When BMW debuted its R18 cruiser platform, the bigwigs hinted at future models based on the design, even more luxurious and beastly. A few weeks back, we had the R18 Classic debut, adding soft saddlebags and a plain-Jane windshield to the formula. Now, it looks like BMW’s getting ready to add to that formula.
In the months before the big Beemer’s debut, we saw a set of patent drawings showing a full-sized bagger based on the R18. This machine was pictured with batwing fairing and hard bags, not the more retro aesthetic of the R18 Classic. Now, BikeSocial says BMW applied for a new trademark in Europe, looking to nail down the Transcontinental name—presumably for a touring bike aimed at long distances.
BMW is most likely not using the G310 platform as the basis of a bike called the Transcontinental. The F900, R NineT, R1250 and S1000 series all have model names based on their series, with long-running models like the RT and GS already pulling touring duty. Most likely, the Transcontinental is R18-based. It’s probably the batwing-fairing bagger we saw in patent drawings months back.
It makes sense. BMW appears to be attempting to muscle into Harley-Davidson’s cruiser market, and this tactic is right from the Harley-Davidson (and Indian) playbook. The American OEMs sell cruisers set up for both light touring and heavy touring, so why wouldn’t BMW want a piece of all that action itself? It seems Harley-Davidson is going to be scaling back production in coming years, meaning BMW has a big opportunity if it can attract the cruiseratti.
What’s missing from the line now? Assuming we see this bagger hit the market soon, BMW’s still missing a muscle cruiser. So far, the R18 bikes are all based around the same air/oil-cooled 1800cc flat twin. Maybe that will change in coming months, possibly modeled after the Dragster custom bike. Or maybe BMW will prefer to steer its speed-hungry customers with to its other, more modern, machines.