BMW R 18 Maintenance Schedule and Service Intervals
This is the maintenance schedule for the BMW R 18, BMW’s new cruiser launched for the 2020 model year.
It is also the maintenance schedule for the variants of the BMW R 18 line:
- BMW R 18 Classic – windshield, lockable fuel cap, headlight pro, hill start, heated grips. Classic Deluxe gives floorboards, and a reverse gear
- BMW R 18 B (2021+) – cruise control, touring windshield, luggage, TFT display
- BMW R 18 Transcontinental (2021+), cruise control, touring windshield, luggage, top box, TFT display
The centerpiece of the BMW R 18 is the new, massive 2-cylinder boxer engine, which BMW is calling the “Big Boxer”.
The “Big Boxer” engine is an air/oil-cooled 1802cc two-cylinder 8-valve engine. It makes a peak of 67 kW (91 hp) @ 4,740 rpm with a mild compression ratio of 9.6:1.
But more impressively, the R 18’s engine makes over 150 Nm (over 110 ft-lb) of torque all the way from 2,000 to 4,000 rpm, meaning it has stomping, hard-accelerating pull, and easy burn-outs if you turn off traction control.
Final drive is via a dry clutch, six-speed gearbox, and a shaft drive with an exposed drive shaft.
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BMW R 18 Service Intervals
Maintaining the BMW R 18 is quite like maintaining most other classic air/oil-cooled BMW boxers with shaft drives, like the BMW R nineT. Service intervals for the BMW R 18 are every 6000 miles / 10000 km or annually.
The core of the maintenance for the R 18 is you have to
- Do a series of basic checks and change the engine oil and oil filter every 6000 miles / 10000 km or annually
- Change the air filter and and check the valve clearances every 6000 miles or 10000 km, but with no time-based interval. Change the spark plugs every two valve inspections.
- Change the oil in the bevel gears every 12 000 miles / 20 000 km, and the oil in the transmission every 24 000 miles / 40 000 km, and
- Regularly change the brake fluid
There’s no coolant fluid to change, luckily.
The regular valve inspections are a bit of a downer on a big, modern cruiser, especially when motorcycles like Harley-Davidson cruisers have no regular valve inspections due to having self-adjusting hydraulic lifters. But luckily, doing a valve clearance inspections on a big boxer is easy, as the cylinders are very easy to access.
What you need to service the BMW R 18
Servicing your R 18 is just like servicing your other giant boxer twin bike! OK, it’s not the same, and you need some unique maintenance parts and tools.
Here’s what you need to service your R 18.
|Part||BMW R 18 spec|
|Engine oil||SAE 15W-50, API SJ/JASO M2. BMW recommends BMW Advantec Pro 15W-50.|
|Oil filter||Part number for the oil filter is 11 42 7 673 541. You’ll need an oil filter wrench.|
|Air filter||Part number is 13 71 8 411 061.|
|Brake fluid||Use BMW DOT 4 brake fluid.|
|Hypoid axle oil (rear wheel)||SAE 70W-80 / hypoid axle oil G3. BMW part number is 83 22 2 460 128.|
|Spark plug||NGK MAR8AI-10DS. BMW part number is 12 12 8 396 344.|
|Keyless key battery||CR2032 (it’s annoying when these go flat)|
|Battery spec||12V 26Ah absorbent glass mat|
Maintenance schedule for the BMW R 18
The maintenance schedule table is below. It’s adapted from the manual’s table to make it easier to read.
Follow the earlier of the time-or distance-based intervals. For example, change the oil every 6000 miles / 10000 km or year, whichever is earlier.
Note — in original manuals for the BMW R 18, BMW didn’t recommend the standard service checklist to be done on a distance and time interval. They added the distance interval in recent years. However, it is still a good idea and a fairly simple list of things to check over.
|BMW running-in check (including oil change)|
Normally performed by dealer
|BMW standard service checklist (see below)||✓||✓||✓||✓||Year|
|Change engine oil and filter||✓||✓||✓||✓||Year|
|Replace air filter insert||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Check valve clearance||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Replace all spark plugs||✓||✓|
|Change oil in rear bevel gears||✓||✓||2 years|
|Change transmission oil||✓||After 1 year, then every 2 years|
|Change brake fluid in the entire system||After 1 year, then every 2 years|
BMW Standard Service Checklist (R 18)
The “standard scope of service” (i.e. the standard annual service) is below.
