-rise handlebars
  • Instrument cluster integrated into the headlight housing
  • Painted hard side cases with integrated turn signals.
  • Blacked-out engine and drivetrain
  • Dark Chrome exhaust system
  • 21-inch front and 18-inch rear alloy wheels.


The new BMW R 18 Roctane is a cruiser, a bagger and everything in between. The larger 21-inch front wheel, combined with the 18-inch rear wheel and the mid-rise handlebars give the new R 18 model a more purposeful look.

Taking design cues from air/oil-cooled BMW boxer models of decades past, design features such as the engine acting as center piece, the double-loop frame, the exposed drive shaft and the rigid-style rear all combine to deliver the tapered streamliner design language intended by BMW Motorrad.

Starting from the steering head, the frame spine and rear swing arm top frame tubes visually form a continuous line. In conjunction with the swing arm’s lower beam tubes, which are aligned with the frame down tubes, this flowing line gives the new R 18 Roctane a muscular appearance.

Attention to the smallest details can be seen throughout the R 18 Roctane. The classic body parts of the R 18 Roctane are made of metal. The 4.2-gallon fuel tank’s teardrop shape is derived from the R 5, as are the design of the front and rear fenders, the fork covers and the headlight housing. All, also made of steel.

The flawless paint finishes that have been featured on all R 18 models are found on the new R 18 Roctane. Black Storm Metallic is standard while Mineral Grey Metallic Matte and Manhattan Metallic Matte finishes are available as optional colors. These matte paint finishes contrast with the high-gloss black chassis and ensure a classically modern look.

Painted Hard Cases

The new R 18 Roctane is equipped for cruising and touring thanks to body-color painted cases with integrated LED taillights. The cases offer 27 liters of luggage space each and can be equipped with optional removable liners. The “filler stripes” that cover the space between the cases and the bike can be selected from the available accessories. The original BMW Motorrad Accessories range also offers soft luggage options such as the rear bag or frame bag made of waxed canvas with genuine leather trim.

Headlight with Instrument Cluster

Inspired by the legendary 1936 BMW R 5, and from then, on almost all BMW motorcycles until the early 1970s, the R 18 Roctane’s round instrument cluster is integrated into the metal LED headlight housing to give a unique and classic look. The “BERLIN BUILT” lettering on the instrument dial is a reference to the bike’s origin and for all its classic looks, the instrument cluster delivers all the important information such as engine rpm, gear indicator, status inquiry and trip computer details.

At the heart of the new BMW R 18 Roctane is the 1,802-cc boxer engine. This motor carries on the tradition of motorcycles from Munich and Berlin-Spandau from the very beginning of BMW Motorrad production in 1923.

The engine output remains unchanged; 91 hp at 4,750 rpm and a maximum torque of 116 lb-ft at 3,000 rpm, with more than 110 lb-ft. available between 2,000 to 4,000 rpm. The maximum engine speed is 5,750 rpm.

The air/oil cooled motor features a vertically split aluminum engine and weighs a combined 244 lbs. with the transmission.

In contrast to the classic air-cooled two-valve boxer engines from BMW Motorrad, the forged crankshaft of the R 18 motor, has an additional center main bearing, which became necessary, due to the large cylinder volume, to prevent undesirable bending vibrations of the crankshaft.

Forged connecting rods, cast aluminum pistons, cylinder walls coated with NiCaSil and a wet sump lubrication system with a two-stage oil pump driven by the crankshaft via a sleeve chain are additional features of the largest BMW boxer motor ever installed in a production motorcycle.

When developing the valve drive for the R 18 boxer motor, BMW Motorrad engineers were inspired by a very special engine design from history – the 2-cylinder boxer of the 1936 – 1941 R 5 / R 51 and the 1950 – 1951 R 51/2, the latter having been the first BMW motorcycle with a boxer engine after the Second World War.

The twin camshaft design allows for shorter pushrods. This arrangement reduces the moving masses, decreases deflection and minimizes the linear expansion of the push rods. The two intake and exhaust valves in the cylinder head are actuated in pairs via fork rocker arms. Valve clearances can be changed by means of one adjusting screw with lock nut per valve, making valve clearance adjustments quicker and easier.

Transmission and Shaft Drive

The constant-mesh, 6-speed gearbox, is located in a two-part aluminum housing and features a four-shaft transmission with helical gear pairs. The transmission input shaft with cleat damper, drives the two transmission shafts with the gear wheel pairs via a countershaft. Reverse gear, driven by an intermediate gear and an electric motor, is available as an option.

A single-plate, dry, self-reinforcing anti-hopping clutch eliminates undesired rear wheel hop which may be caused by engine drag torque during hard down shifts.

