We’ve long known that BMW’s cruiser aspirations didn’t end with the R 18, and this has now been confirmed with the unveiling of the new R 18 B and R 18 Transcontinental.
Taking the original R 18 and adding more touring ability and more technology, the two new R 18 models are clearly aimed at the American touring market and the big-bore competition from Harley-Davidson and Indian Motorcycle.
With the additional baggage and technology featured on the new BMW tourers we expect to see a price increase on the base R 18, which entered the market at $43,990 earlier this year, with the first examples not likely to arrive until early 2022.
Both bikes add a range of new features to the original R 18 package and utilise the same 1802cc "Big Boxer" engine, now with fairings, luggage and new electronics all included off the showroom floor.
The R 18 B (B for Bagger) will sit in the middle of the R 18 range with its factory-supplied hard panniers and touring fairing with a low windshield. The B also gets a matte black engine and slimmer seat than the Transcontinental.
The R 18 Transcontinental sees more pillion accommodations added into the mix with a large top box and backrest along with more luxurious seats and a taller windscreen when compared to the bagger variant.
Both bikes feature the same mid-mounted footpeg design owing to the large cylinder heads of the Big Boxer engine, with the 1802cc twin-cylinder producing 91hp and 150Nm of torque respectively.
While the chassis remains largely the same as the original R 18, the touring options have completely dispensed with the need for the rider to make any adjustments to the suspension settings thanks to the use of travel-dependent damping and automatically adjustable spring preload.
The 49mm fork tubes themselves are encased in fork sleeves with BMW tying the R 18 back to the old R 5. Suspension travel is 120 mm at the front and rear.
Pulling the 398kg R 18 B and the 4 27kg Transcontinental to a halt is a double-disc brake at the front and a single disc brake at the rear in conjunction with four-piston fixed callipers and BMW Motorrad Full Integral ABS.
However, BMW has saved the real party tricks for the electronics side of the new R 18s.
While both still feature the same rider modes (Rain, Roll and Rock) the addition of the forward fairing has allowed BMW to add a huge 10.25 inch TFT display into the dash directly below the four analogue gauges as well as audio speaker for those riders who like to keep their tunes up loud on the road. Through the TFT, riders can manage navigation, music and other phone connectivity through a wireless connection with their smartphone via the BMW Motorrad Connected App. Both the R 18 Transcontinental and the R 18 B are equipped as standard with a sound system developed together with the British manufacturer Marshall featuring two 2-way loudspeakers, each with 25 watts output, integrated into the front fairing black grille and white Marshall lettering. This can be upgraded optionally with extra speakers with either the Marshall Gold Series Stage 1 or Stage 2 system which adds a 90 watt subwoofer in the front upper section of the cases for Stage 1 (available for both the Transcontinental and R 18 B) and Stage 2 adding a 2-way loudspeaker with 25 watts of output in the front side section of the top case backrest of the Transcontinental.
Like the R 18 before them, both the Transcontinental and R 18 B will launch with First Edition variants adding extra exclusive features from the factory floor. These combine the classic R 18 look with exclusive equipment features in paint and chrome.
The First Edition bikes feature high-grade equipment extras include high-quality chrome components, while the finish in Blackstorm metallic with elaborate double-lined paintwork in Lightwhite unmistakably echoes the bike’s historical roots. Other highlights include special surface finishes, a seat with high-quality embroidery and the inscription “First Edition” on the two cases.