The BMW R18 Bagger and It's Mine - Issue #29

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Adam Chandler on Motorcycles
The BMW R18 Bagger and It's Mine - Issue #29
By Adam Chandler • Issue #29 • View online
Millennial purchases a cruiser and loves it….the prologue aka why I purchased a BMW R18, why I purchased the bagger trim and what I paid

I hope this post will serve someone well in the future because in 2022, there aren’t any blog posts about this motorcycle. The R18 has been well covered by nearly everyone from the typical motorcycle press to even very low-subscriber social media influencers on YouTube, Instagram and TikTok. As an outsider, it seems like BMW is spending millions of dollars sending ‘heritage only’ trucks around USA and inviting YouTubers to test out these bikes and make videos about them. I got tired of waiting on BMW to call me and instead did what they wanted us all to do anyway and just buy one. 
This post will just be the why and what. I’ll publish a review in the coming days.
This all started in 2020 when I follows their YouTube Soul Story series with a leather-clad millennial meeting all of these BMW icons and following the R18 story from concept to production. I almost placed a deposit for a first edition for around $21,000 USD and I’m glad that I didn’t. A year later, The R18 was met with a Classic model equipped with removable windscreen and saddle bags, floorboard, rocker shifter, cruise control, better looking exhaust pipes and more for a couple of grand more than the base first edition which I’ll call the Pure model going forward. I noticed that when the Classic hit, the R18 Pure was now showing up for $13-$17K around the country at BMW dealers. I demoed a Pure and then a Classic about 6 months apart off the truck and the classic was the one to buy. Thinking they’d discount it by an equal percentage as the pure models that were gathering dust, I waited. 
First-Ride: BMW's R18 Cruiser 2021
First-Ride: BMW's R18 Cruiser 2021
November of 2021 and my dealer started receiving the first of two more R18 models, the Bagger and Transcontinental. These motorcycles were now the ones to buy in my opinion because they weren’t just an R18 with more gizmos but they were altogether different motorcycles. It wasn’t even the same frame or suspension.
Let’s review what sets the B and TC apart from the Pure and Classic:
  • Shorter wheelbase
  • Larger fuel tank (I saw 300 miles of range on a fill up)
  • Aero in the form of a large fairing
  • 1” more in suspension travel
  • BMW’s ESA system which has ride height and adjusts for soft and hard roads for a more plush ride
  • Hard and locking saddle bags
  • Sound system
  • Large TFT screen with full size maps, SiriusXM and other features
  • A fuel gauge
  • A real tachometer (not a digital one like on the base models
  • Heated grips and heated seat (I believe the classic has heated grips now)
  • Automatic (radar) Cruise Control
  • Large floor boards
  • Larger and taller seats
  • Different steering rake for stability and comfort
  • Smartphone holder with USB charging & cooling fan
  • Tubeless wheels as standard (classic and pure stoked wheels have tubes)
The TC gets these additional features over the B:
  • Aero winglets that can be opened or closed under the fairing
  • Aero blockers in front of the cylinder heads that are fixed
  • Huge top case that can hold 2 helmets
  • A much taller and more plush seat over the bagger with passenger controlled heat buttons
  • State 2 sound system for more power and more speakers
  • Taller windscreen than bagger (can be added to bagger)
  • Different body work such as the front fender which looks more like a full dresser Harley
  • …could be something else I’m not thinking of at this time but those are the big ones.
The 2022 R18 Lineup
The 2022 R18 Lineup
You now have an R18 with four models each with these MSRPs for almost loaded models (such as Premium & Select packages and Reverse):
  • Pure: $20,140
  • Classic: $21,590
  • Bagger: $27,515
  • TransContinental: $30,240
What about weight? 
  • Pure: 761lb
  • Classic: 804lb
  • Bagger: 877lb
  • TransContinental: 942lb
Comparing the BMW R18 Classic, Bagger and Transcontinental 1800CC Cruiser motorcycles
Comparing the BMW R18 Classic, Bagger and Transcontinental 1800CC Cruiser motorcycles
If you can get over the massively huge front fairing, it would seem to me that the Bagger is the one to get over all of the bikes unless you need a TC for cross-country touring thanks to its ability to block wind and give you a very comfortable seat or you need a Classic for just around town riding where short rage, moderate aero and small saddle bags along with a thin seat isn’t a deal breaker. 
I sat on all 4 bikes in November of 2021 and was once again thinking that I just had to wait longer. I couldn’t buy a classic after seeing all of the features of the Bagger and how reviews that talked about short range, not much storage and harsh ride of the classic and pure would be eliminated by just spending a little bit more but at the time, a LOT more. Like the Pure models, the Classic would be discounted and I assumed, the Bagger and Transcontinental would as well. I didn’t want a new R1250RT because it was too similar to my GS. I wanted a BMW that was uniquely different than my GS. I wanted an R18 but one that I could live with even if my GS needed a new motor and it took me 6 months to find one, I could live with an R18 in its bagger configuration for a while. 
