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Over this last weekend, I got to experience the world-famous gathering of motorcycle enthusiasts in western South Dakota, the cultural phenomenon known as the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. I have never seen so many motorcycles in one place, and while I don’t know the exact count for this year’s event, previous years have seen over 500,000 people in attendance. Despite the large crowds, everyone was respectful of each other’s space, motorcycle, and even their choice of clothing or lack thereof.
BMW graciously provided my ride for the trip. They allowed me time on both the new R 18 Bagger and the new R 18 Transcontinental. Riding such well-built machines provides true riding joy, with surprisingly supple suspension and a very comfortable riding position. At 5’7″ and 150 pounds, I found the two motorcycles very pleasing, and the reviews from other riders, who were of different shapes and sizes, came back positive for the riding comfort. BMW includes floorboards and a heel/toe shifter which I found very enjoyable to use and makes longer rides more pleasant. The new Marshall audio system made it easy to listen to music while riding.
Both bikes are designed for longer journeys, with the R18 Bagger having a sleeker look and two saddlebags. As the name suggests, the Transcontinental provides additional storage space with a large top case featuring a built-in backrest for your passenger and more wind protection from the taller windscreen. Both bikes flowed beautifully through the turns of South Dakota, and I found the bike’s 116 lb-ft of torque, available at just 3,000 RPM, made accelerating almost effortless. If you have any questions, please give us a call. I’m also very appreciative to BMW for listening to the input provided by their BMW Motorcycle dealerships.
My journey to Sturgis was a blast. I stayed at the Cambria hotel in Rapid City. On Friday, I enjoyed a classic American-style lunch on Main Street in Sturgis, then had dinner at the Deadwood Grill. Saturday morning was when we got the chance to try the new R18 Bagger. Our destination was Mount Rushmore, so we headed out of Sturgis on the I-90. With the beautiful scent of South Dakota Pine trees in the air, we stopped for lunch at the Pasta Corral in Silver City. As we approached Mount Rushmore, we rounded the corner and it was a beautiful site to see as it suddenly appeared on the right. All I could think was: “America the Beautiful!”. On the way back to Sturgis, we took the I-90, which gave me a great feel for how the R18 handled highway riding, followed by all the twists and turns we could handle. The R18 ate it all up. I grabbed dinner with three other BMW riders at the Broken Spoke Saloon, where clothing turned out to be optional. Talk about an eye-opener! After dinner, we headed over to the Buffalo Chip to meet up with our buddy Teach McNeil and watched his stunt show. Many riders were partaking in the tradition of killing their rear tires, and the air was permeated with the aroma of burnt tires, oil, and weed. This is where the Sturgis party happens.
Around 11 p.m, we left Chip and took the shortest route to the hotel. The gravel route, usually a five-mile ride toward Fort Meade, meant we avoided the inevitable traffic jam on Sturgis’ Main Street, which can take up to two hours to travel the 5 miles. On Sunday morning, I hopped back on I-90 to the Newark Airport, which meant returning to work on Tuesday. Bummer.
Overall, I found the vibe at Sturgis to be super chill, everyone getting along with one another. And if you wanted to stay away from people, there was plenty of space outside.
The 2022 BMW R 18 B is perfect for the rider looking for a stylish, powerful motorcycle with enough storage for longer journeys.
The 2022 BMW R18 Transcontinental is ideal for those who want to take long journeys. The standard saddlebags and top case let you bring plenty of stuff, and the larger windshield and backrest built into the full case make long trips more comfortable.
If you’re looking for a comfortable and exciting cruiser style motorcycle, visit us at Hermy’s BMW & Triumph Motorcycles. Our BMW Motorcycle dealership is located in Port Clinton, PA, and we have an impressive new and used motorcycle inventory. Stop in and see the new R18 Bagger and R18 Transcontinental today!
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