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BMW R1150RS Sports Tourers Motorbike Review

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MCN overall verdict rating is 4

The BMW R1150RS is a motorcycle designed for the road not race tracks. It's a low glamour, high practicality sports tourer. The GS model BMWs grab headlines and sales figures but the The R1150RS shares its virtues plus has grippy road tyres too. A superb, versatile workhorse or plaything – the BMW R1150RS is not the fastest motorcycle out there but it's one owners grow to respect and even love.


MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 2

The R1150RS's flat twin has its roots in the 1920s but BMW has managed to update it reasonably successfully. There’s torque a-plenty which keeps things nippy – fast even if revved hard. Six-speed gearbox is slightly better than the 1100s five speeder with superior economy from the overdrive but it’s still no smoothy.

Ride and Handling

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4

The R1150RS's Telelever front suspension is novel but works well with minimal dive when braking into corners. Wide, upright bars give good control. Stability is unswerving at any speed although the R1150RS is not as nimble as lighter motorcycles. Brakes are partially linked, servo assisted with ABS – it sounds complex but it’s an effective set up.


MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4

The BMW R1150RS's comfort is superb. Seat, bars and screen are adjustable and most riders can get them just right. The R1150RS's pillion accommodation is excellent, too, which matters more than an extra 20bhp at 9000rpm after a 500 mile day. Comprehensive instruments, shaft drive, centre stand loads of options including hard luggage. Compare and buy parts for the BMW R1150RS in the MCN Shop.


BMW R1150RS (2001-2005)

Detail Value
Used price range View BMW R1150RS bikes for sale to see current asking prices
Engine size 1130 cc
Power 95 bhp
Top speed 135 mph
Insurance group 13 of 17
  MCN ratings Owners' ratings
Overall rating is 4 rating is 4
Engine rating is 3 rating is 2
Ride & Handling rating is 4 rating is 4
Equipment rating is 4 rating is 4
Quality & Reliability rating is 5 rating is 5
Value rating is 3 rating is 4

Quality and Reliability

MCN rating rating is 5
Owners' rating rating is 5

The BMW R1150RS is well thought out, well built and better able to resist the UK climate than most other motorcycles – brakes don’t seize at a hint of salt, unlike so many bikes. A few niggles are reported at high miles – they’re mainly electrical and the R1150RS is still better than pretty much everything from rival brands.


MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 4

The BMW R1150RS's new price was around £9K which was always more than rivals. Now more reasonable on the used market. The R1150RS holds its value well but doesn’t have stablemate GS’s cast iron residuals. Triumph’s Trophy and Honda’s VFR are cheaper but not quite so practical. Find a BMW R1150RS for sale.


Insurance group: 13 of 17

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Model History

2001: BMW R1150RS launched.


Other Versions

BMW R1100RS: predecessor to the R1150RS sold from 1993-2003. Smaller engine with one spark plug per cylinder, only five gears, inferior wheels and less sophisticated brakes.



Top speed 135 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 12.2 secs
Max power 95 bhp
Max torque 73 ft-lb
Weight 224 kg
Seat height 790 mm
Fuel capacity 22 litres
Average fuel consumption 46 mpg
Tank range 220 miles
Annual road tax
Insurance group 13 of 17
Engine size 1130 cc
Engine specification 8v flat twin, 6 gears
Frame Three section steel composite
Front suspension adjustment None
Rear suspension adjustment Preload, rebound, compression
Front brakes Twin 320mm discs
Rear brake 276mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 170/60 x 17

See all BMW R1150RS motorcycles for sale


91770 miles



31270 miles



30000 miles



26428 miles


Owners' Overall Rating rating is 3.5(1 review)

  • Everyday riding


    Average rating rating is 3.5

    Show Details

    Ride and Handling
    Quality and Reliabilty

    Quality, reliability and equipment levels are very good. A bit pricey but I don't mind paying for reliability. The engine is torquey but very rough, with vibration usually restricting revs to below 5000. As a tourer this bike could go all day every day if it wasn't for the engine vibration. I get sore hands after about an hour, which severly limits its practicality. Range is about 250 - 300 km. The bike is extremely stable in all situations, is very well balanced, and is very easy to ride slowly. It is big but manages twisty roads quite well. Brakes are good but don't have much feel. Panniers are large, easy to use and mostly waterproof. Overall a very good bike for what it's intended to do, but is let down by the engine vibration.

    12 July 2009


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