Having seen these bikes at various stages of testing over the last months, the arrival of the BMW Transcontinental and R 18 B shouldn’t come as a big surprise.

Either way, the two bikes signal BMW’s move into the heavyweight cruiser/touring segment, as the German marque looks to take the fight to the likes of Harley-Davidson and Indian – so it’s a pretty exciting announcement regardless.

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Over and above the standard BMW R18, the heavyweight Transcontinental gains the obligatory bat-wing front fairing and high screen, and wind deflectors and flaps. The dash includes four analogue round instruments and a 10.25-inch TFT colour display, while the nose includes additional lights.

A Marshall sound system is included, along with engine protection bars, panniers and a top case, heated seats, chrome trim and an engine in Silver metallic. The R18 B features a lower screen (in keeping with the bagger style), a slimmer seat unit, a blacked-out engine and no top case.

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Surprisingly, as BMW has added around 50kg to the R18 B (398kg) and over 80kg to the Transcontinental (427kg), the engine of the two bikes seems relatively unchanged. The 1,802cc engine has a 107.1mm bore and 100mm stroke. The engine output is 67kW (91hp) at 4 750rpm and the maximum torque of 158Nm (116lb-ft) is available from 3,000rpm.

There’s more good news. The bikes are to be expected in retailers this September, though they won’t be cheap, with R 18 B prices starting at £21,500 and the R 18 Transcontinental at £23,300.

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Ross Mowbray

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