BMW Motorrad is getting into uncharted waters by launching two bikes into the aggressive American cruiser market. Final 12 months, the marque added the R 18, a retro-styled cruiser with an enormous 1.8-liter boxer twin. Motorrad isn’t completed but, and it has developed the R 18 into the R 18 B bagger and R 18 Transcontinental luxurious cruiser. These bikes are a pair of canyon-carving and freeway mile-eating nostalgia machines they usually’re aimed proper at Harley-Davidson and Indian.
(Full Disclosure: BMW Motorrad invited me to Denver to experience the R 18 B and R 18 Transcontinental. BMW paid for my transportation to and from Denver, put me in a swanky resort and lined meals at some point of the occasion.)
What Are The 2022 BMW R 18 B And R 18 Transcontinental?
BMW Motorrad has an extended historical past constructing bikes throughout quite a lot of segments. It’s well-known for its GS journey bikes and classics just like the Flying Brick Ok collection. However BMW not often enters into the cruiser section, an enormous slice of the bike market pie that’s dominated by Harley-Davidson. That’s altering with BMW’s first cruisers for the reason that R1200C.
The R 18 B is a big and low bagger whereas the R 18 Transcontinental is a full dresser made for piling on miles.
These bikes are extra than simply R 18s with panniers. The bikes have quite a lot of modifications from tech straight all the way down to the body. Even the exhaust pipes get a brand new design. The R 18 B and R 18 Transcontinental are constructed to be extra snug and permit the rider to go farther with much less fatigue than the common R 18.
Each bikes tackle a retro-modern design that blends design from the R5 into one thing from the current day. BMW is gunning for bikes just like the Indian Chieftain with the R 18 B and Harley-Davidson Extremely Restricted with the R 18 Transcontinental.
On the coronary heart of those bikes are their air- and oil-cooled twin-cylinder boxers. They’ve plaques indicating a wholesome 1,800cc displacement and thick exhaust pipes curl across the engine earlier than heading straight again.
This engine is a nod to the pre-Conflict BMW R5 and provides the R 18 B and Transcontinental some further aptitude.
That engine produces 91 horsepower and 116 lb-ft torque with a redline of 5,500 RPM, transmitted to the rear wheel through shaft drive. It’s chargeable for 244 kilos of those bikes’ whole weight, which are available in at about 877 kilos for the R 18 B and 941 kilos for the R 18 Transcontinental.
The Set Up
The load doesn’t make balancing at a cease a frightening job. The bikes are simple to carry up they usually each have a low sufficient seat top that even shorter riders can flat-foot the machines in confidence.
The R 18 B has a regular seat top of 28.35 inches whereas the Transcontinental sits at 29.13 inches.
If that further top of the Transcontinental is just too excessive, BMW provides a thinner seat choice that brings the Transcontinental down to twenty-eight.35 inches. The testers have been fitted with normal seats and I didn’t discover any top distinction.
Fundamental instrumentation is dealt with by 4 analog gauges telling you gas stage, RPM, velocity and energy reserve.
The facility reserve gauge is borrowed from Rolls Royce and doesn’t really serve any actual sensible function. If you happen to experience aggressively, it’ll be exhibiting a giant fats zero p.c more often than not.
All different instrumentation goes by way of 10.25-inch TFT show which acts because the machines’ nerve heart. Earlier than you set off on a experience you should use the display screen in conjunction of controls on the left facet of the bar to set the bike’s drive mode, music, navigation, heating and extra.
This technique might be fairly complicated to make use of until you already know your means round a BMW.
Music is dealt with by a sound system designed with Marshall. The usual system options two 25-watt audio system mounted into the fairing.
Patrons can go for Marshall Gold Collection Stage 1 and Stage 2. Stage 1 provides two 90 watt subwoofers to the facet circumstances whereas Stage 2 provides the subwoofers plus a further two 25 watt audio system within the prime case for a complete output of 280 watts from six audio system.
The R 18 Bs on the occasion had the Marshall Gold Collection Stage 1 setup whereas the Transcontinentals had Stage 2.
Breaking Out Of Denver
Firing up that large engine is an occasion all by itself. The bike will rock upon startup like an old style muscle automobile. BMW says that this engine is easy, however I discovered it to be largely the other.
The engine shakes sufficient at idle to barely oscillate the handlebar. It additionally makes fairly a little bit of mechanical noise at idle like a Harley-Davidson Evolution engine. Some individuals don’t like that, however I feel all of it provides to the expertise.
