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2022 BMW R 18 B and Transcontinental

Luxury riding that is *SO* much more than simply putting bags and a top case on an R 18.

LISTEN 13:02

It was more a question of “when” rather than “if” BMW was going to branch out with its retro-styled R 18 family tree, and it seems the factory opted for sooner rather than later with the release of the new-for-2022 Bagger “B” and Transcontinental. The classically-designed platform carries touring-minded bodywork up front along with 27-liter hard bags out back, and together cover the touring market as well as the boulevard bruiser segment. Power comes from the most powerful Boxer Twin to ever come from Beemer, and they carry an electronics suite that is frankly surprising, even from a marque so well known for its technological prowess..

2022 BMW R 18 B and Transcontinental Design

  • New audio system from Marshall
  • 10.25-inch color TFT display with BMW Connected app
  • LED lighting with DRL
  • Optional adaptive turning light
2022 BMW R 18 B and Transcontinental
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2022 BMW R 18 B and Transcontinental
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The R 18 B and Transcontinental have much more in common than not, but the differences, however slight, make all the difference in the world.

The R 18 B and Transcontinental have much more in common than not, but the differences, however slight, make all the difference in the world. The bifurcation in the design is established right out of the gate.

While both carry a front fender that’s full-size lengthwise with high-cut sides, the Transcontinental sports some chrome trim at the leading edges to lend it an increase in visual weight up front. The shiny bits persist on the Transcontinental with brushed fork lowers and chrome beercan skirts topped by an oddly blacked-out whisker bar that mounts the pimp lights and front turn signals. As for the R 18 B, blackout is the name of the game with the dark, monochromatic treatment just about everywhere possible, save for some bits of bling on the engine and exhaust system.

Both bikes boast a wide, batwing-esque front fairing that’s kind of “all up top” with nothing in the way of lower-half protection, though the wingtips extend out far enough to protect your waffle shovels from inclement weather. For the long-distance riders, the Transcontinental sports a full-size windscreen that extends the protection to the pilot’s upper trunk and head.

The glass on the “B” comes chopped down to a low-profile height that trades wind coverage for curb appeal. This pairs with a narrow saddle and Mustang-style pillion pad for a somewhat-solo look on the “B”, but if you’re looking for long-distance comfort, the overall wider pilot section and full-width passenger seat on the Transcontinental would make it your Huckleberry.

Behind the seat is the main difference that makes a difference between the two models, the 48-liter top case on the Transcontinental, or lack thereof on the bagger, that gives each model its name. The top case adds to the passenger’s comfort by doubling as a full backrest that wraps around a bit on the sides for an extra feeling of containment and security.

Seat height is 29.1 inches off the deck on the touring model, while the “B” drops it down to 28.3 inches high. LED emitters grace the taillight and back blinkers to ensure visibility from the rear, while a DRL up front improves your visibility from the front, even during daylight hours.

The instrumentation is a mixed bag with a quartet of round analog gauges – including one that displays your current power reserve as a percentile, a metric that is quite familiar to helicopter pilots – and a 10.25-inch, color TFT display that handles all of the higher electronic safety features and infotainment functions.

Among the infotainment functions is a stock sound system from British giant Marshall that handles all of your road-music needs. If the two-speaker standard setup isn’t sufficient to satisfactorily share your tunes with the surrounding traffic, you can spring for the optional Marshall Gold Series Stage 1 or Stage 2 that is sure to do the job.

Both models come with a little smartphone cubby in the fuel-tank area with a USB port to keep your device charged up. Also on the optional equipment list is an Adaptive Turning Light that rolls up to 35-degrees from center as you lean into the turns so the light goes right where you need it.

2022 BMW R 18 B and Transcontinental Chassis

  • Newly design frame
  • Larger fuel tank
  • Systems reminiscent of the legendary BMW R 5
  • Full integral ABS
2022 BMW R 18 B and Transcontinental
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2022 BMW R 18 B and Transcontinental
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2022 BMW R 18 B and Transcontinental
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The look of the rigid frame used historically in the R 5 was purposely recreated for the R 18 models.

A bona fide classic build requires genuine underpinnings, and for the R 18 family, this manifests in the double-loop/double-cradle frame that sets the stage with old-school frame geometry and a structure that fully supports the engine rather than using it as a stressed member.

The steering head establishes a rake angle of 27.3 degrees from the vertical, and once the 19-inch front hoop is factored in, a surprisingly long 7.2 inches of trail. Together, this makes the new R 18 pair track like they’re on rails in a crosswind, even at speed, but at the expense of cornering performance. Such stability does, however, delivers confidence with a side serving of energy conservation as it takes very little effort to keep this thing between the stripes.

