BMW expands its R18 line with the Transcontinental and bagger models

A purple BMW bagger with available adaptive cruise is a big mood.


BMW

When BMW’s R18 cruiser came out last year, it represented both a return to form for the brand and a new direction for its cruiser lineup. Other K cruiser models featured liquid-cooled inline-six-cylinder engines and vast amounts of tech, while the R18 wore its two massive air-cooled cylinders and simple interface with pride. Now, BMW wants to expand on the R18’s presence further and maybe attract a few more traditional American bagger and cruiser buyers in the process.

The BMW R18 B and R18 Transcontinental are, as you might expect, based on the original R18 — which we reviewed previously and to be honest, didn’t really love. It differs from that bike in the addition of an enormous front fairing and hard saddlebags on both the R18 B and Transcontinental and an additional top case on the Transcontinental. This is a very German take on a very American formula, albeit with mid-mounted foot controls.

The luggage and fairings are the most significant differences from the regular R18, but they don’t tell the whole story. The standard R18 got by with a single gauge, but the Transcontinental gets a whopping four analog gauges as well as a Marshall co-branded audio system managed through a 10.25-inch TFT display. It also gets a heated seat, which we love. The R18 B is a little more minimal, so it has a slightly slimmer seat and a lower windshield.

The other big change from the base R18 is the optional Active (read: BMW-speak for adaptive) cruise control. Like the system we’ve tried and loved in the Ducati Multistrada V4, it uses radar to maintain a set following distance from the vehicle in front of you and on this kind of motorcycle — aka one meant for long cross-country freeway rides — that’s going to be a huge plus and a real feather in BMW’s cap over Harley or Indian.

The BMW R18 B and Transcontinental will retail for $21,495 and $24,995 respectively and BMW expects to have them in dealers sometime in August.


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