BMW R18 Bagger and Touring Variants Confirmed by CARB Filings

Dennis Chung
by Dennis Chung

While we have previously covered the impending bagger and touring variants of the BMW R18, CARB filings have now confirmed plans to deliver these models to the buying public. As published last year with spy pictures, a touring version of the BMW R18 cruiser had been spotted sporting a fork-mounted windscreen and leather saddlebags. A potential competitor to the Harley-Davidson Heritage Classic, this touring model joins the cruiser and fairing-mounted bagger versions we uncovered in design filings in late February 2020.

The model in the spy photos verifies a lot of the details we saw in the design filings for the cruiser version. The chassis, fork, fuel tank, fender, seat and single circular instrument nacelle appear to match what we saw in the cruiser. The test bike’s exhaust matches the designs from the bagger’s slash-cut exhaust instead of the cruiser’s bulbous fin-tipped silencers, but the tourer is otherwise identical with the addition of the bags, windscreen and additional lighting.

The spied model also has the cruiser’s smaller fuel tank rather than the larger tank on the bagger. The bagger designs also show a thicker one-piece saddle and hard cases while the model in the photos has the cruiser’s smaller seat and leather-wrapped bags.

Apart from the obvious addition of a large fairing, front fender and saddlebags, we notice some changes to the chassis. It appears BMW is using a modular chassis design, as the headstock for the bagger is significantly different from the cruiser. Beyond supporting the added weight of the fairing, the chassis change also resulted in a different rake and trail, with the R1800B bagger’s front wheel brought in closer to the header pipes.

The standard R18 also has an additional frame component below the seat for mounting passenger foot pegs. The bagger also has a noticeably larger fuel tank and a significantly thicker two-up seat.

The cruiser’s exhausts end in a rather bulbous pair of silencers with fin-shaped exhaust tips whereas the bagger has straighter pipes with a slash-cut tip, likely to make more room for the side cases. The R18 as we know it also sports wire-spoke wheels instead of the bagger’s cast wheels, giving the cruiser a more classic styling.

The cruiser has one circular instrument nacelle while the bagger’s fairing incorporates four round dials above a rectangular panel which we assume will be the 10.25-inch Bosch TFT display we reported on last November. We spy BMW’s multi-controller dial on the left handlebar grip (absent on the cruiser), further suggesting a digital display. Flanking the instrumentation are two side panels, though it’s hard to tell if these are speakers or additional storage boxes.

The fuel tank emblem on the test bike is covered up, but we do see “R18” embossed on the panel behind the rider’s calf, suggesting BMW’s new cruisers will go stick with that name rather than a R1800 nomenclature. After riding the production R18 in September 2020, we’re excited to see how these new variants will stack up.

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Dennis Chung
Dennis Chung

Dennis has been a part of the team since 2008, and through his tenure, has developed a firm grasp of industry trends, and a solid sense of what's to come. A bloodhound when it comes to tracking information on new motorcycles, if there's a new model on the horizon, you'll probably hear about it from him first.

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2 of 14 comments
  • Laci Ludas Laci Ludas on Mar 13, 2021

    This bike is a wrong idea. I would take a HD anytime instead. Saying these things as a happy R1200R owner

  • Mad4TheCrest Mad4TheCrest on Mar 21, 2021

    The kind of riding I do does not allow for low clearance cruisers. But if it did, I think this thing looks rather nice. That said, I think Moto Guzzi did the alternative bagger idea better with its 'Flying Fortress' and that got no love from the market despite decent reviews. So, Good Luck, BMW.