2022 BMW R 18 First Edition: The Gentlemen’s Bavarian Brawler

Experienced by Leon L. Brittain

Ladies and gents, allow me to take you on a 3-month journey with the all-new 2022 BMW R 18 First Edition. Automotive Rhythms and Throttle Life engaged in a unique 2-wheel opportunity with our usual zeal and energy in the Maryland region to increase awareness. But little did we realize how much consumer reaction would be created throughout our series of bike events.

Before I get ahead of myself, let’s take a step back to set the stage. BMW Motorrad is on tour with its new fleet of cruiser and luxury touring bikes to siphon sales away from Harley-Davidson utilizing three fundamental models: the R 18 First Edition, the R 18 B (Bagger), and the luxury-laced big-daddy touring R 18 Transcontinental.

The sinister R 18 First Edition starts at $17,495, but our fully-loaded unit tipped the scale at $23,214 with its heritage-vibe Metallic Black Storm hue and dual white pinstriping. This scheme accented the right amount of chrome flowing from the powerful 91-horsepower (at 4,750 rpm) and 116 lb-ft of torque (at 3,000 rpm) 1802 cc Big Boxer engine to its heritage-inspired fishtail exhaust. The R 18 is equipped with standard safety features such as Dynamic Brake Control, Automatic Stability Control, Integral ABS, as well as three riding modes: Rain, Rock, and Roll, accessible through the trip computer on your left-hand grip. In Rain mode, throttle response is gentler, allowing improved control on wet and slippery surfaces. In Road mode, the engine offers optimum throttle response for all road performance. Finally, in Rock mode, throttle response is instantaneous, allowing you to rock out with the R 18’s full power.

“It’s the best implementation of a vintage bike in a contemporary form I’ve seen yet,” exclaimed auto and bike enthusiast Kimatni D. Rawlins.

In addition to this robust equipment list, our model featured extra goodies such as Hill Start Control, Heated Grips, Cruise Control, Reverse Assist, and an Adaptive Headlight. With the abundance of technology and convenience, keep in mind that the R 18 is far more than just a gentlemen’s bike. The Big Boxer engine has a genuinely unique characteristic that I’ve never experienced previously. With the click of the ignition, the power unit gives owners a quick shake and rumble to let you know of its brawler persona.

Now, suppose you’re not familiar with BMW’s menacing engine. In that case, the styling is unique and speaks directly to Motorrad’s culture and tradition as I had the pleasure of witnessing firsthand at “Bikes and Breakfast” in Clifton, VA, alongside two early models that visually showcased the perfect historical timeline. At each outing, the R 18 turned heads and stood out in crowds for all the right reasons. Coming from a world of sportbikes and Harleys, it was a pleasant awakening to experience the jubilation and enthusiasm from Boxer purists in addition to patrons unfamiliar with the setup. Our engagements consisted of some of Maryland, Virginia, DC’s (DMV) top auto and moto enthusiast gatherings like Katies Cars and Coffee in McLean VA, Cars and Coffee at Dunkin Dulles, Bikes and Breakfast in Poolesville, MD and Clifton, VA, and Adrenaline Lifestyles’ Cars and Brunch in Bowie, MD.

Furthermore, we engaged with community outreach organizers, including the Mid-Atlantic Police Rodeo, where our First Edition was right at home amongst its Bavarian law-enforcement brethren. For example, the BMW R 1250 RT-P is used by several departments throughout the DMV. Officers showcased the bike’s exceptional throttle, braking, and maneuvering capabilities on a makeshift autocross that would easily challenge top riders on smaller machines.

Last but not least, Automotive Rhythms and Throttle Life wrapped up the R 18 campaign with one of the DMV’s most charitable acts of selflessness dubbed the annual Goon Giveaway Thanksgiving Edition. The function supports the neighborhood of First Street SE, Washington, DC, where riders braved the sub-freezing temperatures to help families in need.

Although the tour with our BMW R 18 First Edition and its masterfully reinvented heritage has come to an end, the experiences, memories, and relationships forged along the way will surely continue. Enjoy the video recapping the biker euphoria.

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