The backbone is a composite construct that uses sheet-metal parts to achieve its final rigidity. It adds its own element with a fall from steering head to rear axle that calls to mind the old rigid rear ends, though it actually does have a swingarm made of more tubular-steel members with both cast and forged elements to complete the structure.

A 16-inch wheel rounds out the rolling chassis out back. It relies on a hidden cantilever-mount strut that comes with travel-dependent damping and automatic load compensation for no-touch setup changes in the face of variable passenger and cargo loads. Up front, a 49 mm telescopic fork takes care of business, and both ends turn in 4.7 inches of travel.

Dual front brakes help haul this pair down through 300 mm discs and four-bore calipers, while out back, another four-piston caliper bites another 300 mm disc for a rare level of brake power out back. Such strong brakes comes with a certain amount of risk of breaking loose, but BMW Motorrad has you covered with its in-house ABS feature.

Frame: Double-cradle steel frame
Front suspension/ Travel: Telescopic fork/ 4.7"
Rear Suspension/ Travel: Steel swingarm with central shock strut/ 4.7"
Steering head angle: 62.7°
Castor: 7.2"
Wheels: Cast aluminum front wheel
Front Rim: 3.5 x 19"
Rear Rim: 5.0 x 16"
Front Tire: 120/70 R19
Rear Tire: 180/65 B16
Front Brake: Dual 300 mm disc brake, four-piston fixed caliper
Rear Brake: 300 mm disc brake, four-piston fixed caliper
ABS: BMW Motorrad Integral ABS (fully integrated)

2022 BMW R 18 B and Transcontinental Drivetrain

  • Massive 1,802 cc “Big Boxer” engine
  • 91 hp and 116 lb-ft of torque
  • Smooth power delivery
  • Dynamic cruise control and three ride modes
  • Disengageable stability control and engine drag torque control
2022 BMW R 18 B and Transcontinental
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2022 BMW R 18 B and Transcontinental
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2022 BMW R 18 B and Transcontinental
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Torque figures show 111 pound-feet are available at a remarkably low 2,000 rpm, with the maximum torque output of 116 pounds at three grand even.

This particular engine wins the prestigious title of Most Powerful BMW Boxer of all Time, and looking at the specs, it’s easy to see why. At 110 cubic-inches (1,802 cc), this is one big Bavarian. Primarily cooled by the cooling fins on the jugs, the waste heat is further reduced by an oil cooler that protects the engine’s very lifeblood. Readers familiar with past BMW machine will recognize the engine’s shape as one that could have been torn from the history books and is a natural evolution from past opposed-twin powerplants.

Chrome valve covers, exhaust. and crankcase trim brighten the look a bit on the Transcontinental engine that rocks a gray finish on the cases with black cylinders, but these pieces really pop against the total blackout engine finish on the Bagger. The bores mic out at 107.1 mm with 100 mm strokes and a relatively mild compression ratio of 9.6-to-1 that should tolerate mid-grade pusholine fairly well. This gives the engine an output of 91 ponies with torque figures that show 111 pound-feet are available at a remarkably low 2,000 rpm, with the maximum torque output of 116 pounds at three grand even. Top speed is reported by the factory as over 111 mph.

Power flows through a single-disc, anti-hop dry clutch and six-speed transmission before it heads to the rear wheel through the shaft-type final drive. A trio of Ride Modes let you quickly dial in for changing conditions as part of the stock equipment package alongside an Automatic Stability Control (traction control) and Dynamic Engine Brake Control that protects the integrity of the rear contact patch when accelerating and compression braking, respectively.

Plus, there’s cruise control, and not just any old vanilla CC either, I’m talking about a pair of top-shelf features in the Active Cruise Control and optional Dynamic Cruise Control features. A radar unit monitors the distance between yourself and the traffic ahead to allow the system to back off the speed to maintain a certain spacing rather than a certain velocity. That’s the “active” part. As for the “dynamic” bit, it slows you down if you exceed your set speed, even when heading downhill. Pretty nifty stuff, right?

