BMW Motorrad is adding another badass looking cruiser to its R 18 lineup and it looks like something the Terminator would drive. The moment I saw the new BMW R 18 Roctane, I heard George Thorogood’s opening guitar riff from Bad to the Bone in my head, and envisioned Arnold Schwarzenegger throwing biker dudes around a bar. As much as BMW claims that the R 18 Roctane harks back to the history of BMW Motorrad, it also has some old-school Americana in its design.
Its simple all-black color motif really gives off a badass biker vibe, which is matched by its engine. The 1,802 cc two-cylinder boxer engine is the most powerful boxer engine BMW Motorrad has ever made, packing 91 horsepower and 110 lb-ft. Peak torque comes in from 2,000-4,000 rpm, giving it a punchy low-to-mid range, so it can cruise long distances with ease. The engine is painted in Avus Black metallic matte paint, which is contrasted by gloss black accents and a dark chrome exhaust, which makes it even more sinister looking.
Suspension-wise, the BMW R 18 Roctane uses a telescoping front fork, cantilever suspension strut, and travel-dependent damping. Its front wheel is 21 inches, and the rear is 18 inches, while twin-disc front brakes and single-disc rear brakes are clamped by four-piston calipers.
The Roctane’s custom bagger-style (thanks to the “saddle bag” cargo cases mounted to the sides of the rear) telegraphs the bike’s long-distance cruising attitude. That’s ultimately what the BMW R 18 Roctane is for, crossing vast amounts of land in one sitting, without being fatigued or bored. In recent years, BMW has been more well known for high-performance bikes, rather than grand touring ones. So the R 18 Roctane is a good refresher to the public that BMW has been good at such bikes for decades. To remind riders of the brand’s two-wheeled heritage, the Roctane’s central instrument dial reads “BERLIN BUILT.”
As rock ‘n roll as this bike looks, it also does very much share its heritage with the Germans that built it. Its fuel tank design and open propshaft design make it look like something that was pulled right out of the 1930s. While I’m not a huge motorcycle guy, even this R18 Roctane appeals to my lizard brain, as it just looks so menacing and angry, like it wants to beat ne’er-do-wells with a pool cue before leaving the bar. Maybe even get into a shootout with a T-1000. Either way, it’s a badass looking bike that should catch the eye of all bikers.