These bikes weigh a thousand kilos or extra with a rider and also you do really feel it at sluggish speeds. BMW modified the profile of the R 18’s body for the R 18 B and Transcontinental in order that the forks sit behind the steering head as an alternative of in entrance of the steering head as within the R 18. BMW says that this provides higher stability whereas cornering and hides among the weight throughout low-speed maneuvers. The body can also be bolstered in key factors as these are designed to hold extra weight.
You could end up needing to apply maneuvers like a U-turn as a result of the burden makes you need to put a foot down.
Sizzling bike engines and summer season metropolis site visitors don’t normally combine. I’m used to getting baked by a bike engine on a scorching summer season day however neither bike did that right here. The BMWs even have a Hill Begin Management system that holds the brakes. I discover it fairly helpful for not solely beginning on hills, however holding the brakes whereas fully stopped in heavy site visitors.
As soon as you permit the confines of the cramped metropolis you’ll actually get to take pleasure in what the R 18 B and Transcontinental have to supply.
That engine has torque like a diesel. Energy comes on at about 2,000 RPM and stays sturdy by way of the center of the facility band. It’s not quick, but it surely pulls onerous. Put the transmission into sixth gear at 30 mph and it may well nonetheless speed up with site visitors. It could possibly climb a mountain cross with out downshifting.
You get a number of drive modes on each bikes and like the remainder of the design, they’re given an old-school theme. The usual driving mode is Roll, which slows down throttle response for heavy site visitors and cruising. You then get Rock, which makes throttle response snappy, and Rain, which makes throttle response sluggish for slippery environments.
Pushing this engine onerous doesn’t yield much more velocity. It feels prefer it’s working out of energy above 4,500 RPM and close to redline it’s vibrating a lot that the mirrors are virtually ineffective. That’s superb. Banging off of the rev limiter isn’t actually this engine’s mission; it actually needs to go on a cruise.
And cruising is what these bikes do greatest. Each the R 18 B and the Transcontinental have spectacular stability at velocity. It takes no effort to maintain them in a straight line and street imperfections hardly disturb the bikes.
Suspension comes by the use of a telescopic fork and a cantilever suspension strut with an computerized load-leveling system. This suspension soaks up bumps like a luxurious automobile and even potholes don’t lead to a jarring hit.
Commonplace, both bike comes with Dynamic Cruise Management. On this system, you set a velocity and the bike will keep that velocity, even whereas doing down a steep grade. It makes use of a mixture of the bike’s brakes and engine braking to maintain you on the velocity you set. Go for the optionally available Lively Cruise Management and never solely will the bike keep a set velocity, but it surely’ll really hold distance and brake in site visitors, too. Lively Cruise Management makes use of a front-mounted radar to measure distance along side a most popular following distance set by the rider.
The system works nicely, even throughout a gaggle experience. It’s improbable for these varieties of conditions the place freeway site visitors varies in velocity, and the system doesn’t disengage for shifting, both.
The Transcontinental is even higher match for cruising. It soaks up bumps even higher than the R 18 B and it comes with a windscreen excessive sufficient to deflect most wind away from the helmet of riders of a mean top.
How Do They Deal with?
A curb weight that begins at 877 kilos could not encourage confidence for dealing with, nonetheless each of those bikes really feel like they weigh solely 600 kilos or so at velocity. Throw a canyon curve at both bike they usually run out of lean angle earlier than they run out of capacity.
I usually discovered myself scraping the floorboards as I carved curve after curve. Dealing with is predictable they usually flip in simple. Each bikes include a linked braking system, too. If you happen to pull the entrance brake, you get 70 p.c entrance braking and 30 p.c rear. Hit the rear and also you get 70 p.c rear and 30 p.c entrance.
The Transcontinental hustles its means round corners higher than you’d count on a bike a number of hundred kilos shy of a kei automobile to. The R 18 B bagger could also be solely 64 kilos lighter, however you’ll be able to really feel the distinction if you’re dancing by way of mountain roads. The R 18 B is a bit more agile and feels just a bit extra at residence within the curves.
They’re not simply good for street journeys. Go forward and scrape these boards, the bikes will fortunately deal with it.
