Bmw r18 transcontinental 2022
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Bmw r18 transcontinental 2022

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2022 BMW R 18 Transcontinental | Road Test Review

2022 BMW R 18 Transcontinental

BMW has long been committed to designing and building motorcycles for travel, and the all-new 2022 BMW R 18 Transcontinental continues that tradition in a new segment for the German brand. BMW’s current lineup is filled with sport-tourers, adventure tourers, luxury tourers, and even a bagger, but all occupy the modern, performance-oriented end of the spectrum. Many are popular and sell in respectable quantities each year, especially on a global scale.

But here in North America – the biggest market for large-displacement motorcycles – cruisers are king. And when it comes to heavyweight touring cruisers, Harley-Davidson is by far the dominant brand.

2022 BMW R 18 Transcontinental

According to data from Infobike, two Harley-Davidson model families – Street Glide and Road Glide – accounted for 65% of global sales for heavyweight cruisers last year. If you add in Harley’s Electra Glide, Sport Glide, and Road King models, that number jumps to 84%. Of 67,859 units sold worldwide, Harley-Davidson accounts for 57,178 of them, and 49,331 (73%) were sold in the U.S.

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That’s a lot of iron.

Carving out even a small slice of the big cruiser pie can be profitable, which is why the Japanese brands entered the traditional cruiser segment years ago. Taking a bite out of Harley’s market share motivated Polaris to launch Victory in 1998 and buy Indian in 2011. BMW gave it a shot, too, when it launched the R 1200 C back in 1998, but its small engine, funky ergonomics, and out-of-touch styling failed to resonate with buyers.

2022 BMW R 18 Transcontinental

Greg’s Gear
Helmet: HJC RPHA 90S
Jacket: Vanson Stormer
Gloves: Highway 21 Trigger
Pants: Fly Racing Resistance Jeans
Boots: Sidi Gavia Gore-Tex

When we finally got a chance to test the R 18 late last year, former EIC Mark Tuttle wrote: “At 788 pounds fully fueled sitting on a long 68.1-inch wheelbase, the R 18 looks and feels overbuilt, like there’s a roomful of bagger and dresser bodywork tucked away somewhere just waiting to be hung on the sturdy platform.” The R 18 Classic, equipped with a windshield and semi-soft saddlebags, soon joined the lineup. But it wasn’t until this past summer that BMW announced the models that would compete with all those Road Glides and Street Glides.

Flight of the Hard Baggers

The R 18 B “Bagger” and R 18 Transcontinental fully realize the vision of what the Big Boxer platform was meant to be. Both have a handlebar-mounted batwing-style fairing, an infotainment system, hard saddlebags, and a comfy passenger seat. And the Transcontinental adds a top trunk with a wrap-around passenger backrest.

BMW invited Rider to test both models at their U.S. press launch in Denver, Colorado. After the one-day press ride, I spent four days riding an R 18 Transcontinental (TC) more than 1,500 miles through five states, with my wife, Carrie, as a passenger and the luggage packed full of gear.

BMW R 18 Transcontinental

BMW R 18 TranscontinentalBMW R 18 Transcontinental

BMW R 18 Transcontinental

BMW R 18 Transcontinental

PHOTO CAPTION: Carrie and I loaded up the R 18 TC and set off on a 1,500 mile journey. Starting in Denver, we rode west through the Rockies, crossing the Continental Divide several times (Loveland Pass, Hoosier Pass, and Monarch Pass) and visiting Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. We continued west through Utah and Arizona, riding through the red rocks of Monument Valley, crossing the Colorado River, and visiting the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. (Photos by the author)

Whereas the K 1600 B and K 1600 Grand America are high-performance, high-tech touring bikes powered by BMW’s inline-Six, the R 18 B and R 18 Transcontinental take a different approach. The K 1600 mill is ultra-smooth and makes 130 horsepower and 106 lb-ft of torque at the rear wheel. Traditional cruiser buyers aren’t concerned about horsepower. They want generous torque at low revs, and they want an engine with rumbling sound and feel. When we put the R 18 on Jett Tuning’s dyno, it made 109 lb-ft of rear-wheel torque at just 2,900 rpm, with more than 100 lb-ft of torque on tap from 2,000 to 3,600 rpm. Horsepower topped out at 80 at 4,500 rpm, and the rev limiter kicks in 6,000 rpm.

2022 BMW R 18 Transcontinental

The R 18 B and R 18 TC are both equipped for long-haul touring, but they’ll appeal to different buyers. With its low windshield and slim seat, the R 18 B is suited for solo touring and boulevard cruising with the occasional passenger. Designed for two-up touring, the R 18 Transcontinental is equipped with a tall windshield, a wide seat, wind deflectors, driving lights, heated seats, highway bars, a trunk, and a passenger backrest. The saddlebags hold 27 liters each, and the TC’s trunk holds 48 liters. Fuel capacity is a generous 6.3 gallons (up from 4.2 on the R 18), and over the course of more than 1,500 miles on the TC, every one of them ridden two-up and fully loaded, we averaged 42.5 mpg, which translates to about 268 miles of range.

The Right Tool for the Job

The R 18 B and R 18 TC are not just the R 18 with a fairing and luggage tacked on. Their shared frame was beefed-up to carry more weight; even with their higher curb weights, load capacity meets or exceeds that of the standard R 18. Compared to the R 18, the B and TC have a shorter wheelbase (66.7 inches, down from 68.1), less rake (27.3 degrees, down from 32.7 degrees), and more trail (7.2 inches, up from 5.9). They also have more rear suspension travel (4.7 inches, up from 3.5), which translates to additional cornering clearance (35 degrees, up from 32), and the rear shock auto-levels to accommodate various loads. The B and TC are heavier, but they handle better, especially on twisty roads and during low-speed maneuvers.

2022 BMW R 18 Transcontinental

The R 18 B and R 18 TC bikes we tested were equipped with optional packages that BMW believes most buyers will want. The Select Package adds a locking fuel filler cap, central luggage locks, a tire-pressure monitoring system, an anti-theft alarm, and heated seats on the B (they’re standard on the TC). The Premium Package adds the Adaptive Headlight with a mechanical cornering light function, which swivels +/-35 degrees to illuminate the inside of curves, as well as hill-hold control, reverse assist, Active Cruise Control, and Marshall Gold Series speakers in the saddlebag lids and, on the TC, in the passenger backrest.

