BMW motorbikes...all experiences welcomed


Jul 24, 2005
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
Just on the verge of plumping for a '07 reg R1200GS. Joined the MB owners club/forum and got regailed with stories of crap finish quality and recall lists longer than my arm, so am withdrawing my horns again a bit. Shame because the big GS has always tempted me since I test rode an R1500GS ten years ago or so.

I want one because it's comfy for the old and lanky

and should last

and should be enough fun for the likes of me.

BUT I can get a 1 year old Triumph tiger 800 for the same money, with apparently fewer problems than the BM's are having?

So simply canvassing opinions please.

OH, if you are tall and have ridden one, how does the screen do at wind blast protection?




Wammer Plus
Wammer Plus
Jul 20, 2005
HiFi Trade?
  1. Yes
Mate of mine had an R1150 GS, which he bought off the chap that used to play the desk sergeant in The Bill. It was low mileage, but a year or so out of warranty. The first time he had it serviced they found metal filings on the sump plug, and told him it needed a new engine!

After a lot of letter writing he finally managed to get BMW to cough up at least part of the cost of getting the engine replaced, but the bike was off the road for about 6 months.

He went back to Harleys.


biker boy

Jan 1, 2008
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
John, I have owned BMW bikes since 1976, first one was a new R60/6 never missed a beat in 40k miles, followed by R90/6 very minor corrosion problems used for 20k, then followed by RS1100 RS SE this did 60k and looked as new when I traded it in for a RS1100 S, the final bike was a K1200S the best BMW I ever owned brilliant ride blisteringly fast. I have always bought from main BMW dealers and have never had anything but faultless service. When Lisa lost her leg she asked me to give up bikes which I did but still have hankerings.

In terms of flexibility in terms of ride hight have a look at a K1200R,,1260_159980100__,00.html?currentCh=_V0IxMDU4NDAxNlpOMTc0MzM=


Jason P

Aug 7, 2009
I've an 1150 GS Adventure that I love. Built well, goes well, has amazing presence on the road. Can do most things fine. Handles better than it should have any right to given its size, but doesn't do twattish speeds so less likely to get pulled. I think build quality has got worse over the years, the early GSs were great, my friends 1200 less so - he works hard to keep it tip-top. The 1200 is definitely quicker than the 1150 but I'm not convinced it means much in real world riding. Mech wise there are a few gotchas but nothing major. The UKGSER forum is a great resource. Kind like the 'Wam for bikes...

I'm probably going to swap it for a Harley in the not too distant though... Got hooked on them after hiring one on holiday, and the missus loves the pillion on them. She's less keen on the 1150...



Nov 17, 2006
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
BMW's? Had loads of 'em, in fact I've run my own BMW forum for 'S' Boxers for nearly 13 years. Have covered well in excess of 120k miles on various flavours of them (including one 1150GS) over the years so got plenty of experience both good and bad.

As Jason rightly says, the finish - and reliability - has been going down for some time now. The 'Hex-head' Boxers (ie the 1200's) aren't as solid as the previous Oilheads (1100/1150) and have suffered due to BMW's attempts to shed weight from the design. Some pretty horrendous transmission failures including blown rear bevel drives. Some bikes have been absolute dogs, others have gone onto 100k+ without trouble. Search deep enough and you'll find bad experiences from pretty much every make of bike though. BMW sold thousands of 1200GS's in the UK (and the last run of the 1150GS Adventure) due to the McGregor/Boorman effect so there will be plenty of evidence both good and bad.

Bad bits...

Paint falls off the engine cases - this is common on all models (11/11.5/12) due to the use of water-based paint. Once it starts it deterioates very quickly. Transmission oil leaks from drive shaft (the 1100's suffer the least with this), poorly fitted clutch seals at the factory causes oil to weep onto clutch plates = slipping clutch. A big job to fix - 8hrs+ even if you know what you're doing.

The BMW 'Canbus' electrics can play up causing the bike to conk out (I've been on trips away where 2 friends' bikes were recovered home due to this).

Good bits...

Fantastic handling - all of the Telelever Boxers handle superbly. Once you get used to the 'funny' front end it's brilliant, its stability and security, especially on bumpy roads (ie 99% of all the UK) is uncanny.

Torquey engine - the 1150 has more low-down grunt than the 1200, although the 12 is clearly a faster bike, revvier, smoother. Better gearchange too. Aerodynamics are much better on the 1200 (I'm 6'3") the 1150's standard screen is awful. I had one of the first 1150GS's in the UK and only the std BMW screen was available - above 80mph it blurred my vision, caused headaches. It was bad enough for me to sell the bike and buy an R1100S - I did cover 12000 miles on the GS in 6 months though. I loved everything else about it, especially the handling. On a UK B-road there's little that will stick with a well-ridden GS.

Superb luggage system - but expensive. Try and find a bike which has it included.

The 3-button indicator system is a work of genius - I've been back to the 'normal' one-button system on my Blackbird for 7 years now and still hate it.

If I was buying a 1200 I wouldn't touch one without a warranty - you could cover 10's of thousands of trouble-free miles on it, but if the bike does have problems, they can be major.

Out of the GS's I'd take an 1150 over the 1200 - I think it looks better, has more presence, and is a more solid bike. Hardly any slower in the real world too.

Out of all the BMW Boxers I'd take a Roadster though (I've had 2x1100R & one R1150R) loads cheaper than the GS to buy, it's the exact same bike underneath (just a GS on shorter springs effectively), takes proper road tyres and is just as much fun. It's kinder to its driveshaft too as it doesn't ask for such big angles for its UJ's for the power to get to the back wheel. The R1200R is an absolute riot, goes like the clappers too; out of every bike BMW make now, it's definitely what I'd choose. Not the 'image' of the GS though (which I couldn't give a sh*t about anyway) which could be good or bad.

Oh - if you do get a GS you're supposed to look down on all other bikers, and don't ever nod back to them out on the road. They're even worse than Harley owners for that. :D



Mar 6, 2008
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
I've had a few over the years;

Owned an 2004 R1150GS Adventure, great bike, excellent handling machine. Had a 2002 R1150RT, meant to be the mutts/nutts of a touring bike (??), christ I hated it, underpowered piece of crap. Owned it for about 4/5 months then got rid of it.

I've owned a Suzuki V-Strom DL1000GT for over four years now and it ticks all the boxes for me, love it!



Nov 17, 2011
North Devon
As above
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
I had an R100R - one of the last of the 1,000 air cooled boxers made, with 'retro' black paint and white pinstriping. This was after a load of rather quicker Japansese motorsickles. I actually quite liked it. It was dog slow, handled idiosyncratically, but made stately ard rather enjoyable progress two-up on Sunday bimbles around the lanes. I liked it even more when I sold it for £500 more than I paid for it, though.

Looked like this:

NAD 3.jpg




  • R100R Classic (3).jpg
    R100R Classic (3).jpg
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New Wammer
Jun 19, 2013
Peak District
Owned an '88 r100Gs for a while. A bit of lemon - engine vibration intruded badly at touring speed - but it handled quite well, was comfy (bar wind blast) and pretty frugal. Didn't put me off as I have a r75/6 in the shed to accompany an '07 Ducati Hypermotard. I have a mate who has had a series of 1200Gs, rates all of them and especially the latest incarnation - says the engine is a noticeable improvement on the earlier versions. Not my cup of tea really - too damn big and unweildy. Good jack of all trades but I'd opt for the Triumph. What ever you do, make sure you test ride and take it from there


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