The BMW Motorrad Concept R18 shows how a 1960s boxer engine could look like today as a purist custom bike in combination with all the classic design icons of Motorrad design.

The heart of the BMW Motorrad Concept R18 is the large, newly designed, two-cylinder 1800cc boxer engine.

Its outward appearance is consciously reminiscent of the flat twin engines that BMW Motorrad used to build up until the end of the 1960s, but with a considerably bigger displacement and modern air/oil cooling.

The big prototype boxer has been designed down to the last detail: the engine block and transmission are made of glass bead-blasted aluminium, providing an ideal stage on which to present the hand-polished aluminium components as well as the belt guard and valve covers.

The engine badge bears the name of the concept bike and emphasises the overall quality.

In addition, Solex dual carburettors – similar to those in the BMW 2002 – hark back to the brand’s construction history and add the final touch to the bike’s visual authenticity.

Another optical highlight is the exposed, chrome-plated universal shaft that connects the back wheel to the drive.

There are no further covers anywhere on the motorcycle, which serves to keep its engineering clearly visible.

Similarly, the electronics of the concept bike are reduced to no more than starter and lights, underlining its purist design.

“The biggest challenge in the design is to render everything visible. Every part has a functional purpose. There are not many who would dare to take such an absolutely honest approach,” designer of the concept bike, Bart Janssen Groesbeek, said.

The BMW Motorrad Concept R18 is the third in-house interpretation of the large-capacity boxer engine to come from BMW Motorrad.

Last December the model created by the Japanese customisers, CUSTOM WORKS ZON was presented at the Yokohama Hot Rod Show, on the basis of this new prototype engine.

The ‘Departed’ won the biggest accolade of the event, the ’Best of Show Motorcycle’ award, thrilling motorcycle fans with its classic forms, modern production techniques and all manner of manual art and craft in the details.

The next round was the interpretation by Revival Cycles.

The customisers from Austin, Texas created a spectacular bike with their ‘Revival Birdcage’ model, an ideal presentation platform for the Big Boxer.

The specially developed titanium frame features an unobstructed view of the engine and drive from all angles.

This American design created a furore at last month’s Handbuilt Show in Texas.

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Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.