When better cruiser or touring-type motorcycles are born, can the blessed event occur someplace other than Milwaukee? BMW Motorrad, as the two-wheeled element of BMW is known, believes that premium heavy motorcycles don’t necessarily have black-and-orange manufacturer logos. This isn’t the first time BMW has offered a take on an American-style heavy cruiser, but the new 2022 BMW R 18 B “Bagger” and R 18 Transcontinental are the strongest thrust yet by the Germans into the territory long claimed by Harley-Davidson, Indian and Victory. Especially in the Transcontinental’s case, this is pure, open-road cruising comfort that’s decidedly in the American idiom: The R 18 B has a tall fairing with wind deflectors, heated seats, an engine finished in metallic silver an a Marshall-developed audio system that plays in part through a TFT 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen. Take that, traditionalists!
Gotta love those deeply skirted front fenders that look right off a Duo Glide, too. BMW has its own measure of sacred technical lineage; its flat-twin is cooled by both air and water and displaces 1,802 cubic centimeters, a full 110 cubic inches, with 91 horsepower. A six-speed manual transmission feeds power via BMW’s signature shaft drive. The Transcontinental, also has a 48-liter top cargo case that incorporates a passenger backrest. Both bikes are due at dealers later this month, with pricing that starts at $21,495 for the R 18 B.