In the Saddle

During the one-day press ride, I logged about 100 miles on the R 18 B. With its low, 28.3-inch seat and mid-mount footboards, my knees were level with my hips and my back was straight, which I preferred over the hip-rotating “clamshell” seating position that’s common on many cruisers. A comfortable reach to the pullback handlebar allowed me to maintain a relaxed bend in my elbows, and smooth airflow over the low windscreen hit right at helmet level with no buffeting.

BMW R 18 Transcontinental

Because the Big Boxer’s cylinders jut far out to the sides, the rider’s legs are hemmed in place, limiting options to adjust knee and hip angle during long stints in the saddle. The engine is too wide to accommodate highway pegs, so BMW will offer (though we didn’t get a chance to test) accessory leg rests so riders can stretch out their legs on top of the cylinders without roasting their calves. The TC has highway bars in front of the cylinders, and my legs are long enough that I was able to put my heels on them and mostly straighten out my knees, though only briefly because it felt awkward.

Thicker foam in the TC’s seat adds nearly an inch of seat height, which resulted in more legroom and additional comfort during the 350- to 400-mile days in the saddle on our ride from Colorado to California. Carrie found the TC’s passenger seat and backrest to be all-day comfortable, and she liked the comfort and convenience of the footboards, especially when climbing on and off the bike.

2022 BMW R 18 Transcontinental

Airflow over the TC’s tall windscreen went above my helmet, and Carrie appreciated the calm pocket of air with no turbulence. The top edge of the non-adjustable screen was in my line of sight, which was sometimes distracting during back-and-forth cornering. At the bottom edge of the TC’s fairing are adjustable air flaps that can be closed or opened to direct air into the cockpit. It also has non-adjustable wind deflectors mounted atop the highway bars, which were helpful when temps dropped as low as 40 degrees on Colorado’s Million Dollar Highway, but less so when we encountered triple-digit highs in the deserts of Arizona and Nevada.

Large and In Charge

To assist riders while piloting these machines, the cockpit is packed with data, functions, switches, and buttons. Behind the fairing are four analog gauges (speedo, tach, fuel, and power reserve) and an enormous 10.25-inch TFT color display, with different screens for vehicle info as well as music, phone, and navigation functions via a smartphone and the BMW Motorrad Connected app. BMW’s Multi-Controller wheel on the left grip makes menu navigation, volume control, and other functions easy, but the TFT’s hardened, glare-resistant screen isn’t touch-enabled.

2022 BMW R 18 Transcontinental

BMW partnered with Marshall to create a premium audio system for the R 18 B and TC, and the standard setup includes two 25-watt speakers in the front fairing. The Premium Package adds two 90-watt subwoofers in the lids of the top-loading saddlebags and brings total output up to 230 watts on the B. The Premium-equipped TC gets another pair of 25-watt speakers in the passenger backrest, for a total of 280 watts. The surround-sound audio pumps out the jams, and the subwoofers add serious bass.

One downside of the extra speakers is that they reduce storage capacity by 0.5 liter in each of the saddlebags and 1 liter inthe trunk. The saddlebags seem large on the outside, but their narrow interiors present some challenges with packing (BMW offers accessory drop-in liner bags that should make the process easier). The trunk has a spacious, carpet-lined interior with a charging port. Pop-up metal levers with positive actuation make the luggage easy to open, close, and latch even when filled to the brim, and the central locks add convenient security.

On the Road

The R 18s have three ride modes – Rock, Roll, and Rain – that alter throttle response, idle character, engine-drag torque control, and traction-control intervention. In Rock mode, they feel lumpy and shake a lot at idle to add some visceral theater, and throttle response is direct. But in Roll and Rain mode, the response feels duller and slow to respond. The single-plate dry clutch requires some slip when pulling away from stops on hills and riding up steep hairpins, but the 6-speed transmission shifts smoothly and the heel-toe shifter comes in handy.

2022 BMW R 18 Transcontinental

Like most heavyweight cruisers, the R 18 B/TC work best when they are short-shifted and kept in their peak torque range. Riding the TC day after day, it cruised smoothly in top gear and when maintaining steady throttle on flat stretches of road. Rolling on and off the gas while accelerating or negotiating curves and grades, however, sent a fair amount of vibration through the seat and grips that became tiresome after a while.

Despite the weight of the fairing on the handlebar, the R 18 B/TC steer with stability and confidence, though some effort is required. The massive brakes with BMW’s linked Full Integral ABS slow down the heavy bikes with authority, and the large brake and clutch levers are adjustable for reach. The R 18 and R 18 Classic have spoked wheels with tube-type tires, but the R 18 B/TC roll on cast wheels with tubeless tires, which is a real boon for roadside flat repairs.

Dynamic Cruise Control is standard on the B and TC, and, if necessary, it applies the brakes to slow the bikes on steep descents to maintain the set speed. Active Cruise Control, which is part of the Premium Package, uses radar sensors embedded in the front fairing that scan the lane in front of the bike when cruise control is activated. If a vehicle is detected in front of the bike, the system will automatically reduce speed to maintain a fixed distance. Using inputs from the lean-angle sensors, ACC also adjusts speed to assist with safer cornering. The system works well and isn’t affected by vehicles in adjacent lanes.

2022 BMW R 18 Transcontinental

Toward the Horizon

Given BMW’s extensive experience in the touring segment, it’s no surprise that it built fully featured, highly functional heavyweight touring bikes right out of the gate. Traditional cruisers, though, are as much about style as they are about substance, and it’s tricky to strike the ideal balance. The R 18 B and R 18 Transcontinental are good-looking motorcycles that caught the attention of many people we encountered at gas stations, restaurants, hotels, and national parks.

Cruiser buyers tend to be conservative. They’re wary of unconventional styling and will embrace high-tech features only if they don’t alter the look and feel of the motorcycle. BMW’s Big Boxer is a large-displacement air-cooled Twin, but its configuration is very different from a traditional V-Twin.

Likewise, there was no small amount of skepticism from the ADV crowd about Harley-Davidson building an adventure bike, a segment long dominated by BMW. But the Pan America 1250 proved itself to be highly capable, and Harley says it has become the best-selling ADV in the U.S.