Engine: Air/oil cooled twin-cylinder four-stroke boxer engine with two chain-driven camshafts above the crank shaft
Displacement: 1,802 cc
Bore x Stroke: 107.1 mm x 100 mm
Power: 91 hp @ 4,750 rpm
Max. torque: 116 lb-ft @ 3,000 rpm
Compression ratio: 9.6:1
Fuel preparation: Electronic intake manifold fuel injection/digital engine management: BMS-O with electromotive throttle controller
Emission control: Closed-loop three-way catalytic converter
Clutch: Single-disc dry clutch
Transmission: 6-speed transmission
Secondary drive: Drive shaft

2022 BMW R 18 B and Transcontinental Price

2022 BMW R 18 B and Transcontinental
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2022 BMW R 18 B and Transcontinental
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2022 BMW R 18 B and Transcontinental
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The R 18 B rolls for a base MSRP of $22k, while its full-dress sibling the Transcontinental commands a $25k starting price.

The R 18 B rolls for a base MSRP of $21,945, while its full-dress sibling the Transcontinental commands a $24,995 starting price. Both are available in the same choice of colors that starts out with the R 18 B / Transcontinental First Edition packages that runs with Black Storm Metallic as a base coat but sports unique double-pinstripes to set it apart from the regular Black Storm Metallic model. If black ain’t your thing, perhaps the brushed-bronze Manhattan Metallic Matte will fit the bill. As always, Beemer saves the best for its Option 719 variant that runs with a ghostly combination of Galaxy Dust Metallic and Titan Silver 2 Metallic.

Warranty: up to 3-years or 36,000 miles warranty
Colors: Black Storm Metallic, Manhattan Metallic Matte, Opt719 Galaxy Dust Metallic/Titan Silver 2 Metallic
Price:
└ R 18 B: $21,945
└ R 18 Transcontinental: $24,995

2022 BMW R 18 B Competitors

2021 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Revival
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2022 BMW R 18 B and Transcontinental
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No doubt about it, this machine is destined to come up against the best the U.S. marques have to offer, so with that in mind, I went and grabbed a brand-new classic bagger from Harley-Davidson, the Electra Glide Revival. Let’s see how they stack up.

Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Revival

2021 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Revival
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Neither gain an advantage in the electronics department, but credit where it's due, at least they tie near the top of the range.

The MoCo brings an interesting blend of old and new features together to make its newest bagger. As for the old, it starts from the ground up in the laced wire wheels that come lined with gangster whitewalls to set the stage.

A full front fender carries classic chrome trim and skirting below beercan fork covers, tripletree cover, whisker bar, and light housings that brighten up the Revival’s visage. The front fairing isn’t quite as sleek and chic as the Beemer’s, but it does promise a bit more protection, same goes for the taller glass on the H-D.

Analog gauges and TFT screens are constant across the board, as are the infotainment bundles, ABS, and safety ride-quality electronics to more or less break even here. Neither gain an advantage in the electronics department, but credit where it’s due, at least they tie near the top of the range, yeah?

Harley powers its entry with the Milwaukee-Eight 114 that puts out 97 horsepower with 118 pound-feet of torque on tap against Beemer’s 91/116 for a razor-thin advantage in brute strength, but the trade off is significant. The $29,199 sticker on the Revival is looking a little too proud against the $21,945 tag on the Bagger.

Read our full review of the Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Revival.

He Said

“Gotta’ hand it to Beemer. This duo is a great followup to its initial R 18 release, which itself was a tough act to follow. Of course, it’s hard to go wrong when you combine classic looks with modern performance and high-tech electronics as the interest in retro styling continues to burgeon. It will be interesting to see how this American-style tourbike and boulevard bruiser performs against actual American machinery. I’d say the relatively low sticker bodes well for its chances at success.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “Yeah, the bikes are expensive, but considering what you get and what you’d be looking at on your own list of possible contenders, it’s really right in the ballpark. These are luxury bikes in the bagger and dresser categories. They look like it, they ride like it, and they perform like it. Make no mistake, BMW didn’t just put bags and a top case on the R 18. The whole frame was redesigned to accommodate the larger fuel tank, and I’m not sure you can find better stability and tracking at speed than these.”

