The BMW R 18 is now fully dressed. We’ve seen the naked R 18. Then the windshield and bagged R 18 Classic. The R 18 B is an urban-friendly weekend touring bagger. The new flagship in the line is the 2022 BMW R 18 Transcontinental, which features side bags and a top box for long-distance motorcycle excursions. Let’s see what makes the new Transcontinental ready to take on coast-to-coast rides.
- If you like to bring the kitchen sink, there’s room for it on the 2022 BMW R 18 Transcontinental. The side bags can consume 27 liters each, with the top box nearly that cargo-carrying capability thanks to a 47-liter capacity. Add it all up, and we’re looking at 101 liters—that’s 26.7 gallons if you’re not a metric enthusiast. In case you’re wondering, the average kitchen sink holds about 20 liters—each side bag can handle that.
- There’s a bonus compartment integrated into the fuel tank to hold and charge your smartphone. We don’t have the dimensions, but it should handle any current phone.
- The top box will keep your passenger happy, as it doubles as a padded backrest.
- Thanks to the BMW’s keyless ride system, the side bags, and top box can be locked (and unlocked) at the push of a button. The smartphone compartment does not lock, but you were going to take your phone with you at a stop anyway. The fob also shuts down the ignition and locks the steering if you get too far away. If you’re seriously worried about theft, an alarm is available as an option.
- The steering-mounted fairing has plenty of technology built in. The TFT display is over 10 inches wide, and highly customizable. Legibility is enhanced by a 1920 x 720-pixel array. The rider can select between several display packages, or the screen can be split to show two packages simultaneously. If you load the free BMW Motorrad Connected app into your smartphone, you can turn the Transcontinental’s TFT into a GPS display using Bluetooth connectivity. You can also control music, phone calls, and navigation on the screen, using the multicontroller on the handlebar to move between functions.
- There are four traditional analog-style clocks in the fairing, but one of them is a surprise. The two large clocks show you the motorcycle’s speed and the Big Boxer’s rev count. The left gauge keeps you apprised of how much fuel is left in the 6.2-gallon tank. The right gauge is nicked from Rolls Royce, which BMW owns. It’s a Power Reserve dial, which tells you how much extra power the motor has in any given situation. Its most likely use is when planning an overtake on a road with limited visibility ahead.
- The fairing has two Marshall two-way speakers built in, and each is powered by 25 watts Marshall amplification. Yes, this is the same Marshall in England known for amps and speakers used by countless high-profile guitarists over the last 50 years—the names Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, and Eddie Van Halen may ring a bell. If the stock setup doesn’t satisfy your need for volume, there are two optional Marshall Gold Series packages. Stage 1 puts a subwoofer powered by 90 watts in each side bag. Marshall Gold Series Stage 2 adds to Stage 1 by placing a pair of two-way speakers into the top box backrest, each of them getting 25 watts of power. Disappointingly, the system cannot be turned up to 11.
- The 2022 BMW R 18 Transcontinental provides more windblast protection than the new R 18 B. In addition to a taller windshield, the Transcontinental has lower adjustable wind-wings built into the fairing.
- Below the fairing is fixed wind deflectors mounted on crash bars that protect the boxer’s valve covers in the case of a tip-over.
- Speaking of the motor, it’s the same Big Boxer powerplant used in the three other R 18 models. Well-endowed with stump-pulling torque, the horizontally opposed twin cranks out 116 ft-lbs of torque at 3000, with the power peaking at 91 horsepower at 4750 rpm. You don’t need many revs to make things happen. Energy moves through a six-speed transmission with an exposed shaft sending the power to the 16-inch rear wheel. The clutch is a dry single-disc variety. Three ride modes—cheekily named Rock, Roll, and Rain—modify the power delivery and rider aid electronic functions.
- BMW has multiple ways to keep the Transcontinental from losing traction. A defeatable traditional traction control prevents wheelspin under acceleration. When slowing down, the rear wheel is kept turning in two ways—a slipper clutch and an electronic aid that prevents the rear wheel from skidding due to engine compression braking. Braking is fully linked—if you use either the foot or hand brake, all three calipers start working on the 300mm discs. ABS steps in as needed.
- Putting a 6.2-gallon fuel tank on the Transcontinental required a new frame. The double-loop tube frame is welded by robots, and has a formed-sheet-metal backbone.
- The 2022 BMW R 18 Transcontinental will definitely have its own handling characteristics. With a 19-inch cast-aluminum front wheel, rather than the standard R 18’s 16-inch wire-spoke wheel, the Transcontinental’s geometry is shared with the B, albeit with an additional 64 pounds and a seat height 0.8 inches higher. Compared to the standard R 18, the Transcontinental has a 1.5-inch shorter wheelbase, 5.4 degrees less rake, and 1.3 inches more trail. That’s quite a smorgasbord of changes—it will be interesting to ride the Transcontinental. Oh, and the R 18 Transcontinental is the only member of the R 18 brotherhood to come with floorboards as standard equipment.
