Both new bikes build off the R18 and gear up for long distance riding. They’re basically just the touring version of the R18, which isn’t to say that the R18 — or the R18 Classic — couldn’t already tour. The Bagger and Transcontinental models just let riders do so more comfortably than the standard and Classic variants, while expanding the R18 range to fit more butts.
I’m not big into cruisers, let alone baggers, but I think the styling of these bikes is excellent. The design is less blocky than what Harley and Indian are doing with some of their modern baggers. These kind of remind me of Aprilia’s old 850 Mana GT, which was an awesome bike.
BMW added what you’d expect to find on a bagger in order to make long distances livable. The engine is the same size at 1,802CC and makes the same power, but both models come with more standard equipment than the standard R18. That new equipment includes a bigger fuel tank for longer hauls, and softer suspension with different geometry to help soften your iron butt. You also get the side and top cases to haul all of your gear, plus some fancy speakers from Marshall. There’s the new fairing, too, which adds three gauges and a screen to the standard R18's sad, single gauge. Also, these cross-country haulers have better looking tail pipes!
All of these upgrades have increased the price, of course. The R18 Bagger starts at $21,495 and the R18 Transcontinental at $24,995. Contrast that to the R18's $17,495 starting price, and the R18 Classic’s at $19,495. It’s quite a bit of cash to jump from the “basic” R18 to the full fat Transcontinental, namely $7,500. That’s before any options, and, you’re gonna want at least one: Reverse Assist.
Maybe add Hill Start Control while you’re at it, because these two bikes are heavy. All the new, fancy kit has made a heavy bike heavier. Here are the weights of all the R18 bikes, in order:
- R18: 761 lbs.
- R18 Classic: 805 lbs.
- R18 Bagger: 877 lbs.
- R18 Transcontinental: 942 lbs.
That’s...a lot. Sure, it’s not unheard of. Baggers weighing just under 1,000 pounds are around, but it’s still a lot of weight. The question is whether or not that significant increase in weight (and cost) is worth it.