The transmetal technology allows the Transformers to withstand and actually absorb raw energon radiation and exist in a non-beast mode in these environments without issue. In addition, transmetals can utilize a "vehicle" mode, such as wheeled (Rattrap, Tarantulas and Rampage) or flight (Megatron, Cheetor, Optimus Primal and Depth Charge). Although not explicitly stated in the cartoons or comics, it's hinted at in the toy line's tech specs that the quantum surge's transmetalization process essentially turned the Transformers 'inside out', making their alternate modes the one that is largely mechanical, instead of the other way around as normal. This can be born out by the fact that some Transmetals have organic elements in their robot mode despite having none visible in beast mode (Cheetor and Primal most prominently). Another added benefit was that the transmetal Transformers would become essentially invisible to Vok sensors - something Megatron used to his advantage when he tried to claim one of their ships.
Also of note was the fact that that in the animated series, several of the Maximals and Predacons weren't changed into transmetals by the quantum surge, although they did have transmetal toys. While their lack of transmetalized forms in the cartoon was explained for a few characters (specifically, Rhinox, Dinobot and Waspinator, who were in CR chambers recuperating from damage and Scorponok and Terrorsaur, who fell into a lava pool, presumably dying during their transmetallizations), the others weren't (Blackarachnia, Airazor, Inferno and Tigatron); however as these characters were all introduced as being 'born' from stasis pods who had landed on Earth prior to the wave, it is assumed by fans that this lent them protection from the wave. Also, although Scorponok is shown being affected by the transmetal wave, he does not receive a transmetal action figure despiting Terrorsaur who had a Transmetal action figure released, not including a premium offered by McDonald's in Happy Meals the following summer.
In the first part of the episode Other Visits, after the Maximals and Predacons were hit by an energon wave, the Transformers were knocked out, and in the second part, the regular ones were knocked offline due to energon buildup, while the transmetals, Silverbolt and Quickstrike were unaffected by the wave. This could mean one of two things: either Silverbolt and Quickstrike are partially transmetals (not completely as they feature organic elements in their beast modes as well as their robot modes), or the Fuzors (the whole faction) are partially transmetal.
Although their toys packaging were marketed as transmetal IIs, Tigerhawk and Megatron's new dragon form were not the same as other transmetal IIs in the television series; they did not use the Vok's Transmetal Driver to obtain their enhanced transmetal forms like the other transmetal II characters in the series. Tigerhawk became a transmetal II because of direct contact with the Vok. Megatron on the other hand received his body in the same way as Optimal Optimus—by taking a second spark into his body.
In IDW Publishing's mini-series Beast Wars: The Gathering some of the protoforms discovered had been turned into transmetal IIs because of interference from the quantum wave responsible for the original transmetals, implying that the Transmetal Driver is not the only way of obtaining a transmetal II body. According to the bios that came with some of the toys many more transmetal IIs were created by Megatron's cloning experiments - although no such origins appeared for these characters in the comics.