For those interested in a heavyweight bagger or full-dress tourer with traditional styling, the R 18 B and R 18 Transcontinental are worthy choices

2022 BMW R 18 Transcontinental

2022 BMW R 18 B / Transcontinental Specs

Base Price: $21,945 / $24,995
Price as Tested: $28,420 (Premium & Select Packages, Galaxy Dust metallic/Titanium Silver 2 metallic) / $35,244 (Premium & Select Packages, First Edition Black Storm, Vance & Hines exhaust, Roland Sands Design accessories)
Website: bmwmotorcycles.com

ENGINE
Engine Type: Air-/oil-cooled, longitudinal opposed flat-Twin, OHV w/ 4 valves per cyl.
Displacement: 1,802cc (110ci)
Bore x Stroke: 1 x 100.0mm
Compression Ratio: 9.6:1
Valve Insp. Interval: 6,000 miles
Fuel Delivery: BMS-O EFI w/ 48mm throttle body
Lubrication System: Wet sump, 4.2 qt cap.
Transmission: 6-speed, hydraulically actuated single-plate dry slipper clutch
Final Drive: Shaft

CHASSIS
Frame: Tubular-steel double cradle w/ tubular-steel double-sided swingarm
Wheelbase: 66.7 in.
Rake/Trail: 27.3 degrees/7.2 in.
Seat Height: 28.3 in. / 29.1 in.
Suspension, Front: 49mm telescopic fork, no adj., 4.7 in. travel
Rear: Single cantilever shock, adj. for spring preload, 4.7-in. travel
Brakes, Front: Dual 300mm discs w/ 4-piston opposed calipers & ABS
Rear: Single cantilever shock, adj. for spring preload, 4.7-in. travel
Wheels, Front: Cast, 3.5 x 19 in.
Rear: Cast, 5.0 x 16 in.
Tires, Front: 120/70-B19
Rear: 180/65-B16
Wet Weight: 877 lbs. / 941 lbs. (claimed, base models)
Load Capacity: 512 lbs. / 448 lbs. (claimed, base models)
GVWR: 1,389 lbs.

PERFORMANCE
Horsepower: 80 hp @ 4,500 rpm (2021 R 18, rear-wheel dyno)
Torque: 109 lb-ft @ 2,900 rpm (2021 R 18, rear-wheel dyno)
Fuel Capacity: 6.3 gals.
Fuel Consumption: 42.5 mpg
Estimated Range: 268 miles

  • TAGS
  • BMW Motorcycles
  • BMW R 18 B
  • BMW R 18 Transcontinental
  • Cruiser Motorcycles
  • Touring Motorcycles

2022 BMW R 18 B and R 18 Transcontinental | First Look Review

2022 BMW R 18 R18 B Bagger Transcontinental review

When BMW unveiled the R 18 last year, a cruiser powered by a massive 1,802cc OHV air/oil-cooled 4-valve opposed Twin that’s the largest “boxer” engine the German company has ever produced, it was only a matter of time before touring versions were added to the lineup.

For 2022, BMW has announced the R 18 B “Bagger” and R 18 Transcontinental. Both are equipped with a handlebar-mounted fairing, a passenger seat, and locking hard saddlebags, and the Transcontinental adds a top trunk with an integrated passenger backrest.

Available this month, the 2022 BMW R 18 B has a base price of $21,495 and the 2022 BMW R 18 Transcontinental has a base price of $24,995. The standard R 18 and R 18 Classic remain in the lineup.

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2022 BMW R 18 R18 B Bagger Transcontinental review

The new R 18 B is equipped with a low windshield, a slim seat, and a matte black metallic engine finish. The R 18 Transcontinental has a taller windshield, wind deflectors, driving lights, heated seats, highway bars, and an engine finished in silver metallic.

Seat height is 28.3 inches on the R 18 B and 29.1 inches on the R 18 Transcontinental. Both have mid-mount controls, with footrests on the Bagger and rider and passenger footboards on the Transcontinental. Fuel capacity is a generous 6.3 gallons (up from 4.2 on the standard R 18).

The saddlebags offer 27 liters of storage in each side (26.5 liters with optional audio), and an additional storage compartment with charging for mobile phones is integrated into the fuel tank. The Transcontinental’s trunk holds 48 liters (47 liters with optional audio).

2022 BMW R 18 R18 B Bagger Transcontinental review

BMW gave the touring versions of the R 18 a streamliner-style fairing and sculpted saddlebags that complement the lines of the standard bike. Inspired by the 1930s-era R 5, the R 18 has a double-loop frame, a gloss nickel-plated universal driveshaft, classic housing for the rear-axle gearbox, and black paintwork with optional double pinstriping. The “Big Boxer” showcases the overhead pushrod guides on top of the cylinders, while the belt cover and the cylinder head covers echo the legendary R 5 engine’s styling.

As with BMW motorcycles of the past, the fork tubes are clad with a cover extending to the slider tubes in the form of contemporary stainless-steel fork sleeves. Newly designed, rearward-curving side covers blend with the elongated lines, combining with the handlebar-mounted front trim and round mirrors to give the R 18 B and R 18 Transcontinental a distinctive styling touch.

2022 BMW R 18 R18 B Bagger Transcontinental review

The R 18 B and R 18 Transcontinental have triple-disc brakes with BMW Motorrad Full Integral ABS. Standard equipment includes Dynamic Cruise Control, which maintains the preselected speed even when riding downhill and applies the brakes as needed to do so. Optional Active Cruise Control uses radar sensors to maintain distance from the vehicle in front even if speed changes, and it also adjusts speed during cornering.

Both models have full LED lighting, and the Adaptive Turning Light is optional. It uses a swivel function to point the low beam into corners according to banking angle, and it also adjusts according to load and ride height.

Behind the fairing are four analog gauges and a 10.25-inch TFT color display. The gauges include a speedometer, tachometer, fuel gauge, and a “Power Reserve” instrument adapted from the BMW Group’s Rolls-Royce Motor Cars brand. The TFT display allows a navigation map to be displayed in the instrument cluster via a smartphone and the BMW Motorrad Connected App, thus eliminating the need for any additional displays. The display can also be customized with various tiles such as My Motorcycle, Radio, Navigation, Media, Phone, and Settings. Vehicle functions such as Settings, Navigation, and Communication are operated using the Multicontroller wheel next to the left grip.

