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BMW R 18 Maintenance Schedule and Service Intervals

BMW R 18 maintenance schedule cover photo diagonal black

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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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.

PartBMW R 18 spec
Engine oilSAE 15W-50, API SJ/JASO M2. BMW recommends BMW Advantec Pro 15W-50.
Oil filterPart number for the oil filter is  11 42 7 673 541. You’ll need an oil filter wrench.
Air filterPart number is 13 71 8 411 061.
Brake fluidUse 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 plugNGK MAR8AI-10DS. BMW part number is  12 12 8 396 344.
Keyless key batteryCR2032 (it’s annoying when these go flat)
Battery spec12V 26Ah absorbent glass mat
BMW R 18 part spec

Maintenance schedule for the BMW R 18

Maintaining the BMW R 18 is quite like maintaining most other classic boxers with shaft drives, like the R nineT.

The core of the maintenance for the R 18 is you have to

  • Change the oil and air filter and check the valve clearance every 10,000 km
  • Change the oil in the bevel gears and transmission every 20-40,000 km, and
  • Regularly change the brake fluid

The maintenance schedule table is below. It’s adapted from the manual’s table to make it easier to read.

‘000 km0.5-1210203040
‘000 miles0.3-0.756121824Every
BMW running-in check (including oil change)X
BMW standard scope of service (see below)Year (a)
Change engine oil and filterXXXX
Replace air filter insertXXXX
Check valve clearanceXXXX
Replace all spark plugsXX
Change oil in rear bevel gearsXX2 years (b)
Change transmission oilXYear, then 2 years (c)
Change brake fluid in the entire systemX (c)Year, then 2 years (c)
Maintenance schedule for the BMW R 18

BMW standard scope of service (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 annual service
[D] Perform vehicle test using the BMW Motorrad diagnostic system
Visually inspect the clutch system
Check steering-head bearing
Visual inspection of 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 tension of the spokes and tighten as needed
Check the lighting and signal 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
Standard annual service — BMW R 18

Wheels and Tyres on the BMW R 18

The BMW R 18 has spoked wheels and tubed tyres. Standard it’s issued with either

  • Bridgestone Battlecruise H50F Tubeless tyres
  • Michelin Commander 3 Touring Tubeless/Tube type tyres

The rims are tubeless types, and even some tyres are tubeless, but they’re fitted with tubes.

WheelTyre sizeTyre pressures (cold)
Front120/70 R19 (54)36 psi (2.5 bar)
Back180/65 B16 (73)42 psi (2.9 bar)
BMW R 18 recommended tyre sizes and tyre pressures

General info about the BMW R 18

BMW R 18 riding position
BMW R 18 – riding position

The BMW R 18 is BMW’s re-entry into the cruiser market after abandoning it a while ago — the last model being the 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 is 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 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:

FeatureBMW R 18 TranscontinentalBMW R 18 B
10.25 inch TFT colour displayYY
Standard cruise controlYY
Active cruise controlOptionOption
Front fairings with shield(taller)Y
Marshall sound systemYY
Larger 24 litre fuel tankYY
Pannier luggageYY
Top case luggage with back restY
Additional headlampY
Engine guardY
Heated seatsY
Blacked out engineY
Additional BMW R 18 Transcontinental and R 18 B features

None of these impacts the maintenance schedule.

BMW also released some new paint schemes and options for the R 18 but nothing changed mechanically.

BMW R nineT 2022 colours
BMW R 18 in Manhattan metallic matt, Mars Red metallic, and Option 719 paint finish Galaxy Dust metallic/Titanium Silver 2 metallic

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.

BMW R 18 maintenance schedule table from manual

The manual for the BMW R 18 (and all variants) is available on BMW’s website.

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