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Classic vs FE: Same ride?

Urgefree

Active member
Elite Member
I’m still waiting for the Corbin bags so going with the fe I won’t have an extra set of bags and a windshield in my garage. Still with the fe I have to work around the extra lighting (seems you can’t get the light bar without a windshield) and that fat front tire looks killer in the 18c
 

JLAS

New member
I was actually thinking about the Corbin bags, but I still am not convinced they are worth the price. First, I am going to see how I like the classic and, most of all, how I use it: just for day trips or If will venture out for the weekend or longer rides.
 

R18C

Active member
R18C - you get a convertible with extra lights, detachable windshield & bags w/16 inch front tire.Ride is a bit smoother & slower in the steering.
R18 - you get the fishtail mufflers w/19 inch front wheel that is a little more nimble with the steering.
If I had a 19 inch front tire,I would change the size to a 130/60-19 when tires are needed.It measures almost identical to the 130/90-16.

Both bikes are cool, very cool.I just passed 6,000 miles on mine a few days ago.The suspension has broken in and is a little softer/smoother.The engine seems to have a more pronounced thump at idle & shakes a bit more after the valve adjustment.Seems a little bit snappier.
Great engine,I gotta say!

btw,My R18C is a First Edition
 
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I ended up with the Classic. Coming from a GS, I still have to get used to it, but hopefully, I will get there. The price difference was so minimal that I thought the classic was a much better deal. Both of them are cool bikes in their own way: very similar but also very different (I am not sure if I make any sense).
Win / Win !!
 

nielsm

Member
I just finalized the deal on my R18 Classic yesterday. Although I prefer the look of the bigger front wheel on the base R18, I found there was minimal handling difference. If anything the classic was slightly more compliant over bumps, while the base was slightly sharper steering. For me, the Classic is a convertible, I can remove the windscreen and the bags in a few minutes and it looks similar to the base R18. Additionally this means the classic can have the good airflow for warmer weather and the blocking of wind in cooler weather.

The faired bikes are different though. The Bagger was much sharper steering especially at low speed than either the base or the Classic due to the steeper rake. The tech package is nice, and could be great in long rides on highway, but I prefer naked bikes especially in hot weather. My GSA with the giant screen and fairing is great in cold weather, but horrible when it’s in the 80s or above.
 

JLAS

New member
I just finalized the deal on my R18 Classic yesterday. Although I prefer the look of the bigger front wheel on the base R18, I found there was minimal handling difference. If anything the classic was slightly more compliant over bumps, while the base was slightly sharper steering. For me, the Classic is a convertible, I can remove the windscreen and the bags in a few minutes and it looks similar to the base R18. Additionally this means the classic can have the good airflow for warmer weather and the blocking of wind in cooler weather.

The faired bikes are different though. The Bagger was much sharper steering especially at low speed than either the base or the Classic due to the steeper rake. The tech package is nice, and could be great in long rides on highway, but I prefer naked bikes especially in hot weather. My GSA with the giant screen and fairing is great in cold weather, but horrible when it’s in the 80s or above.
I share exactly the same thoughts as you, Nielsm. I did not try the Bagger because it was heavier and, as strange as it might be, it is not as classy as the Classic. Perhaps I will change my mind in the future.
 

nielsm

Member
I share exactly the same thoughts as you, Nielsm. I did not try the Bagger because it was heavier and, as strange as it might be, it is not as classy as the Classic. Perhaps I will change my mind in the future.
I had no intention of considering the Bagger, but I'm glad I tried it. Since I did a 40 minute ride on the Classic back to back with another 40 minutes on the Bagger, it gave a clear juxtaposition between them. There was less buffeting on the Bagger (screen felt about 2 inches higher), but I felt more like I was in a car with the giant fairing.

If I mostly rode on highways, I think the Bagger would be a clear winner. The adaptive cruise control was just like in my car and could take away some load on a highway. The stereo was fun to play with. These would be clear benefits for the drone of a highway. But after 25 years of riding, I still find highways boring and only use them if I'm tired and want to get to my destination and they are much faster than backroads or if I'm in the car.
 

JLAS

New member
I had no intention of considering the Bagger, but I'm glad I tried it. Since I did a 40 minute ride on the Classic back to back with another 40 minutes on the Bagger, it gave a clear juxtaposition between them. There was less buffeting on the Bagger (screen felt about 2 inches higher), but I felt more like I was in a car with the giant fairing.