2022 BMW R 18 R18 B Bagger Transcontinental review

Other features include:

  • Keyless Ride
  • Riding modes: Rain, Roll, and Rock
  • Automatic Stability Control (switchable)
  • Engine drag torque control (MSR)
  • Hill Start Control
  • Reverse assist (optional)

The new R 18 B and R 18 Transcontinental are equipped with a standard sound system developed together with the British manufacturer Marshall featuring two 2-way loudspeakers, each with 25 watts output, integrated into the front fairing, black speaker grills, and white Marshall lettering.

2022 BMW R 18 R18 B Bagger Transcontinental review

Highlights of the audio system include:

  • Equalizer profiles – optimized listening profiles for a perfect audio experience
  • via the helmet: one profile (studio)
  • via loudspeakers: four profiles (bass-boost, treble-boost, voice, balanced)
  • Highly flexible sound architecture design options (treble/bass) with a very broad output spectrum (output range), even at high speeds
  • FM/AM band, HD radio and optional SiriusXM Satellite radio

The optional Marshall Gold Series Stage 1 equips the motorcycles adds a pair of 90-watt subwoofers in the front upper section of the side cases and a 180-watt amplifier.

The Marshall Gold Series Stage 2, available for the R 18 Transcontinental, includes five speakers (two in the fairing, subwoofers in the saddlebags, and a 2-way, 25-watt speaker in the front side section of the passenger backrest) and a 180-watt amplifier.

2022 BMW R 18 R18 B Bagger Transcontinental review

R 18 B and R 18 Transcontinental First Editions

At market launch, the new R 18 B and R 18 Transcontinental will be available in exclusive First Edition versions in addition to the standard models. These combine the classic R 18 look with equipment in exclusive paint and chrome.

Additional equipment extras include chrome components, Blackstorm metallic paint with elaborate double-pinstripes in Lightwhite echoes the bikes’ historical roots. Other highlights include special surface finishes, an embroidered seat and the inscription “First Edition” on the side cases.

First Edition features include:

  • Wheels in black, contrast milled (R 18 B)
  • Wheels in silver grey, contrast milled (R 18 Transcontinental)
  • Chrome clasps on cases with “First Edition” lettering
  • Chrome-plated handlebar fittings
  • Chrome-plated cylinder head covers and hero chest
  • Chrome-plated intake trim
  • White double pinstriping on fuel tank, fairing and trunks and cases
  • Chrome-plated brake calipers at the front (R 18 Transcontinental only)

Another component is the “First Edition” Welcome Box which is exclusively reserved for buyers of the “First Edition” and contains:

2022 BMW R 18 R18 B Bagger Transcontinental review

  • Box with picture of the engine on the lid
  • Historic fuel tank emblems (copper-colored lettering)
  • Historic slotted screws (copper-colored)
  • Working gloves
  • Assembly screwdriver (can also be used as a key ring)
  • “R 18 First Edition” cap
  • Leather belt with exclusive “R 18 First Edition” belt buckle
  • Book the history of BMW Motorrad

As with all BMW motorcycles, the R 18 B and R 18 Transcontinental will be available with an extensive range of options and accessories. We’ll get a chance to ride both bikes soon, so stay tuned for our review. To find a BMW Motorrad dealer near you, visit bmwmotorcycles.com.

  • TAGS
  • BMW Motorcycles
  • BMW R 18
  • Cruiser Motorcycles
  • Touring Motorcycles

2022 BMW R 18 B and R 18 Transcontinental | Top 10 Review

2022 BMW R18 R 18 B R18B Transcontinental Review

Last year, amid a global pandemic, BMW Motorrad introduced a motorcycle that is a very big deal for the company. With the introduction of the R 18, BMW entered the traditional cruiser segment, a distinctly American category that has long been dominated by Harley-Davidson.

Just as Harley-Davidson is known for V-Twins, BMW is known for horizontally opposed Twins called “boxers.” To compete in the world of heavyweight cruisers, there’s no replacement for displacement. BMW created what it calls the “Big Boxer” that displaces 1,802cc, or 110 cubic inches – much larger than the 1,254cc boxer in most of BMW’s R-series models like the R 1250 RT.

2022 BMW R18 R 18 B R18B Transcontinental Review

Soon after the standard R 18 came the R 18 Classic, which is equipped with a windshield and semi-soft saddlebags. For 2022, BMW has further expanded the lineup with two touring models, the R 18 B and R 18 Transcontinental. Both are equipped with a fork-mounted fairing, a full infotainment system, hard saddlebags, and other amenities. The Transcontinental also has a top trunk with an integrated passenger backrest.

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2022 BMW R18 R 18 B R18B Transcontinental Review

BMW invited Rider to ride both models at their U.S. press launch in Denver, Colorado. And after the one-day press ride, I spent four days riding an R 18 Transcontinental (TC) more than 1,500 miles through five states with my wife as a passenger and the luggage packed full of gear.

2022 BMW R18 R 18 B R18B Transcontinental Review

We’ll have an in-depth road test review soon. Here are our top 10 highlights of the new bikes.

1. They Rock better than they Roll

2022 BMW R18 R 18 B R18B Transcontinental Review

BMW’s “Big Boxer” makes a claimed 91 horsepower and 116 lb-ft of torque at the crank. When we put the R 18 on Jett Tuning’s dyno late last year, its shaft-driven rear wheel spun the heavy drum to the tune of 80 horsepower at 4,500 rpm and 109 lb-ft of torque at 2,900 rpm, which is about what you’d expect after accounting for power loss through the drivetrain.

The R 18s have three ride modes – Rock, Roll, and Rain – that alter throttle response, idle character, engine-drag torque control, and traction control intervention. In Rock mode, the R 18s feel lumpy and shake a lot at idle, and their throttle response is direct. But in Roll and Rain mode the bikes feel dull and lifeless, like a middle-aged couple nodding off at an AC/DC concert.

2. Who doesn’t like big jugs?

2022 BMW R18 R 18 B R18B Transcontinental Review

Ahem. Get your mind out of the gutter. We’re talking about cylinders here. With 901cc jugs sticking out of both sides of the bike, there’s no getting around the size of those things. They are a distinctive styling element, with prominent cooling fins and chrome pushrod tubes.

