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BMW Motorrad Unveils Two Special-Edition, Chrome-Heavy Bikes to Celebrate Its 100th Birthday

The BMW R nineT and R 18 model variants feature exclusive aesthetic enhancements and added ride amenities.

The BMW R nineT and R 18 100 Years Edition anniversary motorcycles. BMW Motorrad

In 1923, BMW Motorrad started life on the edge of Munich’s Oberwiesenfeld airfield, right next to BMW’s main manufacturing plant for its aircraft engines. The German marque’s motorcycle division is now unrecognizable from those humble beginnings. A century of operation is a milestone for any institution, but when it’s BMW Motorrad, it celebrates a little more extravagantly than most.

BMW Motorrad has remained steadfast in its love of the boxer twin-cylinder motor, and has thus taken two models—the R nineT and R 18 cruiser—and given them the special 100 Years treatment. At $19,995, the 109 hp R nineT 100 Years retains its air/oil-cooled 1,170 cc motor from the four other variants in the R nineT family, although it has received significant aesthetic upgrades that focus on color and chrome.

BMW Motorrad production in 1923.
BMW Motorrad production in 1923. BMW Motorrad

Exclusive paint finishes, together with chrome surfaces, have been commonplace within BMW’s motorcycle lineup since day one, with machines like the BMW R 75/5 (sporting chrome-plated tank sides and side covers) having become icons within BMW rider circles. Using a now-banned solvent-based paint, it was relatively easy to create stunningly intricate color schemes and chrome designs in the past. Yet the 100 Year editions of the R nineT and R18 use solvent-free paint and European-regulations-compliant Chromium III.

The BMW R nineT 100 Years Edition.
The BMW R nineT 100 Years. BMW Motorrad

Dubbed Classic Chrome, the result is a more complex chroming process involving multiple steps and electroplating baths where layers of copper, nickel and, ultimately, chromium are applied. Finally, the finished chrome-plated piece, be it a tank or seat unit, is painted in several layers, with a final clear coat covering the work. As you’d expect, this process is very labor intensive, but the finished presentation is a striking improvement on the base R nineT and R 18.

An example of the commemorative 100 Years badging on the 100th anniversary BMW R nineT and R 18 motorcycles.
An example of the commemorative 100 Years badging. BMW Motorrad

The R nineT’s gas tank and rear seat cover have also benefitted from the application of this Classic Chrome, and are finished with white double pinstriping, knee pads and a 100 Years badge. And gloss-black paint has been extensively used on the fork tubes and intakes on the cylinder heads. The R nineT also gets various Option 719 components, including black wheels, milled cylinder-head covers, adjustable hand levers and foot pegs as well as passenger foot pegs. The 100 Years edition also includes an adaptive turning headlight, heated grips, cruise control and Riding Modes Pro.

The BMW R 18 100 Years Edition motorcycle.
The BMW R 18 100 Years. BMW Motorrad

Priced at $18,990, the 91 hp R 18 100 Years benefits from much of the technology applied to the commemorative R nineT, including the use of Classic Chrome liberally layered throughout the design. Black paint has been lavished on the 1,802 cc boxer motor, transmission housing and rear-axle drive. Dubbed Avus Black, this is BMW’s nod to the legendary—and lethal—12-mile long AVUS (Automobil-Verkehrs- und Übungsstraße) circuit that ran through the Grunewald Forest, west of Berlin, and was characterized by a gigantic 43-degree banking. It was the steepest of any racetrack built and allowed for zero protection at its top section, meaning that if you messed up there, that was your last mistake.

From left: BMW's R 18 100 Years Edition, the R32 from 1923 and the R nineT  100 Years Edition.
From left: BMW’s R 18 100 Years, the R32 from 1923 and the R nineT 100 Years. BMW Motorrad

The Slovenian exhaust specialists at Akrapovič have also been invited to the R 18 100 Years party, providing the rear muffler with perforated tailpipe trim in the shape of the BMW logo. Both the BMW R nineT 100 Years and the R 18 100 Years will be on dealer floors during the first quarter of 2023.

Click here for more photos of the BMW Motorrad 100 Years motorcycles.

The BMW R nineT and R 18 100 Years Edition motorcycles.
The BMW R nineT and R 18 100 Years motorcycles. BMW Motorrad

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