If I mostly rode on highways, I think the Bagger would be a clear winner. The adaptive cruise control was just like in my car and could take away some load on a highway. The stereo was fun to play with. These would be clear benefits for the drone of a highway. But after 25 years of riding, I still find highways boring and only use them if I'm tired and want to get to my destination and they are much faster than backroads or if I'm in the car.
The Bagger looks awesome but, for that purpose, I would choose an RT, as it can do very well on Highways and backroads, it is lighter and also cheaper. Just my two cents. The classic, on the other hand, is a completely different matter. I still am not sure how to explain how I to take out more the classic than my GSA for a day ride. Of course, on a long trip, I would take the GSA hands down.
 

JLAS

New member
Congrats! Great Choice. Post pics and riding impressions.
Thanks, Earl. I love the ride. You feel the road more with the R18 than the classic. For some, this could be more fun and different (I am one of them), but I do like all the additional goodies that the classic comes with. Especially, the auxiliary lights, and the bags. They are not big, but big enough to include additional layers of clothing for colder days. The windshield is crap for fast speeds (anything above 65 mph), but it is a welcome item to have in November.

Overall, I am happy I chose the Classic over the r18.
 
I just finalized the deal on my R18 Classic yesterday. Although I prefer the look of the bigger front wheel on the base R18, I found there was minimal handling difference. If anything the classic was slightly more compliant over bumps, while the base was slightly sharper steering. For me, the Classic is a convertible, I can remove the windscreen and the bags in a few minutes and it looks similar to the base R18. Additionally this means the classic can have the good airflow for warmer weather and the blocking of wind in cooler weather.

The faired bikes are different though. The Bagger was much sharper steering especially at low speed than either the base or the Classic due to the steeper rake. The tech package is nice, and could be great in long rides on highway, but I prefer naked bikes especially in hot weather. My GSA with the giant screen and fairing is great in cold weather, but horrible when it’s in the 80s or above.
Just the guy I am looking for :) From what I gather you ride the R18 C and have tested the R18 B... Therein lies my curiosity. A few questions If I may

1) Is the B rear suspension "sorted" out with respect to harshness that one finds on the rough patches with the R18 ? Is the B with Bmw's DeSa type suspension and does it make a huge difference in comfort ?

2) I am not a fairing guy as such so I prefer the Classic or R18 look to the TC and Bagger - BUT the deal breaker is the rear suspension. I was reading that BMW has addressed that with some changes to the chassis in the R18 TC and B. However I was curious what that change is with respect to the rear suspension . I understand that they changed the front geometry to take the extra weight of the Fairing and all that they stuffed in there, I am also curious how that changes the lovely front end ride of the Original R18 bikes, what with the sharper rake of the TC and B) however, what really intrigues me is what could they possibly have done to the rear that cannot be fitted on the R18 originals ?

That having been said, I am wondering if it is at all possible to install whatever they have provided on the TC and B for a better more comfortable ride, on the original R18 - kind of best of both worlds
 
Just the guy I am looking for :) From what I gather you ride the R18 C and have tested the R18 B... Therein lies my curiosity. A few questions If I may

1) Is the B rear suspension "sorted" out with respect to harshness that one finds on the rough patches with the R18 ? Is the B with Bmw's DeSa type suspension and does it make a huge difference in comfort ?

2) I am not a fairing guy as such so I prefer the Classic or R18 look to the TC and Bagger - BUT the deal breaker is the rear suspension. I was reading that BMW has addressed that with some changes to the chassis in the R18 TC and B. However I was curious what that change is with respect to the rear suspension . I understand that they changed the front geometry to take the extra weight of the Fairing and all that they stuffed in there, I am also curious how that changes the lovely front end ride of the Original R18 bikes, what with the sharper rake of the TC and B) however, what really intrigues me is what could they possibly have done to the rear that cannot be fitted on the R18 originals ?

That having been said, I am wondering if it is at all possible to install whatever they have provided on the TC and B for a better more comfortable ride, on the original R18 - kind of best of both worlds
Great points.

