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 -- whichand 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 , 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.