BMW motorcycles as big as a Smart car will tread on Harley-Davidson’s turf

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BMW’s motorcycle-building division is thinking extra-big. It’s preparing to unveil a pair of jumbo-sized motorcycles that will be based on the R18 cruiser and aimed at a segment dominated by Harley-Davidson’s biggest models.

Patent filings discovered by enthusiast site Motorcycle News partially reveal the R18’s jumbo-sized siblings. Called R18 B and R18 Transcontinental, respectively, they’re touring bikes built around the mighty, 1.8-liter flat-twin engine celebrated as the most powerful BMW boxer to date when it made its debut in early 2020. B stands for “bagger,” according to the publication, which is a type of big, road-trip-ready motorcycle. Transcontinental is self-explanatory.

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Staying true to the bagger ethos, the R18 B (pictured) will receive more fairing than the R18 and a pair of hard cases mounted on either side of the rear wheel. Riders who select the Transcontinental will benefit from a taller windshield and a third hard case, among other add-ons. Both will be considerably bigger than the R18, which is already not a small bike: Patent documents show the B will stretch 100.7 inches long, span between 36.6 inches and 38.1 inches wide, and weight around 880 pounds. The full-fat Transcontinental will measure nearly 104 inches long and tip the scale at about 950 pounds. For context, the original Smart ForTwo had a 98.4-inch footprint.

Riders will face what looks like a wide touchscreen and an instrument cluster made up of four individual gauges. Speakers embedded into the front fairing suggest the air-cooled engine won’t be making the only sound the XL R18s emit.

Speaking of, it doesn’t sound like BMW will make changes to the twin, so both upcoming R18s will be rated at 91 horsepower and 117 pound-feet of torque. Riding range will increase thanks to a bigger fuel tank. Chassis modifications will be part of the transformation, and a steeper fork angle will deliver better high-speed stability.

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BMW hasn’t announced plans to unveil either model, but we expect both will make their global debut in the coming months. When they arrive in showrooms, they’ll cost more than the standard R18, which starts at $18,190.



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