Original FE is worth considering. The DayRider seat and actively adjusting the pre-load is worth the effort. The dynamic is such that I was willing to live with what is described (by non-owners) as a harsh rear suspension. The tall seat purchase on eBay did confirm the stock FE seat is more of a styling exercise Vs functionality. Problem solved. I learned on this forum how to adjust rear preload and landed at 12 clockwise turns from full counter-clockwise. Finally, the DayRider Brown Seat and moving the handlebars forward two inches has my posture aligned. My biggest limitation is the fuel range. I’d like to see the ability to swap the tank from the B to the FE. Otherwise, the FE delivers with a few changes. 5BBDAEC3-4DFD-45D6-86EF-A67B696A714D.jpeg
 

nielsm

Member
Just the guy I am looking for :) From what I gather you ride the R18 C and have tested the R18 B... Therein lies my curiosity. A few questions If I may

1) Is the B rear suspension "sorted" out with respect to harshness that one finds on the rough patches with the R18 ? Is the B with Bmw's DeSa type suspension and does it make a huge difference in comfort ?

2) I am not a fairing guy as such so I prefer the Classic or R18 look to the TC and Bagger - BUT the deal breaker is the rear suspension. I was reading that BMW has addressed that with some changes to the chassis in the R18 TC and B. However I was curious what that change is with respect to the rear suspension . I understand that they changed the front geometry to take the extra weight of the Fairing and all that they stuffed in there, I am also curious how that changes the lovely front end ride of the Original R18 bikes, what with the sharper rake of the TC and B) however, what really intrigues me is what could they possibly have done to the rear that cannot be fitted on the R18 originals ?

That having been said, I am wondering if it is at all possible to install whatever they have provided on the TC and B for a better more comfortable ride, on the original R18 - kind of best of both worlds
The R18B does have a bit more rear suspension travel. Front travel is the same. One advantage especially for test rides is the suspension automatically sets the preload while the Classic and Base R18 are manual preload adjustment.

This is probably the most significant reason people had a negative perception of the suspension on the Classic and base R18. In many cases, dealers neglected to change it from the shipping setting which made for an extremely harsh ride and very easy to scrape pegs.

When my bike was delivered the first thing I did was set the correct preload for my riding weight before I rode it at all. I’ve not bottomed out the suspension on my bike, nor scraped the feelers yet. It is a firmer suspension than a Harley or Indian suspension, so it won’t float over harsh bumps as softly, but it also handles better when driven more aggressively than either of those, not suffering the wallowing they do.

The R18B with the longer rear travel can absorb bigger bumps than the Classic or base R18. But, it’s only an inch more travel, so it’s not massively different. Roads near me are fairly broken up (and lots of gravel and dirt roads too), I’ve not found my Classic overly harsh. My GSA with 9 inches of travel handles big bumps better, but even riding the R18 20MPH over speed limit, I’ve not found the suspension uncomfortable. The one exception is the seat. The stock seat on the Classic and base sucks. It looks good, but is narrow and very hard. The stock seat on the R18B is much better and part of what contributes to the out of the box feeling of it being more comfortable.

How unbearable one finds it depends on the individual. I have a Mustang Weekender on order and find I want to take a break on the stock seat after about 3 hours solid riding. This is only the second bike I ever got an aftermarket seat for. I kept the stock seat on my GS for the first 8 years, finally getting a Saddlemen seat 2 years ago just to make long rides a bit better.

Bottom line the R18B with the longer travel can be marginally more compliant than a properly setup Classic or Base, but it also is carrying much more weight, so it’s really shades of grey. The stock seat on the R18B is much better. The seat can be addressed and the suspension if properly setup isn’t an issue on the Classic or Base. I would choose the model on whether you want a fairing and locking hard bags or not and your personal preference on looks.
 
Looks beautiful :) That brown seat offsets great against the beautiful black. Thanks for the advise. In my book the FE really is the better looking bike over the Bagger and TC. I like the extended rake and the spoked wheels and the clean simple design so much more than the TC or Bagger. I wish they had an option of getting the rear suspension of the Bagger installed on the regular FE
 
The R18B does have a bit more rear suspension travel. Front travel is the same. One advantage especially for test rides is the suspension automatically sets the preload while the Classic and Base R18 are manual preload adjustment.

This is probably the most significant reason people had a negative perception of the suspension on the Classic and base R18. In many cases, dealers neglected to change it from the shipping setting which made for an extremely harsh ride and very easy to scrape pegs.