Even on really hot days – when riding across northern Arizona and southern Nevada, Carrie and I dealt with temps ranging from the high 90s to 113 degrees – the cylinders don’t put out excessive heat felt by the rider and passenger, nor do the exhaust pipes. But they do trap the rider’s legs behind the cylinders, limiting options to stretch out during long stints in the saddle.

2022 BMW R18 R 18 B R18B Transcontinental Review

The cylinders are too wide for highway pegs, so BMW offers accessory chrome-plated leg rests so riders can stretch their stems with calves atop the cylinders, as shown in the photo above. The leg rests weren’t available on the press ride or our ride-away. I tried resting my jean-clad legs atop the cylinders, but that lasted about half a second because those big jugs get hot to the touch. The TC has highway bars in front of the cylinders and my legs are long enough that I was able to put my heels on them and mostly straighten out my knees.

3. Leave the riding to us

2022 BMW R18 R 18 B R18B Transcontinental Review

Thanks to the proliferation of throttle-by-wire, cruise control has become a common feature on all sorts of motorcycles, even sportbikes. It’s especially helpful on long, multi-day rides when even moderate tension in the rider’s arm while maintaining steady throttle can lead to sore wrists and achy shoulders.

On the R 18 B and Transcontinental, BMW takes things a step further with optional Active Cruise Control (ACC). Embedded in their front fairings are radar sensors that scan the lane in front of the bike when cruise control is activated. If a vehicle is detected in front of the bike, the system will automatically reduce speed to maintain a fixed distance (both speed and distance are adjustable). Using inputs from the lean-angle sensors, ACC will also adjust speed to assist with safer cornering.

ACC works really well, and it isn’t affected by vehicles in adjacent lanes. This is one of those features you don’t think you need or want until you use it.

4. My, what a big TFT you have!

2022 BMW R18 R 18 B R18B Transcontinental Review

Most premium motorcycles are equipped with TFT (thin film transistor) instrument displays that offer nearly infinite variation for graphics, color, animation, etc. BMW has offered TFTs on some of its models for several years, but none approach the size of the TFT embedded in the fairing on the R 18 B/TC. It measures 10.25 inches on the diagonal, which is at least a couple of inches more than the largest TFT we’ve seen on other bikes. The thing is like a billboard, and its default background is a copper-colored illustration of the Big Boxer.

Using BMW’s proprietary Multi-Controller wheel on the left grip, navigating through menus is a breeze and keeps the number of buttons to a minimum. But, unlike the Indian’s Ride Command system, the hardened, glare-resistant glass screen isn’t touch-enabled.

5. If it’s too loud, you’re too old

2022 BMW R18 R 18 B R18B Transcontinental Review

If you’ve seen amps on stages or stood next to huge stacks at a rock concert, then you’re familiar with the cursive script of the Marshall logo. In the movie “Spinal Tap,” there’s even a Marshall amp that goes to 11. BMW partnered with Marshall to create an audio system for the R 18 B and TC, and it rocks.

2022 BMW R18 R 18 B R18B Transcontinental Review

The standard setup has two 25-watt speakers embedded in the front fairing. The Premium Package on the R 18 B upgrades to the Marshall Gold Series Stage 1, which adds two 90-watt subwoofers in the lids of the top-loading saddlebags (eliminating half a liter of storage capacity) and brings total output up to 230 watts. The Premium-equipped R 18 TC gets the Marshall Gold Series Stage 2, which adds yet another pair of 25-watt speakers to the passenger backrest, for a total of 280 watts.

6. Get out of my way

2022 BMW R18 R 18 B R18B Transcontinental Review

To complement the classic lines of the R 18, the fork-mounted fairing has a streamliner shape that tapers at the sides, providing wind protection for the rider’s hands. There’s a single round headlight that uses LEDs for low and high beams, and there’s an optional Adaptive Turning Light that swivels +/- 35 degrees to illuminate the inside of curves during cornering.

The fairing parts the wind smoothly, though airflow over the R 18 B’s short windscreen hits the rider’s helmet while airflow over the R 18 TC’s tall windscreen goes over the rider’s head. During our multi-day ride, my wife said she enjoyed the calm pocket of air and never dealt with helmet buffeting like she has on some touring bikes.

2022 BMW R18 R 18 B R18B Transcontinental Review

Neither windscreen offers height adjustment, which is disappointing, especially on such premium machines. The top edge of the TC’s screen was right in my line of sight, which was distracting during back-and-forth cornering in the Rocky Mountains. While the tall screen provided welcome protection from cold wind when temps dropped into the 40s on Colorado’s Million Dollar Highway (U.S. Route 550), I wished I could lower it when the mercury rose into triple digits several hours later in northern Arizona.

7. Galaxy Dust metallic would have made Prince jealous

2022 BMW R18 R 18 B R18B Transcontinental Review

Offering an iridescent paint scheme that changes from purple to blue depending on how the light hits it seems a little out there for BMW. And in the studio photos, it looks garish. But in person Galaxy Dust metallic it looks undeniably cool, and the color variations are more subtle than the photos suggest. The colors are darker, the metal flake really pops in bright sunlight, and the Titanium Silver 2 metallic on the gas tank and fairing adds nice contrast.

2022 BMW R18 R 18 B R18B Transcontinental Review

Such a unique, factory-custom paint job doesn’t come cheap. It will set you back $2,400.

If it were possible to make a sequel to “Purple Rain,” an R 18 B in Galaxy Dust metallic / Titanium Silver 2 metallic with a custom his-and-hers seat and sissy bar would be Prince’s motorcycle of choice.

2022 BMW R18 R 18 B R18B Transcontinental Review

8. Two peas in a pod

2022 BMW R18 R 18 B R18B Transcontinental Review

For long-haul touring motorcycles, rider and passenger comfort is critically important. Carrie and I rode more than 1,500 miles on the R 18 Transcontinental over four days, averaging nearly 400 miles per day. Except for the final day on I-15 through the Mojave Desert, we logged most of our miles on scenic roads full of hairpins, high-mountain passes, and steep grades.

As mentioned above, the cylinders of the Big Boxer limited my ability to move my legs around during long stints in the saddle. But the seat and riding position were comfortable, and the footboards allowed me to move my feet around to adjust the position of my hips and knees.