2022 BMW R 18 B Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: Air/oil cooled twin-cylinder four-stroke boxer engine with two chain-driven camshafts above the crank shaft
Displacement: 1,802 cc
Bore x Stroke: 107.1 mm x 100 mm
Power: 91 hp @ 4,750 rpm
Max. torque: 116 lb-ft @ 3,000 rpm
Compression ratio: 9.6:1
Fuel preparation: Electronic intake manifold fuel injection/digital engine management: BMS-O with electromotive throttle controller
Emission control: Closed-loop three-way catalytic converter
Clutch: Single-disc dry clutch
Transmission: 6-speed transmission
Secondary drive: Drive shaft
Chassis:
Frame: Double-cradle steel frame
Front suspension/ Travel: Telescopic fork/ 4.7"
Rear Suspension/ Travel: Steel swingarm with central shock strut/ 4.7"
Steering head angle: 62.7°
Castor: 7.2"
Wheels: Cast aluminum front wheel
Front Rim: 3.5 x 19"
Rear Rim: 5.0 x 16"
Front Tire: 120/70 R19
Rear Tire: 180/65 B16
Front Brake: Dual 300 mm disc brake, four-piston fixed caliper
Rear Brake: 300 mm disc brake, four-piston fixed caliper
ABS: BMW Motorrad Integral ABS (fully integrated)
Dimensions & Capacities:
Length: 100.8”
Height: 55.1”
Width: 38.2”
Wheelbase: 66.7"
Seat height, Unladen: 28.35”
Inner leg curve, Unladen: 67”
Curb weight: 877 lbs
Permitted total weight: 1388 lbs
Payload (with standard equipment): 511 lbs
Fuel tank capacity: approx. 6.3 gallon with approx. 1 gallon reserve
Fuel type: Super plus, unleaded (max. 15% ethanol, E15) RON 95 90 AKI
Electrical system:
Alternator: Permanent magnet alternator with 660 W (nominal capacity)
Battery: 12 V / 26 Ah, maintenance-free
Details:
Warranty: up to 3-years or 36,000 miles warranty
Colors: Black Storm Metallic, Manhattan Metallic Matte, Opt719 Galaxy Dust Metallic/Titan Silver 2 Metallic
Price: $21,945

2022 BMW R 18 Transcontinental Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: Air/oil cooled twin-cylinder four-stroke boxer engine with two chain-driven camshafts above the crank shaft
Displacement: 1,802 cc
Bore x Stroke: 107.1 mm x 100 mm
Power: 91 hp @ 4,750 rpm
Max. torque: 116 lb-ft @ 3,000 rpm
Compression ratio: 9.6:1
Fuel preparation: Electronic intake manifold fuel injection/digital engine management: BMS-O with electromotive throttle controller
Emission control: Closed-loop three-way catalytic converter
Clutch: Single-disc dry clutch
Transmission: 6-speed transmission
Secondary drive: Drive shaft
Chassis:
Frame: Double-cradle tubular steel frame
Front suspension/ Travel: Telescopic fork/ 4.7"
Rear Suspension/ Travel: Steel swingarm with central shock strut/ 4.7"
Steering head angle: 62.7°
Castor: 7.2"
Wheels: Cast aluminum front wheel
Front Rim: 3.5 x 19"
Rear Rim: 5.0 x 16"
Front Tire: 120/70 R19
Rear Tire: 180/65 B16
Front Brake: Dual 300 mm disc brake, four-piston fixed caliper
Rear Brake: 300 mm disc brake, four-piston fixed caliper
ABS: BMW Motorrad Integral ABS (fully integrated)
Dimensions & Capacities:
Length: 104”
Height: 59.1”
Width: 38.2”
Wheelbase: 66.7"
Seat height, Unladen: 29.1”
Inner leg curve, Unladen: 67.3”
Curb weight: 942 lbs
Permitted total weight: 1389 lbs
Payload (with standard equipment): 448 lbs
Fuel tank capacity: approx. 6.3 gallon with approx. 1 gallon reserve
Fuel type: Super plus, unleaded (max. 15% ethanol, E15) RON 95 90 AKI
Electrical system:
Alternator: Permanent magnet alternator with 660 W (nominal capacity)
Battery: 12 V / 26 Ah, maintenance-free
Details:
Warranty: up to 3-years or 36,000 miles warranty
Colors: Black Storm Metallic, Manhattan Metallic Matte, Opt719 Galaxy Dust Metallic/Titan Silver 2 Metallic
Price: $24,995

Further Reading

BMW Motorrad

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Read more BMW news.

Source: See the R 18 B and Transcontinental in the video "Get After It" by The Cadillac Three

TJ Hinton
TJ Hinton
T.J got an early start from his father and other family members who owned and rode motorcycles, and by helping with various mechanical repairs throughout childhood. That planted a seed that grew into a well-rounded appreciation of all things mechanical, and eventually, into a formal education of same. Though primarily a Harley rider, he has an appreciation for all sorts of bikes and doesn't discriminate against any particular brand or region of origin. He currently holds an Associate's degree in applied mechanical science from his time at the M.M.I.  Read full bio
About the author

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: bmwmotorcycles.com, harley-davidson.com

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