05 May Are the Massive BMW Bikes Going to Eat Into H-D’s Turf?
Although Harley-Davidson bikes are considered the best investment you can make when you want a two-wheel adventure, several competitors are out there trying to gain a market share on the company.
As the years have passed, brands like Yamaha, Kawasaki, and Honda have tried with varying levels of success to eat into the H-D market dominance. Except for the Goldwing, no one has generated much forward momentum over the years.
BMW hopes to change all of that with two extra-large versions of their R18 motorcycle. These bikes are massive, about the size of a smart car, and the next great hope of a brand that thinks it can take on Harley-Davidson.
The Motorcycles Are Still in the Concept Stage
The two motorcycles are called the R18-B and the R18 Transcontinental. Both of them are still in the concept stages, but they’re clearly getting designed to take on the current segment where Harley-Davidson dominates.
These jumbo-sized BMW bikes are built around a 1.8L flat-twin engine that receives rave reviews for being the most powerful of its type within the brand today. According to sources close to the project, patents are currently filed for both designs, with “B” standing for “Bagger,” according to sources close to the project.
Both motorcycles deliver the expectation that you can hop onto your ride to take a long road trip whenever the opportunity presents itself.
The original BMW R18 isn’t a tiny bike, but the two new versions are considerably larger. The “B” model will be over 100 inches long, spanning up to 38 inches wide, and weighing nearly 900 pounds.
If you opt for the Transcontinental model, you’ll get a bike that measures 104 inches long and hits the scale at just under 1,000 pounds.
For reference, the original Smart ForTwo cart had a 98.4-inch footprint, which means these BMW bikes have more length than the automobile.
Could the Engine Changes Create Competition for H-D?
Although few motorcycles generate the same excitement as a Harley-Davidson, you’ll find enthusiasts who love each make and model out there today. When you look at the specs for the R18-B and the R18 Transcontinental, you won’t see many changes offered to the engine from the core R18 design. That means you’ll get 91 HP and about 117 foot-pounds of torque.
The one potentially intriguing element of the new bikes is the expanding fuel tank that will offer a better range. If you incorporate the motorcycle’s extra weight with that element, the gains might not be as much as anticipated. BMW is putting in a steeper fork angle to offer more high-speed stability on the road.
There are no current plans released from BMW to release information about these two R18 variants that may try to compete with Harley-Davidson. The bikes will likely cost more than what is currently available from the brand, which has a base price on the showroom floor of $18,190 this year.