2022 BMW R18 R 18 B R18B Transcontinental Review

Carrie’s first-ever ride on a motorcycle was on a Honda Gold Wing back in 2009, and she’s measured every passenger seat and backrest since against that experience. With a low rider seat height of 29.1 inches on the TC and a passenger seat just a few inches higher, Carrie, who has short legs, found it easy to climb on and off the bike, aided in part by the passenger footboards. And once aboard, she found the seat to be all-day, day-after-day comfortable and the wrap-around backrest to be reassuring.

2022 BMW R18 R 18 B R18B Transcontinental Review

2022 BMW R18 R 18 B R18B Transcontinental Review

9. A place for my stuff

2022 BMW R18 R 18 B R18B Transcontinental Review

As George Carlin once said, “That’s all you need in life, a little place for your stuff.”

The top-loading saddlebags on the R 18 B and TC offer 27 liters of storage each, or 26.5 liters with the Marshall subwoofers installed in the lids. Styling-wise, the bags look great. Function-wise, they are fairly narrow, which presents some challenges with packing (BMW offers accessory drop-in liner bags that should make the process easier). But they open and close easily, with pop-up levers and central locks. The top trunk on the TC holds 48 liters (47 liters with optional audio), and it is spacious and easy to open/close/latch even when filled to the brim.

2022 BMW R18 R 18 B R18B Transcontinental Review

In the top of the 6.3-gallon fuel tank is a waterproof compartment for a smartphone. There’s a USB socket for charging and connecting the phone to the bike (navigation is provided via the free BMW Connected app). And since smartphones get hot, the compartment is ventilated with an electric fan. But the smartphone compartment does not lock, so riders must remember to take their phones with them when they park their bike. How else would you check Instagram?

10. Heavy is as heavy does

2022 BMW R18 R 18 B R18B Transcontinental Review

Heavyweight cruisers come by that description honestly. The 2021 Indian Roadmaster Limited we tested weighed 895 pounds. The 2020 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Limited we tested weighed 922 pounds. The 2022 BMW R 18 B weighs 877 pounds and the R 18 Transcontinental weighs 941 pounds, and that’s before you add the Premium Package and other options/accessories. Part of that major poundage comes from the Big Boxer and its 6-speed gearbox, which weighs 244 pounds – about 35 pounds more than a Honda Grom.

2022 BMW R18 R 18 B R18B Transcontinental Review

Greg’s Gear:
Helmet: HJC RPHA 90S
Jacket: Vanson Stormer
Gloves: Highway 21 Trigger
Pants: Fly Racing Resistance Jeans
Boots: Sidi Gavia Gore-Tex

BMW beefed up the R 18 frame to accommodate the added weight of the fairing, saddlebags, and trunk. Total permitted weight is 1,389 pounds, which translates to a load capacity of 512 pounds on the R 18 B and 448 pounds on the R 18 Transcontinental. Compared to the standard R 18, the B and TC also have a shorter wheelbase (66.7 inches, down from 68.1) and sharper rake (27.3 degrees, down from 32.7 degrees) but more trail (7.2 inches, up from 5.9). Even though the B and TC are heavier, they handle better.

2022 BMW R18 R 18 B R18B Transcontinental Review

Like most touring bikes, you mostly notice the weight when you lift it off the sidestand or move it around a parking lot or garage. Fortunately, our test bike has the optional reverse gear installed, which helped when moving the bike around on an incline. Out on the road, the heavy bikes trundle along just fine. And when the road gets windy, they handle well within the limits of other heavyweight touring cruisers.

We’ll post our full review soon, so stay tuned!

2022 BMW R18 R 18 B R18B Transcontinental Review

2022 BMW R 18 B / R 18 Transcontinental Specs

Base Price: $21,945 / $24,995
Price as Tested: $29,065 / $31,695
Website: bmwmotorcycles.com
Engine Type: Air/oil-cooled, longitudinal opposed flat Twin, OHV w/ 4 valves per cyl.
Displacement: 1,802cc (110ci)
Bore x Stroke: 107.1 x 100.0mm
Horsepower: 91 hp @ 4,750 rpm (claimed, at the crank)
Torque: 116 lb-ft @ 3,000 rpm (claimed, at the crank)
Transmission: 6-speed, hydraulically actuated single-plate dry slipper clutch
Final Drive: Shaft
Wheelbase: 66.7 in.
Rake/Trail: 27.3 degrees/7.2 in.
Seat Height: 28.3 in. / 29.1 in.
Wet Weight: 877 lbs. / 941 lbs. (base models)
Fuel Capacity: 6.3 gals.
Fuel Consumption: 42.5 mpg (R 18 Transcontinental, as tested)
Estimated Range: 268 miles (R 18 Transcontinental, as tested)

  • TAGS
  • BMW Motorcycles
  • BMW R 18
  • BMW R 18 B
  • BMW R 18 Transcontinental
  • Cruiser Motorcycles
  • Touring Motorcycles

2022 BMW R 18 Transcontinental Review [21 Fast Facts For Touring]

When BMW introduced the BMW R 18 cruiser, the German brand hinted that more variations would arrive sooner rather than later. It took just a year for the R 18 family to grow to four members—three of them equipped with bags and ready to go touring. The flagship model is the 2022 BMW R 18 Transcontinental fully dressed tourer. We put on our Sunday best and went on some long rides, though we didn’t quite go coast-to-coast yet.

2022 BMW R 18 Transcontinental Review: For Sale

  1. BMW didn’t take many shortcuts when turning the standard R 18’s chassis into the Transcontinental. The R 18 Transcontinental is more than an R 18 with a fairing, bags, and a top case. BMW gave the Transcon a new frame and a 19-inch front wheel, giving the dresser 28.3 degrees of rake and a stability-enhancing 7.2 inches of trail. To keep the Transcontinental from becoming too cumbersome to ride in anything but a straight line, the wheelbase was tightened up by 1.5 inches to 68.2 inches. The new frame also allowed for a new gas tank that holds a rangy 6.3 gallons—an increase of over two gallons compared to the urban-friendly R 18. The Big Boxer motor is unchanged, though it does get a less flamboyant muffler.
  1. In the transformation of the R 18 into the Transcontinental, the platform gains 181 pounds—and that’s before you add cargo and a passenger. The Big Boxer’s 116 ft/lbs of torque at 3000 rpm make short work of the extra poundage, though the modest 91-horsepower peak at 4750 rpm means the motor runs out of puff at high speeds.
  1. Starting up the Big Boxer requires your attention. When those 901cc combustion chambers fire up and the gearbox is in neutral, it throws the R 18 to the side demonstratively. I haven’t tried it because I don’t want to drop it, but if you pushed the start button and didn’t have your hands on the grips, you might find the motorcycle and you on the ground—especially if your focus is elsewhere. However, when you’re ready for it, it’s an exhilarating experience.

