BMW 100th anniversary
2023 marks the 100th anniversary of the first BMW motorcycle – the R32, a 494cc air-cooled Boxer twin with shaft drive, was released in September 1923 at the Paris Motor Show. And the Munich firm has kicked off its celebration year with these two anniversary machines, an R18 and an R nineT, both with special edition colours and accessories.
The R18 is a bit of an homage to BMW’s past even as standard of course, with a design that echoes vintage machinery like the R5.
The concealed rear suspension, that resembles a hardtail chassis, and the shrouded front forks, plus black painted pinstriped fuel tank and solo saddle-style seat were all typical for the inter-war BMW range.
It’s got the biggest Boxer engine the firm has made – an 1,802 air cooled twin, with four valves per cylinder, operated by pushrods located on top of the cylinders (an old-school design touch – later OHV Boxers had the pushrods underneath) and an exposed rear shaft drive.
It puts out a healthy 91bhp with stonking torque levels (117ft lb peak at 3,000rpm), and is pretty high-tech despite its appearance: there’s dual ignition, massively over-square bore and stroke (107.1x100mm) ride-by wire fuelling, reverse gear and modern design and materials. It’s still a chunky beast though, weighing in at 345kg ready to ride.
The 100 Years edition has been gussied-up with a heap of chrome accessories and classic styling options. The paint scheme is Avus Black with pinstripes, to complement the chrome plated tank panels and cylinder head covers.
The exhaust is a massive chromed Akrapovic two-into-two design, with sweet perforated end caps designed to match the BMW logo (either a swirling propeller or the Bavarian coat of arms depending which BMW press release you read).
And you get a gorgeous stitched red/black Option 719 solo saddle, plus a special ‘100 Years’ fuel tank badge.
The standard R nineT celebrates a later period in BMW’s history, paying tribute to bikes like the R90 S and R75 /5 of the 1970s. And this 100 Years bike cranks that up, again with a range of chromed and machined metal bolt-ons.
There’s a sweet single seat unit and dual-can Akrapovic exhaust, plus wire-spoked wheels, chromed tank panels, and posh adjustable rearsets. The engine has a blacked-out finish with milled cylinder head covers and casings, and the fork tubes and air intake are also finished in black.
The tank has the same 100 Years anniversary badge as the R18, and neat touches like the adjustable brake and clutch levers, and bar-end mirrors round the design off nicely.
Under the limited edition finery, the basic R nineT uses the last-generation oil-cooled Boxer putting out 109bhp, with a sporty roadster chassis, USD front forks, Brembo brakes and the single-sided Paralever shaft drive back end.
To mark the year when BMW Motorrad all kicked off, there will only be 1,923 units built of each bike. The R18 100 Years costs £21,210 while the R nineT 100 Years costs £18,040, and they’re both available on the BMW website now: www.bmw-motorrad.co.uk