Items marked [D] are those normally done by dealers, unless you have the tools.
|BMW R 18 – Standard service checklist / annual service|
|[D] Perform vehicle test using the BMW Motorrad diagnostic system|
|Visually inspect the clutch system|
|Check steering-head bearing|
|Visually inspect the brake lines, brake hoses, and connections|
|Check the front brake pads and brake discs for wear|
|Check the front wheel brake fluid level|
|Check the rear brake pads and brake disc for wear|
|Check the rear wheel brake fluid level|
|Drain the oil condensate hose|
|Check the tire pressure and tread depth|
|Check side stand for ease of movement|
|Check the spoke tension and tighten as needed|
|Check the lighting and signalling system|
|Check function of engine starting suppression|
|Check charging state of battery|
|Perform final inspection and road safety check|
|[D] Set the service date and remaining distance using the BMW Motorrad diagnostic system|
|[D] Confirm the BMW service in the vehicle literature|
Wheels and Tires on the BMW R 18
The BMW R 18 has spoked wheels and tubed tires. Standard it’s issued with either
- Bridgestone Battlecruise H50F Tubeless tires
- Michelin Commander 3 Touring Tubeless/Tube type tires
The rims are tubeless types, and even some tires are tubeless, but they’re fitted with tubes.
|Wheel||Tyre size||Tyre pressures (cold)|
|Front||120/70 R19 (54)||36 psi (2.5 bar)|
|Back||180/65 B16 (73)||42 psi (2.9 bar)|
About the BMW R 18
The BMW R 18 is BMW’s re-entry into the cruiser market after abandoning it a while ago — the last model being the BMW R 1200 C.
That bike is now a fan favourite (well among some people) despite being quite low powered for its weight.
The R 18 has a bigger claim to fame though — it houses the biggest boxer engine that BMW has ever made.
The 1802cc 8-valve boxer twin is old-school in nature. It’s air/oil-cooled, which is something BMW stopped using in its top-end bikes in 2013 — the BMW R 1200 GS, for example, has been liquid-cooled since that year. Only the other “heritage” motorcycle, the R nineT, is still air-cooled.
There is also a distinct lack of tech on the engine. The suspension is deliberately not electronically adjustable. And while there is ABS, stability control, and riding modes, cruise control was originally optional (standard on the higher-end Bagger/Transcontinental), and cornering ABS isn’t available.
The BMW R 18 is marketed as a “cruiser”. Its engine is cruiser style — torque-forward and low-revving, encouraging (well, requiring) short-shifting.
The R 18 also lacks the cornering clearance of standard bikes or sport bikes, so it won’t let you lean too hard without scraping floorboards — this is common on cruisers.
But the BMW R 18 lacks some things you might expect on cruisers. Firstly, the floorboards aren’t very far forward, as the cylinder heads stop you from stretching your legs out.
Secondly, the R 18 is inevitably refined, in contrast with large capacity cruisers from most manufacturers, including non-Harley Davidson ones, like the similar-displacement Suzuki M109R.
2021 Updates to the BMW R 18 (New models)
In mid 2021, BMW released two new versions of the R 18 — the R 18 B and R 18 Transcontinental.
Here are the new features that the BMW R 18 Transcontinental and BMW R 18 B get on top of the standard BMW R 18:
|Feature||BMW R 18 Transcontinental||BMW R 18 B|
|10.25 inch TFT colour display||Y||Y|
|Standard cruise control||Y||Y|
|Active cruise control||Option||Option|
|Front fairings with shield||(taller)||Y|
|Marshall sound system||Y||Y|
|Larger 24 litre fuel tank||Y||Y|
|Top case luggage with back rest||Y|
|Blacked out engine||Y|
None of these impacts the maintenance schedule.
BMW also released some new paint schemes and options for the R 18 but nothing changed mechanically.
Aside from releasing the new models, BMW also slightly updated the maintenance schedule, as noted above.
Manual for the BMW R 18
The above maintenance schedule comes from the BMW R 18’s user manual, a screenshot of which is below.
In the original 2020 manual, BMW didn’t prescribe the standard service checklist to be done every distance interval — there was only a time interval. But BMW updated its manual in recent years to prescribe this checklist for distance as well as time.
See checklist below.
The manual for the BMW R 18 (all variants) is available on BMW’s website.