2022 BMW R 18 Transcontinental Review: Specs

  1. The R 18 motor has three modes, but it needs only two of them. As with the other R 18s, you get the focus-group titled Rock, Roll, and Rain modes. However, the R 18 Transcontinental is no hotrod, and the Rock mode doesn’t rock much harder than a Gayle playlist. When you back it down to Roll, the motor starts to feel lazy, and there’s an increase in the intervention of various traction control functions. Rain mode behaves as you’d expect, and you want everything padded down if the pavement is wet.
  1. The 2022 BMW R 18 Transcontinental’s Big Boxer is not happy at speeds we prefer for long-distance touring. When we can make time on long, empty highways, we ramp up the velocity. Once you hit 80 mph on the Transcon, the Big Boxer starts intruding on the fun. Vibration invades the grips and floorboards, spreading to the seat at 85 mph. While you can ride for a few minutes at those speeds—BMW says the Transcon’s top speed fully loaded is 99 mph—you won’t want to spend much time going that fast. Below 80 mph, the vibe of the horizontally opposed twin is pleasant, so you can ignore this Fast Fact if high speeds aren’t on your to-do list.
  1. The fairing offers adjustable wind protection. There are a couple of two-position wind deflectors below the fairing edge on either side, and they make a huge difference at speed. In the open position, they’re great around town or at casual highway speeds, adding some enjoyable airflow. However, at about 60 mph, the wind sweeps up from below and causes turbulence behind the fairing, and air rushes up into your full-face helmet at an uncomfortable rate. There is a fix—move the wings to the deflecting position. It makes a huge difference in airflow, completely calming things down in the cockpit. They’re easily adjustable by hand, and experienced riders can flick them back and forth while riding.

2022 BMW R 18 Transcontinental Review: MSRP

  1. The windscreen height is fixed. At 5-foot 10-inches, I have to sit bolt upright to see over the screen, and it is always prominently in my field of view. On long rides, I can get a little slouchy, and looking through the windscreen alerts me to that. Fortunately, if you don’t like the windscreen’s height, BMW has various screen options.
  1. Backroads are the natural habitat of the Transcontinental. With its 941 pounds carried low, handling is quite good. The small floorboards don’t touch down inordinately early, so you can ride it as you would a fully dressed cruiser-based tourer. The leverage of the wide, high handlebar makes riding the R 18 Transcontinental a low-effort proposition once underway.
  1. Turn-in with the 19-inch wheel is natural. The 120mm Bridgestone Battlecruise H50 puts plenty of rubber on the road for confident turning. It is improbable that you’ll light up the rear tire, and there is more than enough edge grip for the cornering clearance provided.

2022 BMW R 18 Transcontinental Review: Price

  1. The suspension knocks off the rough edges without being vague. Handling a half-ton of motorcycle in motion is a thankless job, yet the 4.7 inches of travel at both ends get the mission accomplished. There are no damping adjustments, and the shock’s spring preload is automatically set. The Transcontinental’s shock is longer-travel than the standard R 18, which gives it more cornering clearance while it does a superior job of minimizing road irregularities.
  1. You can’t go touring without being comfortable, and the Transcontinental is a cush ride. The ergonomics feel somewhat odd at first if you’re not familiar with high bars. However, once you settle in, it all works. The cupped seat offers some lower back support that helps on longer stints in the saddle, with just the right foam density. BMW offers both a taller and shorter seat, for those who want to change the rider triangle and distance to the pavement.
  1. The issue of legroom on a boxer will never be settled. V-twin adherents will bemoan the two jugs jutting from the cases, which prevent you from stretching out without tapping into your inner contortionist. Everyone’s different, and I found the movement available on the abbreviated floorboards to be adequate to keep my joints happy, though mine are in pretty good condition—your body’s mileage may vary. Occasionally, I’ll put my leg out and hold it there for a few seconds, which does the trick for me. BMW offers highway peg options if you don’t mind putting your boots even closer to the valve covers.

2022 BMW R 18 Transcontinental Review: Touring Motorcycle

  1. With floorboards comes heel/toe shifting. BMW wants you to relax on the Transcon, and that includes slowing down the shifting process. Although downshifts are straightforward, the heel-actuated upshifts require a very deliberate movement of your foot—this is not a setup for someone with a limited range of motion in the ankle. Depending on the size and shape of your boot, you can upshift by nudging the front lever. However, it’s not as sure as the heel shifting, so we stuck with the heel. Fortunately, the R 18’s transmission is smooth, and we never missed a shift in either direction.
  1. The Transcontinental is gentle on the brakes and clutch. Engagement is very soft for the front and rear brakes, while the clutch engages smoothly over a good range, making the Transcon pleasant to ride. The front brakes ramp up progressively, while the somewhat awkward rear brake pedal never feels as strong as you would expect. Those huge master cylinders on the handlebar make the clutch and hand brake low-effort for an engine with plentiful torque.
  1. When it comes time for that long trip, there is a moderate amount of storage. The side bags can take on 27 liters each, while the top box has a capacity of 48 liters, though you can only fit one helmet in at a time—okay, maybe two half-helmets. The three cases latch and lock securely, with remote locking an option.

2022 BMW R 18 Transcontinental Review: Full Dresser

  1. Our test 2022 BMW R 18 Transcontinental had two Packages installed—Premium and Select. Premium adds $3225 to the Transcontinental’s $24,995 MSRP, and Select tacks on another $950. Add in $500 for the Manhattan Metallic Matte paint, and our test bike’s MSRP is $29,670.
  1. The Premium Package has one essential feature, along with some worth-having goodies. You get Reverse Assist, which can be a big deal if you are forced to park with the nose downhill. Radar-enhanced active cruise control is a nice touch, though not something we often rely on. We do like hill start assist, and BMW integrates it effectively. The Premium Package upgrades the headlights—DLRs and cornering-aware lighting—which is helpful if you ride after dark. We weren’t impressed with the Marshall Gold Series 2 six-speaker audio system. It doesn’t sound good when turned up. Because the bar-mounted master cylinders sit right in front of the fairing speakers, this feature doesn’t give the feeling of being thoughtfully integrated. Whether this is all worth $3225 is up to you.
  1. The Select Package focuses on security. You get a central locking system and locking gas cap, plus an alarm system. Seemingly out of place, yet welcome, is the tire pressure monitoring system—a valuable safety feature.