As in all BMW motorcycles with boxer engines, torque is transmitted from the gearbox to the rear wheel via a driveshaft or Cardan shaft drive. The open, nickel-plated drive shaft and universal joint are examples of classic motorcycle technology commonly used on BMW Motorrad models up to and including model year 1955. A so-called tripoid joint is installed on the gearbox side for the purpose of length compensation.


The chassis in the new R 18 Roctane is the same double-loop steel tube frame used in the R 18 and R 18 Classic. The high manufacturing quality and attention to detail is evident in barely perceptible details such in the steering head struts as well as in the welded joints between steel tubes and cast or forged parts. Some of the tube joints in the steering head area are cut at an angle, which makes the connection look particularly pleasing to the eye.

The rear steel swing arm is made of steel tubes and cast or forged parts and combined with the central cantilever shock, is designed to give the look of the rigid frame used in the original BMW R 5. As a result, the rigid-frame style layout also provides the so-called flyline, from front to rear, of the overall R 18 design.

The suspension elements of the new R 18 Roctane, also reflect the classic design. Electronic adjustment options have been deliberately omitted. Instead, telescopic forks and a central shock with travel-dependent damping and adjustable spring preload ensure superior wheel guidance and suspension control and comfort. As in the legendary BMW R 5, the fork tubes are encased in fork sleeves. The fixed fork tube diameter is 49 mm, while suspension travel is 4.7-inches at the front and 3.5-inches at the rear, same as on the R 18.

Controls and Ergonomics

The new BMW R 18 Roctane features mid-mounted controls, a long-standing BMW Motorrad philosophy of rider positioning. This classic position behind the cylinders is not only typical of BMW, but it also allows for a relaxed and active riding position for optimally controlling the motorcycle. The R 18 Roctane features a slim two-level seat that tapers towards the rear, with rear passenger straps, and is equipped with running boards in conjunction with a heel-toe gearshift controls. The mid-rise, black-coated handlebars and the comfortably low 28.3-inch seat height (27.3-inches for the R 18) ensure an upright and relaxed riding posture.

Wheels, Tires and Brakes

The new BMW R 18 Roctane features twin 300 mm front disc brakes with four-piston fixed calipers and a 300 mm single-disk rear brake. BMW Motorrad Integral ABS (partially integral) is standard. On this brake system, the hand brake lever activates the front and rear brakes together. The foot brake lever only acts on the rear brake. BMW Motorrad Integral ABS adjusts the brake force distribution between the front and rear brakes during braking based on the dynamic wheel load distribution.

The R 18 Roctane's cast alloy wheels have a very distinctive look, greater wheel diameters at the front and rear compared to the R 18. The 3.5 x 21” front wheel (3.5 x 19-inches on the R 18) is equipped with a 120/70 B21 tire (120/70 R19 on the R 18), while a 180/55 B18 tire (180/65 B16 on the R 18) is used on the 5.5 x 18" rear wheel (5.0 x 16-inches on the R 18). The 21-inch front wheel extends the castor significantly (7.3-inches in the R 18 Roctane vs. 5.9-inches for the R 18), improving straight-line stability.

Adaptive Headlight

The optional adaptive headlight, which is unique in this class, works by activating separate LED elements in the main headlight, which each have their own reflectors, depending on the lean angle. The function is used to compensate for the lean angle in relation to the cut-off of the low beam. The signal of the lean angle sensor is read, and the adaptive headlight is switched on. The function is activated when the engine is running, the low beam or high beam is activated, darkness is detected, and the motorcycle is moving at a speed above 6 mph and at a lean angle approximately between 7° and 25°. This significantly improves the illumination of the inside of the curve - a big safety plus when riding at night or in other situations with poor lighting conditions.

Available Reverse Assist and Hill Start Control plus standard Cruise Control.

The new R 18 Roctane can be equipped with optional Reverse Assist and Hill Start Control. Reverse Assist can be activated via the selector lever when needed. Reverse is then initiated by pressing on the starter button. Hill Start Control makes it particularly easy to start off on an incline. It is activated by briefly operating the hand or foot brake lever. Optional heated grips will keep your hands warm on cold days. The R 18 Roctane is equipped with standard cruise control.

Riding Modes and Safety Systems

The BMW R 18 Roctane is equipped with standard keyless start and Riding Modes. Keyless Ride allows the rider to keep the key safely in the pocket.

The new R 18 Roctane features the same three riding modes R 18 riders are familiar with: “Rain”, “Roll” and “Rock”. ASC (Automatic Stability Control, disengageable) and Engine Drag Control are also standard and ensures a high level of riding safety.