The engine provides you that excellent combine of fashion and a satisfying soundtrack. I usually discovered myself staring on the factor throughout break stops. Its baritone exhaust notes entice you to seize a fistful of throttle simply to listen to that flat twin. The engine sounds unrefined, however I feel that’s a constructive on this software.
I averaged 47 mpg throughout my rides and I wasn’t attempting to be economical. Given the tank’s six gallon capability, this is able to give me almost 300 miles of vary.
Journey consolation is phenomenal. It’s uncommon that I discover a bike like this, that I can experience for a complete day with out having some type of ache. Each bikes have seats which can be plushy, however agency sufficient that you would be able to really feel safe throwing it round. And if it’s not snug sufficient, BMW provides a consolation seat choice for a extra snug experience. You’ll be able to even modify all the things from the levers to the shifter.
Giant bikes generally have heavy levers that put on out your palms in site visitors, however that isn’t the case, right here.
On the finish of the lengthy day of driving I had little or no fatigue. I felt that the bike was so snug that I requested BMW if I might experience one the 1,100 miles residence as an alternative of flying again.
BMW nailed it on the know-how entrance. The show is clear and crisp, with vivid colours and demanding data in huge, simple to learn font. Daylight additionally doesn’t wash the display screen out to the purpose the place you can’t see it.
BMW’s Adaptive Cruise Management can also be fairly sensible. It really works higher than the ACC that I’ve utilized in some automobiles and reacts fast to altering environments. Whereas Harley-Davidson and Indian are reportedly engaged on the know-how, BMW has it proper right here, proper now.
The bikes additionally include a pleasant quantity of storage.
The facet circumstances are good for as much as 27 liters of quantity every whereas the highest case suits as much as 48 liters.
The navigation portion of the bikes’ onboard system requires you to obtain the BMW Motorrad Linked App to your telephone and join it to your bike. BMW has supplied a pleasant, ventilated compartment to retailer your telephone to your rides.
Sadly, this compartment doesn’t match telephones taller than 6.3 inches or wider than 3 inches. That nixes many massive telephones from becoming, even with no case. The house barely match my iPhone 11 Professional.
The Marshall sound system performs nicely at low and average volumes. Sound output at these volumes is evident with wealthy bass; a lot of it that you just’ll really feel a very good thump behind you.
Nevertheless, to be able to hear this technique on the transfer with a full helmet on you’ll must crank up the quantity. The audio system don’t carry out so nicely at excessive quantity because the subwoofers appear to get simply overwhelmed and the remainder of the audio system have excessive quantities of distortion. Classical music can get so distorted that you could be not be capable to establish what’s taking part in.
I’ve tried to alleviate this by taking part in round with the system’s equalizer choices, however no setting actually helped. I used to be not capable of check out the system’s Bluetooth operate for in-helmet sound, however that may possible be the higher choice for tunes on the street.
If you happen to take pleasure in a tactile really feel out of your controls like I do, then you could must put on lighter driving footwear. Whereas the shifter has loads of really feel, the rear brake pedal is comparatively delicate.
I wore a pair of Alpinestars Sektor sneakers for this experience. These are among the many thinner driving sneakers available on the market and even then, there have been instances that I needed to be sure that I wasn’t driving the brake. That’s how little really feel there’s within the pedal.
If you happen to put on thick boots you could not really feel the pedal in any respect when you’re braking.
These bikes are additionally married to their circumstances. The facet circumstances are bolted on and for those who take away them you’ll lose the Marshall subwoofers and your brake lights. BMW considers these components everlasting and doesn’t advocate attempting to take away them to get extra of a unadorned look.
Harley-Davidson and BMW Motorrad are going backwards and forwards getting into every others’ markets and the outcomes are fascinating. The Motor Firm has a solution for the BMW GS whereas Motorrad now has a pair of compelling cruisers. The BMW R 18 B begins at $21,945, simply barely undercutting the Harley-Davidson Road Glide and Indian Chieftain. In the meantime, the R 18 Transcontinental begins at $24,995.
These bikes observe the identical grain as their focused American competitors however with some further know-how and aptitude. That engine is a murals and its adaptive cruise management is usually a street journey gamechanger. They’re stable bikes for a rider searching for a bit extra tech or a bit extra of that retro model.
I’d most likely select the R 18 Transcontinental. It’s one of many few bikes that I’ve ridden that may very well be ridden all day with out making me need to collapse right into a mattress someplace. Each of those machines are asking to be taken on a terrific American street journey.