From November to May, I watched CycleTrader. My plan all along was to purchase an R18 Classic or Bagger when the 2023 models were announced. The Classic was a compromise bike but if I could get it cheap enough, I could live with that. I loved the new Mars Red Classic despite its shortcomings but kept eying the Bagger in that gorgeous 719 Purple color. A bike fitting for a Prince fan :)
Throughout May, I reached out to 18 dealers east of the Mississippi and I’d email them a stock number and ask for the build sheet and their out the door price. I started building a spreadsheet and arrived at this lowest cost pricing for each of the four R18s spread over the country:
  • Pure: $13,500 (33% off MSRP)
  • Classic: $15,500 (29% off)
  • Bagger: $19,500 (30% off)
  • TransContinental: $22,500 (25% off)
Okay so good news is that all 4 R18 models that are 2021/2022 bikes, demo models with my MOA Discount could be acquired for less than a new R1250GS Adventure because this whole time I was thinking that I’m better off just replacing my GS if I want a new touring bike even though my GS is low miles and sorted the way I want. But nope, I could get a Pure for less than an F750 and a Classic and Bagger for less than a loaded RNineT 719 and a TransContinental for about $5-7K less than a loaded R1250RT. These were all Select, Premium or First Edition Bikes I was looking at.
Unfortunately, all of these bikes were going to be a fly and ride. Each of them was a 1000-1500 mile ride home so I’d be stopping at a dealer for the break-in service and spending about $350 on a flight and $200 on hotels along with $5 gasoline. We’d be looking at an added cost of over $1000 but these were a great deal! As a last email, I reached out to my local dealer who had priced me on some bikes early in the process. I sent over my spreadsheet to them and said I would like to see if you can get close to these prices. They asked me to come in and take a classic and bagger out for a ride. I spent an hour on each of them. Hop on the interstate, go around twisty roads, in and out of parking lots and over speed bumps and see which one spoke to me most. They’d run the numbers but they could get close to those prices. The Classic they had was a Select and could get close to the price but it wouldn’t have cruise control, adaptive headlight but it was red. The bagger they had couldn’t match that price because that bagger I was looking at was not a first edition, nor did it have cruise control and the one they had in stock did. I could walk out that day paying about $16,500 for a Classic or $20,500 for a Bagger. This meant it’s in the truck in 90 minutes and I’m heading home instead of booking a one-way flight and spending more to get the bike home. 
First Ride: BMW's R18 Bagger 2022 (R18B, 1800CC Cruiser)
First Ride: BMW's R18 Bagger 2022 (R18B, 1800CC Cruiser)
After riding both bikes for a while, the Bagger was the bike to get. The Classic’ thin seat, lack of fuel gage, tachometer and the wind buffeting around my 6’3” frame was too much. It felt like an accessorized pure and wouldn’t do for overnight trips and would be good just around town. I couldn’t ride the classic to Florida with a 175 mile range and those tiny foot pegs. The bagger needed very little. Some leg rests would be nice, maybe a taller windscreen for long distance riding and a soft bag behind me if I wanted to do some camping. It was fully loaded, black, pine striping, automatic cruise control (which I’m so happy I got) and all of the features you needed. It was $1000 more than the bike in St. Louis but after travel costs, it was the same cost and had more features. No it wasn’t purple but the purple bike they had in stock didn’t have the features of the Bagger I was going to buy. 
What about the TransContinental? If I didn’t love my GS, I would have bought it. Just $1500-$2000 more than a Bagger and you are in a wind bubble and doubling your storage and seat height. I don’t have a pillion and I’m not planning a cross country trip on the R18 so the Bagger is all I need. 
Because this is the 4th new BMW I’ve bought from this dealer, they hooked me up with shirts, mugs, thermoses and a lot of R18 swag. They also included the first running-in service parts for free so I left home with the fluids and filters I needed to do my first service. I’ll pay it off sooner but all of the R18s qualified for .9% interest through BMW so I took that deal as, to-term, financing will cost me just $250 in interest. .9% interest is a rare thing these days so I took it.
Before I left the dealer with the R18 in the pickup, the general manager who has sold me all 4 of those new BMWs said he saw me 3 times looking at or demo riding R18s in the past 2 years and he really didn’t think I’d ever buy one. He would have lost that bet. 
New Bike Reveal: BMW R18 Bagger....yes seriously
New Bike Reveal: BMW R18 Bagger....yes seriously
I also published this video on the ‘why I bought one’ if you’d prefer to watch instead of read:
Why did I buy a BMW R18 Bagger, The Huge German 1800CC Cruiser
Why did I buy a BMW R18 Bagger, The Huge German 1800CC Cruiser
I have 650 miles on the bike now. A review will be coming your way very soon.
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Adam Chandler

These are my ramblings about motorcycling. For the most part, these will be editorials you will have seen in regional and national motorcycle publications or longer posts and ride-reports as seen on ADVRider.com. Occasionally, I will post content here that is exclusive to paid subscribers and eventually be made free for all. Thank you.

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