2022 BMW R 18 Transcontinental Review: Owner

  1. Helping the rider manage all the 2022 BMW R Transcontinental’s features is a stunning widescreen 10.25-inch TFT display and four round analog-style dials. An array of buttons on the left, plus BMW’s proprietary Multi-Controller dial, make the daunting job of navigating through the screens and options reasonably intuitive. The ability to monitor the Transcon’s systems is impressive. Running navigation and personal audio requires pairing your smartphone to the bike via Bluetooth. Conveniently, there’s a compartment on the tank for your phone with a USB-C power port.
  1. The far-right analog clock has the oddest job in motorcycling—monitoring the motor power output, so you know how much you have in reserve. Someone will have to convince me that the Power Reserve indicator is anything other than a gimmick. According to the Transcon’s owner’s manual, “The power reserve indicator helps the rider estimate acceleration capability or proceed with gear selection to the best possible effect, for example when riding on mountain roads.” If you’re relying on that to make critical decisions, you probably need more seat time.
  1. BMW puts the 2022 BMW R 18 Transcontinental in its Heritage range, rather than including it in its Tour lineup. That’s telling. If you’re serious about long-distance touring on a BMW, look to the K 1600 line and the R 1250 RT. Despite its name, the Transcontinental is more about lower-speed regional touring, where style and comfort are your priorities.

Note: Action photos by Kevin Wing are of the First Edition, which was part of this extended test of the R 18 Transcontinental

Static photos by Don Williams

RIDING STYLE

  • Helmet: Shoei Neotec II
  • Sunglasses: Ray-Ban Wayfarer II
  • Jacket: The Idol by Cortech
  • Gloves: Tourmaster Deerskin
  • Jeans: The Ventura by Cortech
  • Boots: The Executive by Cortech

2022 BMW R 18 Transcontinental Specs

ENGINE

  • Type: Opposed twin
  • Displacement: 1802cc
  • Bore x stroke: 107.1 x 100mm
  • Maximum power: 91 horsepower @ 4750 rpm
  • Maximum torque: 116 ft-lbs @ 3000 rpm
  • Maximum speed: 111 mph (99 mph fully loaded)
  • Compression ratio: 9.6:1
  • Valvetrain: Pushrod-actuated OHV w/ two camshafts; 4 vpc
  • Cooling: Air and oil
  • Transmission: 6-speed (w/ optional reverse)
  • Clutch: Single-disc dry w/ slipper function
  • Final drive: Shaft

CHASSIS

  • Frame: Steel-tube double-loop
  • Front suspension; travel: Non-adjustable 49mm fork; 4.7 inches
  • Rear suspension; travel: Cantilevered spring-preload adjustable shock; 4.7 inches
  • Wheels: Cast aluminum
  • Front wheel: 19 x 3.5
  • Rear wheel: 16 x 5.0
  • Tires: Bridgestone Battlecruise H50
  • Front tire: 120/70 x 19
  • Rear tire: 180/65 x 16
  • Front brake: 300mm discs w/ 4-piston calipers
  • Rear brake: 300mm disc w/ 4-piston caliper
  • ABS: BMW Motorrad Full Integral

DIMENSIONS and CAPACITIES

  • Wheelbase: 66.7 inches
  • Rake: 27.3 degrees
  • Trail: 7.2 inches
  • Seat height: 29.1 inches
  • Fuel capacity: 6.3 gallons
  • Curb weight: 941 pounds

COLORS

  • Black Storm Metallic
  • Manhattan Metallic Matte (+$500)
  • Option 719 Galaxy Dust Metallic/Titanium Silver 2 Metallic (+$2400)
  • First Edition (included in First Edition Package)

2022 BMW R 18 Transcontinental Base Price: $24,995 MSRP

As tested w/ Select ($950) and Premium ($3225) Packages, plus Manhattan Metallic Matte paint ($500): $29,670 MSRP

2022 BMW R 18 Transcontinental Review Photo Gallery

  • TAGS
  • 2022 BMWs
  • BMW R 18
  • BMW R 18 Transcontinental

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With 50 years of riding experience, Don Williams is a fan of all kinds of motorcycles. He enjoys sport bikes, cruisers, dirt bikes, touring bikes, adventure bikes, dual sport bikes, and rideable customs. Ask Don what his favorite bike is and he will tell you, «Whatever bike I’m on.»

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2024 H-D Hydraglide Revival + Bad Training Techniques
by Motos and Friends by Ultimate Motorcycle

This week, Editors Don Williams and Nic de Sena discuss the latest addition to the Harley Icons Collection, the 2024 Harley-Davidson Hydraglide Revival. This beautiful new softail commemorates the 75th anniversary of the hydraulic telescopic fork debuting on a Harley-Davidson. Don rode the Hydraglide Revival with his usual enthusiasm for all of these Icons Collection bikes, and of course he answers the big question: does the Hydraglide ride as beautifully as it looks?

Fair warning: The second segment this week is going to be controversial. Were you taught NOT to cover the brakes when riding? Were you taught NOT to brake on entry into a corner? Were you ‘coached out’ of new rider training because you didn’t grasp it quickly enough?

It seems that although new rider training is excellent in many regards, there are certain fundamentals being taught that are just plain wrong. At best, they’re causing recently new riders to leave the sport—and at worst, these incorrect fundamentals are costing lives.

This episode, Associate Editor Teejay Adams chats with several people who recently attended new rider training to get their take. The main discussion is led by Nick Ienatsch of Yamaha Champions Riding School, one of the several passionate voices trying to get things changed.

Whether you think you’ve been taught correctly or incorrectly, this segment will be of interest to you. We need training groups and indeed, the industry itself to get behind this movement to evolve and improve these significant points. We need those with a passion to ride motorcycles to stick with it, and not get put off and leave the sport. If you agree, please leave a comment on our social media or message us directly. Let’s get the word out and make a positive change!

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