When my bike was delivered the first thing I did was set the correct preload for my riding weight before I rode it at all. I’ve not bottomed out the suspension on my bike, nor scraped the feelers yet. It is a firmer suspension than a Harley or Indian suspension, so it won’t float over harsh bumps as softly, but it also handles better when driven more aggressively than either of those, not suffering the wallowing they do.

The R18B with the longer rear travel can absorb bigger bumps than the Classic or base R18. But, it’s only an inch more travel, so it’s not massively different. Roads near me are fairly broken up (and lots of gravel and dirt roads too), I’ve not found my Classic overly harsh. My GSA with 9 inches of travel handles big bumps better, but even riding the R18 20MPH over speed limit, I’ve not found the suspension uncomfortable. The one exception is the seat. The stock seat on the Classic and base sucks. It looks good, but is narrow and very hard. The stock seat on the R18B is much better and part of what contributes to the out of the box feeling of it being more comfortable.

How unbearable one finds it depends on the individual. I have a Mustang Weekender on order and find I want to take a break on the stock seat after about 3 hours solid riding. This is only the second bike I ever got an aftermarket seat for. I kept the stock seat on my GS for the first 8 years, finally getting a Saddlemen seat 2 years ago just to make long rides a bit better.

Bottom line the R18B with the longer travel can be marginally more compliant than a properly setup Classic or Base, but it also is carrying much more weight, so it’s really shades of grey. The stock seat on the R18B is much better. The seat can be addressed and the suspension if properly setup isn’t an issue on the Classic or Base. I would choose the model on whether you want a fairing and locking hard bags or not and your personal preference on looks.
I am absolutely not a fairing and hard case or music system and TFT screen kind of guy. If style was the only criterion ...the FE all day. Suspension is my only bugbear. Have an offer from a dealer for a demo R18 FE... but one with no reverse as is the standard offering in my market. Will try to get it for the day and adjust suspension as best as i can to see if it works. Cheers and thanks
 

nielsm

Member
I am absolutely not a fairing and hard case or music system and TFT screen kind of guy. If style was the only criterion ...the FE all day. Suspension is my only bugbear. Have an offer from a dealer for a demo R18 FE... but one with no reverse as is the standard offering in my market. Will try to get it for the day and adjust suspension as best as i can to see if it works. Cheers and thanks
One thing to check is if the demo you referred to is a First Edition. First Edition is an option package with essentially every option on the first year of each R18 model (Base, Classic, Bagger, Transcontinental). I’ve seen a number of people refer to the base R18 as the First Edition. While it was the first model in the R18 range and offered a First Edition package, not every first year Base R18 is a First Edition.

I believe in all markets the First Edition package included things like chrome, pin stripes, and reverse along with special First Edition badging. It is likely that if the specific bike you are looking at is a first year Base R18 without reverse it is not a First Edition (probably also missing chrome and pin stripes).
 

Cheshire Cat

Active member
Great points.

Original FE is worth considering. The DayRider seat and actively adjusting the pre-load is worth the effort. The dynamic is such that I was willing to live with what is described (by non-owners) as a harsh rear suspension. The tall seat purchase on eBay did confirm the stock FE seat is more of a styling exercise Vs functionality. Problem solved. I learned on this forum how to adjust rear preload and landed at 12 clockwise turns from full counter-clockwise. Finally, the DayRider Brown Seat and moving the handlebars forward two inches has my posture aligned. My biggest limitation is the fuel range. I’d like to see the ability to swap the tank from the B to the FE. Otherwise, the FE delivers with a few changes. View attachment 3835
Your thoughts are pretty much as mine. What product did you go for in order to move the handlebar position?
Having adjusted the suspension I find my stock R18 C seat fine for journeys of less than 75 miles or so.
 
Your thoughts are pretty much as mine. What product did you go for in order to move the handlebar position?
Having adjusted the suspension I find my stock R18 C seat fine for journeys of less than 75 miles or so.
Indeed, my understanding is that the seat on C is the “tall seat.” For the handlebars I experimented with loosening the torx bolts and simply moving the bar forwards in small increments. I carried a .25” drive, 13mm and torx in my jacket to adjust on the go. I did not need to purchase anything.
 
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