- Whether you ride solo or two-up, the Transcontinental has you covered. The rear suspension automatically adjusts ride height via hydraulically regulated spring-preload for weight and conditions. Inside the shock, the damping changes through the stroke of the travel.
- The Transcontinental gets its own broad, heated seat. As the name implies, this motorcycle is prepared for long rides.
- Long rides are made easier by cruise control, and BMW offers two sophisticated systems. The stock cruise control does its thing, and adds braking if cutting the throttle isn’t enough to reduce speed on downhills. The optional Active Cruise Control adds radar sensors to prevent the motorcycle from getting too close to moving vehicles ahead of it. Importantly, it does not detect stationary objects, so you have to remain a vigilant and participatory rider. Even more impressive, the ACC system is cornering-aware. Also, the two systems are separate, so the ACC can be turned off and only the standard cruise control.
- There are plenty of lights on the Transcontinental. There are LEDs everywhere, and the headlight is augmented with a pair of auxiliary lights for extra illumination and that look of authority. The front turn indicators live below the auxiliary lights, while the rear indicators are part of the bags. If that’s not enough, you can spring for the Adaptive Turning Light option. This aims the headlights into corners after dark, as well as keep the headlight beam properly aimed. According to BMW, the Transcontinental has the widest headlight beam of all of the brand’s models.
- Like the standard R 18 before it, there is a First Edition version of the Transcontinental. You get plenty of upgrades, including silver grey contrast-milled wheels and lots of chrome. Our favorite is the double white-pinstriping on the top box, side bags, fuel tank, and fairing. There’s also a goodie box with a baseball hat, belt buckle, and a book. You also get a keyring/screwdriver to install included copper-colored retro fuel tank emblems and slotted screws.
- There are more options and accessories than we can recount. BMW has designed many of its own options—Option 719 has a visual presence and tapping into assistance from Roland Sands Design and Vance & Hines. Speaking of the exhaust system, the controversial fishtail mufflers on the standard R 18 are replaced by less conspicuous round mufflers.
- There are enough color variations to satisfy a wide range of tastes. You have the standard black for the wallflower. The First Edition kicks that up with its pinstriping and wheels. Then you start to get flashy with the ambiguously named Manhattan Metallic Matte (add $500). Finally, you have the over-the-top Option 719 Galaxy Dust Metallic/Titanium Silver 2 Metallic ($2500 option) for riders who want every single eyeball in the vicinity on the R 18 Transcontinental.
- The MSRP for the standard 2022 BMW R 18 Transcontinental is $24,999. It’s hard to imagine anyone getting out the door for anything near that, of course. The First Edition Package runs $2150, while the Premium Package extracts $3225 from your wallet—and that just gets you started. The budget-sensitive rider will take a close look at the $950 Select Package. No doubt about it, the Transcontinental is a luxury motorcycle representing a premium brand.
2022 BMW R 18 Transcontinental Specs
- Type: Opposed twin
- Displacement: 1802cc
- Bore x stroke: 107.1 x 100mm
- Maximum power: 91 horsepower @ 4750 rpm
- Maximum torque: 116 ft-lbs @ 3000 rpm
- Maximum speed: 111 mph (99 mph fully loaded)
- Compression ratio: 9.6:1
- Valvetrain: Pushrod-actuated OHV w/ two camshafts; 4 vpc
- Cooling: Air and oil
- Transmission: 6-speed (w/ optional reverse)
- Clutch: Single-disc dry w/ slipper function
- Final drive: Shaft
- Frame: Steel-tube double-loop
- Front suspension; travel: Non-adjustable 49mm fork; 4.7 inches
- Rear suspension; travel: Cantilevered spring-preload adjustable shock; 4.7 inches
- Wheels: Cast aluminum
- Front wheel: 19 x 3.5
- Rear wheel: 16 x 5.0
- Front tire: 120/70 x 19
- Rear tire: 180/65 x 16
- Front brake: 300mm discs w/ 4-piston calipers
- Rear brake: 300mm disc w/ 4-piston caliper
- ABS: BMW Motorrad Full Integral
DIMENSIONS and CAPACITIES
- Wheelbase: 66.7 inches
- Rake: 27.3 degrees
- Trail: 7.2 inches
- Seat height: 29.1 inches
- Fuel capacity: 6.3 gallons
- Curb weight: 941 pounds
- Black Storm Metallic
- Manhattan Metallic Matte (+$500)
- R 18 Transcontinental First Edition
- Option 719 Galaxy Dust Metallic/Titanium Silver 2 Metallic (+$2400)
2022 BMW R 18 Transcontinental Price: $24,995 MSRP