In “Rain” mode, throttle response is gentler, and the control characteristics of ASC and engine drag control allow for a more slippery road surface to achieve a very high level of riding safety.

In “Road” mode, the engine offers optimum throttle response, while ASC and engine drag control are set to achieve ideal performance on all roads.

The “Rock” riding mode allows the rider to explore the full dynamic potential of the new R 18 Roctane. Throttle response is very spontaneous and direct, and ASC allows a little more slip.

In each riding mode, the optimum interaction of throttle response, ASC control and engine drag torque control is provided. This means that the three riding modes offer optimum adjustment options – both, with regard to road conditions (Rain mode), and the rider’s personal ride experience (Rock mode).

The standard, electronically controlled, Engine Drag Control prevents the rear wheel from slipping because of abrupt throttle changes or downshifting. An anti-hopping clutch is opened from a mechanically preset threshold to prevent the rear wheel from hopping – for example when down shifting. However, if the tire's available grip is below this opening threshold, for example in wet conditions, the rear wheel could still exceed the traction limit due to the engine drag torque and simultaneous activation of the rear wheel brake and then slip. Thanks to engine drag control, the new R 18 Roctane detects this danger at an early stage. Depending on the coefficient of friction between the tire and the road surface, the throttle valves are opened in milliseconds, in such a way that the drag torque is reduced, and the rear wheel remains within its traction range. This results in further enhanced safety, especially on slippery roads.

  • Colors
  • Black Storm Metallic
  • Mineral Gray Metallic Matte
  • Manhattan Metallic Matte

  • Standard Equipment
  • 2-cylinder 1,802 cc air/oil-cooled Boxer motor 91 hp and 116 lb-ft of torque
  • 6-speed helical toothed gearbox
  • Stainless steel exhaust system
  • Anti-hopping single-disk, dry clutch
  • Nickel-plated exposed shaft drive
  • Mid-rise handlebar
  • 21-inch front and 18-inch rear cast aluminum wheels
  • Automatic stability control
  • BMW Motorrad Integral ABS (partially integral)
  • 300 mm twin-disk front and 300 mm single-disk rear brakes
  • Dynamic Brake Control
  • Steering Stabilizer
  • 49mm Telescopic forks with fork covers
  • 12v power socket
  • Instrument cluster integrated into headlight housing
  • Electronic immobilizer
  • Comfort LED turn signals
  • LED headlight and taillights
  • Cruise Control
  • On board computer
  • Torque Control Assist
  • Dynamic Engine Brake Control
  • Riding Modes
  • Adjustable hand brake and clutch levers
  • Integrated side cases, painted body color
  • Keyless Ride
  • Black powertrain
  • Dark Chrome plated header and exhaust
  • Solo seat
  • Floorboards

  • Optional equipment
  • Select Package - Adaptive Headlight, Headlight Pro, Heated Grips, Tire Pressure Monitor
  • Locking Fuel Cap
  • Hill Start Control
  • Reverse Assist


The R 18 Roctane features a wide selection of BMW Motorrad and BMW Option 719 accessories, including:

  • Exhaust systems
  • Engine, cylinder head cover and are intake runner covers
  • Wheels
  • Mirrors
  • Front fenders
  • Expansion tank, fuel filler and fork covers
  • Hand control levers
  • Solo seats, passenger seats and back rests
  • Windshields
  • Tank bags
  • Luggage rack
  • Rear bag
  • Mobile phone bag

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Troy Siahaan
Troy Siahaan

Troy's been riding motorcycles and writing about them since 2006, getting his start at Rider Magazine. From there, he moved to Sport Rider Magazine before finally landing at in 2011. A lifelong gearhead who didn't fully immerse himself in motorcycles until his teenage years, Troy's interests have always been in technology, performance, and going fast. Naturally, racing was the perfect avenue to combine all three. Troy has been racing nearly as long as he's been riding and has competed at the AMA national level. He's also won multiple club races throughout the country, culminating in a Utah Sport Bike Association championship in 2011. He has been invited as a guest instructor for the Yamaha Champions Riding School, and when he's not out riding, he's either wrenching on bikes or watching MotoGP.

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2 of 7 comments
  • Huss Huss on Jun 02, 2023

    Roctane? C'mon, everyone knows Germans substitute Ks for Cs - Kompressor, Kats, Korn...

    Shoulda called it Roktane. von Roktane.

  • Hei77864275 Hei77864275 on Oct 13, 2023

    From a lady rider perspective....I like the look, very sleek and inviting to ride comfortably. I think it would fit me :)